DJ Black Coffee, Nkosinathi Innocent Maphumulo’s stage name in the music industry, is used to refer to him professionally (born March 11, 1976). He is a skilled South African house music producer and songwriter. Over the course of more than two decades, he steadily advanced his career, riding the wave of growing interest from abroad in the emerging dance music scene in his own homeland. He is currently possibly the biggest DJ in Africa.
Early Life and Education
In Umlazi, South Africa, on March 11, 1976, DJ Black Coffee was born. He grew up in a musical milieu primarily as a result of his early exposure to his uncle’s extensive reggae library. He later divorced his father and left with his mother when he was 12 years old for Umtata. The area is around 29 kilometers from Nelson Mandela’s home in Qunu and close to the Ngangelizwe township.
Nelson Mandela was seriously injured in a taxi accident in 1990, as everyone was celebrating his release from Robben Island, Maphumulo, and his left arm.
He did, however, go back to Durban to enroll in Natal Tech, where he majored in jazz music theory before quitting school early. Later, he founded the Afro-pop group “Shana” with his two pals Thandukwazi “Demor” Sikhosana and Mnqobi “Shota” Mdabe (Simply Hot and Naturally African). At the time, they were supporting vocalists for renowned folk-blues guitarist Madala Kunene. At the same time, he kept up his study of electronic music production.
He was accepted into the South African dance music scene in 2003 after being chosen as one of the two South African participants at the Red Bull Music Academy, and he got his big break when his song “Happiness” was featured on the “DJs at Work album.”
DJ Black Coffee used a remix of Hugh Masekela’s 1972 song Stimela as the foundation for his debut album in 2005. Later that year, he launched his record company, Soulistic Music, and released his self-titled debut album. In addition to Busi Mhlongo, the CD featured Thandiswa Mazwai and Hugh Masekela as samples of well-known South African artists.
He earned positive reviews around the country and was soon recognized as a “rising star.” His record, “Black Coffee,” was created with incredibly basic musical instruments. “I don’t know how to explain the production steps of my album,” the Black Coffee author remarked. “All I did was put down the core concepts that I had.” I played everything with a computer mouse instead of any MIDI controllers.
By the middle of 2007, Black Coffee had gained popularity in the South African DJ scene thanks to his tribal, vocal-infused tracks. The jazz song “Thetha” by Victor Ntoni from the year 2004 was remixed and included in his second studio album, Have Another One, which was published in the same year. Later, the European label Realtone Records released the Bantu Soul-featuring songs “Wathula Nje” and “Even Though” on vinyl and digitally.
The twelve-track album featured Siphokazi, Busi Mhlongo, and Kwaito superstar L’vovo, among other musicians. Culoe De Song, a high school producer from Eshowe, Kwa Zulu Natal, who eventually signed with Soulistic Music and at the time was 17 years old, also made her debut at this time. Black Coffee discovered Culoe De Song and collaborated with her on the afro-electronic dub 100.
Alongside well-known DJs including Little Louie Vega, Alix Alvarez, Frank Roger, Charles Webster, DJ Spinna, and Osunlade, Black Coffee performed at the Red Bull Music Academy Lounge at the Sonar Festival in Barcelona at the same time.
Home Brewed, the third album by Black Coffee, was released in 2009 and features appearances by Ringo Madlingozi, Zonke, Hugh Masekela, Zakes Bantwini, and others.
Between 2009 and 2010, fresh works by Culoe de Song, Tumelo, and Zakes Bantwini sold platinum and gold.
He tried to break the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010 by giving a 60-hour set of consecutive performances at Maponya Mall in Soweto. He also won two awards at the South African Music Awards in the same category for Best Urban Dance Album and Best Male Artist.
Africa Rising was once more unveiled in 2011 at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium. In front of about 8,000 spectators, it featured a live band and a 24-piece orchestra and was recorded for the Africa Rising DVD. Four further albums were published in that year, including “Soulistic Music Cuts” by the label, “Here and Now” by Sai & Ribatones, “Invocation” by Boddhi Satva, and “Elevation” by Culoe de Song, to name a few.
