Tuesday, June 8th, 2021

DJ Maphorisa & Tyler ICU ft. Kabza De Small, Sir Trill – Banyana

A somewhat low score by amapiano standards…


Crystal Leww: DJ Maphorisa helped produce two of the best songs of the last decade in one of the last truly great Drake singles “One Dance” and the deeply romantic banger “Suited” by Shekhinah. “Banyana” settles for something much more like his DJ sets than the production that he makes for pop stars, and while it’s perfectly lovely, it’s not memorable beyond a light boogie at the pool party this summer.

Tobi Tella: A dance track with a beat this basic shouldn’t work at all, but I’ll admit by halfway through I was ready to throw a little ass in an “at my grandma’s birthday, can barely move my legs in traditional wear with my whole extended family” way.

Tim de Reuse: Mercifully unconcerned with drops and grand structural statements, it rises slowly, meanders about gracefully, then falls; hell, the kick drum itself lacks a snappy entrance, which is not something I thought could sound this natural within the genre of house. It’s not awe-inspiring sonically (a bit dry for my tastes), but it knows exactly how to use a slow-burn to show itself off from every angle.

Ady Thapliyal: This is a tribute to classic deep house, which is why Sir Trill’s impressively androgynous vocals in the first verse mimic the chorus of the old house hit this song samples from, and why the production is adorned Korg M1 organ riffs and those beeps from Alice Deejay. That’s fine, but considering how far DJ Maphorisa has pushed the amapiano sound on songs like “Koko,” this can’t help but feel not up to snuff. 

Samson Savill de Jong: Well constructed, but something that feels designed to be played in the background to provide noise whilst you’re trying to concentrate on an actual task, rather than something I can get into. Also, I could have really done without the two minute outro — nothing interesting happens, and it makes the song feel way too long.

Nortey Dowuona: One of the beautiful parts of amapiano is the beautiful voices of the various South African singers (and even DJ’s) that soar above the small mixtures of sunlight shiny synths, gurgling spinner bass and rumbling, skipping drums. With “Banyana” DJ Maphoriza, one of my fave DJs, Kabza de Small and Tyler ICU merely add 4 musical elements, and those are sufficient to carry the honeyed tones of Sir Trill and Daliwonga and send the song soaring into the atmosphere.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: The beat here is great — midnight-tinged, sleep-deprived amapiano with just enough melodic variations to stay compelling over the course of seven minutes of run. Yet the more interesting half of “Banyana” is the vocal — the verses and hooks flow into each other with a feverish insistence, the call-and-response portions and repeated syllables lending the track the feeling of walls closing in. It’s a track that channels the paranoia of even a good night on the dancefloor, the ever-present other side of euphoria.

Rachel Saywitz: At almost seven minutes, “Banyana” doesn’t go as hard as I’d like it to, foregoing a big drop in favor of small hills and valleys that peak with every guest verse. But even each verse sounds gentle in its approach — every articulated word building up to a flat surface, a dry offering. Ah well. It’ll please someone, just not me. 

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