Kabza de Small’s star continues to rise in 2024

Kabza De Small is widely regarded as the King of amapiano. Picture: Instagram.

Kabza De Small is widely regarded as the King of amapiano. Picture: Instagram.

Published Jan 16, 2024


From Mpumalanga to the global stage, Kabza De Small is set to cement his status as the "King of amapiano” this year.

The world renowned, South African-born musician - whose real name is Kabelo Motha Mahlangu - had a wildly successful 2023.

The amapiano superstar was the most streamed South African artist for the second year in a row on Spotify.

Together with DJ Maphorisa - whose real name is Themba Sekowe - the musicians were the only two South African artists to feature in the top ten most streamed artists overall on the streaming platform, ranking second and third after Drake.

Kabza De Small with DJ Maphorisa. Picture: Instagram.

The Canadian rapper is such a fan of the "amapiano king” that the internationally renowned musician selected him to be one of his producers for his “It's All a Blur Tour” last year.

Meanwhile, the DJ and record producer was also the biggest winner at the 29th South African Music Awards (SAMAs), which took place in November last year.

He won awards for Best Duo/Group of the Year alongside DJ Maphorisa; Best Produced Album; Best Amapiano Album, and Best Kwaito Album.

And as one of the pioneers of the amapiano musical genre - a jazzy subgenre of house - Mahlangu has even received applause from some of the world’s biggest artists.

This includes fellow South African, and now international superstar Tyla, who recently championed her fellow South African musicians, including Mahlangu.

“I always listen to Kelvin Momo. He's an amapiano producer. Everyone should listen to him. I'm listening to Nasty C, Kabza De Small. There's so many amazing artists out here in South Africa,” she told Apple Music in December.

Mahlangu is now expected to extend his success into the new year as he is set to host his one-man show in Mozambique next month.

Kabza De Small is widely regarded as the King of amapiano. Picture: Instagram.

Featuring MaWhoo, the powerhouse behind the gold-selling hit “Kulula”, the musical showcase is already making major waves on the African continent.

But as the celebrated musician basks in all his recent successes, the foundations of his career began decades ago.

Born in Mpumalanga on November 27, 1992, De Small’s musical career began in 2009.

He was signed under Tyrique de Bruyne and released his first album “Avenuee Sound”, back in 2016.

And in 2018, his breakthrough single "Umshove" featuring South African singer Leehleza, was released.

The next year, the musician then went on to establish his own record label PianoHub, with Maphorisa. Also in 2019, the amapiano duo released “The Return of Scorpion Kings”, which went on to become a success.

The year 2020 proved to be somewhat of a breakout year for the DJ and record producer, who in June went on to release yet another studio album, “I Am the King of Amapiano: Sweet & Dust”. This album earned certified double platinum status in South Africa.

He then ended 2020 with being listed as the most streamed South African artist by Spotify, for the very first time during that December.

The same month, De Small also announced his collaborative studio album “Rumble in the Jungle”, and released lead single "Funu", featuring Afro-pop singer Tresor in February 2021.

The accolades kept coming for Mahlangu, who in June 2021, was ranked at number 18 on Forbes Africa's 30 under 30 list. The next month, he was also featured in Rolling Stone magazine.

As some of the biggest amapiano pioneers, De Small and Maphorisa once again collaborated for "Abalele" in September 2021, which featured South African singer Ami Faku.

The song debuted at number four on the Spotify charts and number one on the official South African Music Charts.

Meanwhile, 2022 saw the release of the DJ and record producer’s “KOA II Part 1” album, as well as his studio EP “Ziwangale” which featured the likes of DJ Tira, DJ Exit SA, Beast, Mshunqisi, Young Stunna and Felo Le Tee.

It didn't stop there as he then released six other singles in May of 2022 as part 1 of his album, which also led to a three-leg tour the next month.

November 2022 also saw him release lead single "K'shubile" with Kwesta featuring Masterpiece YVK. At the time, he worked with Afrika Memani on the “Road To Private EP”.

And then in May of last year, he collaborated with DJ Maphorisa to release a 25 track mixtape project titled “The Konka Mixtape (Sweet & Dust) Album.”

And with De Small’s fans looking forward to what he has in store for 2024, he is just thrilled to bring them joy through his music.

“For me, it’s not about beating anyone,” he was recently quoted in City Press as saying.

“I’m very excited and happy that the fans really love the music.”

He added: “Everything I do is in hope that the fans appreciate the sound I’m bringing into the world. I make music with the intention of touching people’s lives in any shape, way or form.”