In 2012. In just one month, sales of the “Africa Rising” DVD and triple-CD reached double platinum status. Black Cofee collaborated with a wide range of musicians on the album, including Bucie and the soulful singer Toshi Tikolo on the song “Buya.”
In 2013, he performed at places including Southport Weekender, Panoroma Bar, Circoloco, and The Boiler Room all over the world. Additionally, he went to ADE and RBMA music conferences in Johannesburg. He collaborated on significant projects in the same year with the DJ team Black Motion and the band Mi Casa. Additionally, he gained notoriety by serving as a featured speaker on his friend Vusi Thembekwayo’s tour. In November 2013, the South African magazine Destiny Man featured him.
He began his first world tour in Mexico’s Circoloco in January 2015, and it came to an end there on DC-10 in August of that same year. He released “Pieces of Me,” his fifth album, in the same year.
Pieces of Me was released in the second week of September, and one month later, the Recording Industry Association of South Africa awarded it platinum status (RISA).
There were complaints that the album’s title and cover were too similar to those of US singer Ledisi’s 2011 album Pieces of Me. The music on the album received a lot of positive reviews, and some music critics thought it was one of the best albums of the year. South Africa granted it platinum certification in October. Azola, Portia Monique, Ribatone, Nakhane Toure, Mondli Ngcobo, Kensy, NaakMusiq, and Lungi Naidoo collaborated with him on this album.
He performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Ultra Music Festival once more in 2016. At the end of the year, Resident Advisor ranked the top 100 DJs, and he came in at number 91. He contributed to the song’s beat, “Get It Together,” which appeared on Drake’s 2017 More Life album and was released in March.
On the 2018 single “Drive,” which also featured Delilah Montagu, he collaborated with David Guetta. On Guetta’s Seventh Album, he was featured. Toward the end of that year, he released the seven-track EP Music Is King.
He collaborated with David Guetta on the single “Drive,” which he released in 2018 and featured Delilah Montagu. The song was included on Guetta’s album. He issued a seven-track EP with the title Music Is King towards the end of that year. Important performers including Msaki, Samthing Soweto, Mondli Ngcobo, Karyendasoul, and Zhao are included on the EP. At the 25th South African Music Awards, Music Is King won Best Male Artist of the Year as well as Best Dance Album and Album of the Year.
He performed at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg on December 14 and the Kings Park Outer Field in Durban on December 15 as part of the Music Is King Concert in December 2019 to promote his EP. Additionally, he and American R&B singer Usher released “LaLaLa” in September 2019.
2020 up until now Black Coffee’s seventh studio album, which was made available on February 5, 2021, subconsciously published. The record won Best Dance/Electronic Album at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards.
He reworked “Too Late for Mama,” a song by Mpho Sebina that appeared on the extended play Music Forever, in October 2021. Coffee co-wrote and produced three songs for Drake’s 2022 album Honestly and Nevermind. Black Coffee made history in 2022 when he won the Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Album.
Black Coffee wed actress and television personality Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa in 2011. Additionally, they shared two children together and he also has two more from a previous relationship. They separated in July of that year and got divorced in 2019.
Since 2005, Black Coffee has released the following albums and DVDs under his Soulistic Music label in addition to singles and remixes.
- Black Coffee (2005)
- Have another one (2007)
- Home Brewed (2009)
- Africa Rising DVD (2012)
- Africa Rising CD (2012)
- Pieces of Me (2015)
- The Journey Continues EP (2016)
- Music is King EP (2018)
- Subconsciously (2021)
- “Stuck in Your Love”
- Even Though
- Arise and shine!
- The Beat of Indlamu
- Arise and shine!
- Adio Mare
Awards and Nominations
- BET Award for Best International Act: Africa
- South African Music Award for Best Dance Album
- South African Music Award for Collaboration of the Year
- DJ Award for Best Breakthrough
- South African Music Award for International A
- South African Music Award for Male Artist of the Year
- South African Music Award for Best Engineered Album
- South African Music Award for Album of the Year
- DJ Award for Best Deep House
- Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album.
With an estimated net worth of $60 Million, South African DJ Black Coffee is one of the wealthiest artists on the planet.