Black Coffee (DJ)

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Black Coffee
Black Coffee (left) performing with DJ Shimza
Black Coffee (left) performing with DJ Shimza
Background information
Birth nameNkosinathi Innocent Maphumulo
Born (1976-03-11) 11 March 1976 (age 45)
Durban, South Africa
  • Disc jockey
  • record producer
  • songwriter
Years active1994–present
LabelsSoulistic Music, Ultra Music[2][3]
Associated acts

Nkosinathi Innocent Sizwe Maphumulo (born 11 March 1976), better known by his stage name Black Coffee, is a South African DJ, record producer and songwriter. Born in Durban and relocated to Mthatha, Coffee established his own record label Soulistic Music, released debut self-titled album Black Coffee (2005), which incorporated elements of R&B and jazz.[4]

His career began around 1994[5] and since then he has released nine studio albums,[6] as well as a live DVD.[7]

Maphumulo became prominent after participating in the 2004 Red Bull Music Academy that was held in Cape Town.[8] In September 2015, he won the "Breakthrough DJ of the Year" award at the DJ Awards in Ibiza.[9]

Life and career[edit]

Nkosinathi Innocent Litiya Maphumulo was born on 11 March 1976 in Umlazi, South Africa. He later moved to Umtata, the town 29 km away to the home of Nelson Mandela Qunu village, staying at the Ngangelizwe township. He was involved in a taxi accident that saw him suffer a severe injury on his left arm, in 1990 celebrating the release of Nelson Mandela.[10]

In the past years this day use to be quite heavy on me, still does to some extent but looking back at how far I've come since then I can only be grateful for how this day has shaped me to be the man that I am. 27 years later I choose to celebrate this day…also making a promise to myself to explore everything talent I have and be everything God wanted me to be when he spared my life."

Priscillah Mueni,[11]

He majored in Jazz Studies at Technikon Natal, now known as the Durban University of Technology,[12] before working as a backup singer for Madala Kunene[13] together with then schoolmates: Mnqobi Mdabe (Shota) and Thandukwazi Sikhosana (Demor).[14] Maphumulo, Shota and Demor later formed an Afro-pop trio called SHANA (Simply Hot and Naturally African) which was signed to Melt 2000, then headed by Robert Trunz.[15]

He was chosen as one of two South African participants in the Red Bull Music Academy in 2003, jump-starting him into the South African dance music scene.[16] His first big break was when his song 'Happiness' was featured on the 'DJs at Work' album.[17]

2005–2006: Black Coffee[edit]

In 2005, Maphumulo launched his career with a remix of Hugh Masekela's 1972 hit Stimela.[18] Later that year he released his self-titled debut album,[17] and created his record company Soulistic Music.[19] The album sampled songs of notable South African artists like Thandiswa Mazwai, Hugh Masekela and featured Busi Mhlongo, among others.[20][10] He was well received in the country and was quickly lauded as a "rising star."[21] His album, 'Black Coffee', was created using very basic music-making software. Maphumulo himself stated,

"I don't know how to explain the production stages of my album because all I did was put down the basic ideas that I had. I didn't use any MIDI controllers; everything was played with a computer mouse".[22]

2007–2008: Have Another One[edit]

By Mid-2007, Black Coffee had become recognized in the South African DJ scene with tribal, vocal-laced beats.[23] In the same year he released his second studio album titled Have Another One,[24] which featured "Wathula Nje," a remix of Victor Ntoni's 2004 jazz ballad "Thetha". "Wathula Nje" was later released in Europe together with "Even Though" featuring Bantu Soul through the European label Realtone Records on vinyl[25] and on digital. The twelve-track album featured the likes of Siphokazi, Busi Mhlongo, and Kwaito sensation L'vovo. It also debuted a then 17-year-old high school producer from Eshowe Kwa Zulu Natal, Culoe De Song, who became the second artist to be signed under Soulistic Music.[26] Maphumulo discovered and collaborated with Culoe De Song on an afro-electronic dub titled 100 Zulu warriors.[27][28]

During this period Black Coffee performed at the Red Bull Music Academy Lounge at the Sonar Festival in Barcelona,[29] alongside recognized DJs such as Little Louie Vega, Alix Alvarez, Frank Roger, Charles Webster, DJ Spinna and Osunlade.[30]

2009–2011: Home Brewed[edit]

In 2009, Maphumulo released his third album, Home Brewed, featuring Ringo Madlingozi, Zonke, Hugh Masekela, Zakes Bantwini and others.[31]

Between 2009 and 2010, new releases from Culoe de Song,[32] Tumelo[33] and Zakes Bantwini achieved gold and platinum sales.[34]

In 2010, he tried to make it to Guinness Book of World Records when he performed for 60 hours non-stop at Maponya Mall, Soweto.[35] He also won two awards in the categories of Best Urban Dance Album and Best Male Artist at the 2010 South African Music Awards.[36][37]

In 2011, Africa Rising was launched at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. It included a live band and 24-piece orchestra in front of an audience of about 8,000 people and was filmed for the Africa Rising DVD.[7] That year saw four other releases including Culoe de Song's "Elevation",[38] Sai & Ribatones "Here and Now,"[39] Boddhi Satva's "Invocation"[40] and the label's "Soulistic Music Cuts."[41]

2012–2013: Africa Rising[edit]

In 2012, the "Africa Rising" DVD and triple-CD sold double platinum in a space of a month.[42] Maphumulo featured different artists on the album, such as Bucie and soulful musician Toshi Tikolo on the song "Buya."[43]

In 2013, he performed internationally at locations such as Southport Weekender,[44] Panoroma Bar,[45] Circoloco,[46] Boiler Room.[47] He also participated in music conferences like ADE[48] and RBMA in Johannesburg.[49] That same year, he was involved in notable collaborations with musical group Mi Casa[50] and house duo Black Motion.[51] He also became one of the key speakers on his friend Vusi Thembekwayo's tour.[52] In South Africa, he was featured in November 2013 in the Destiny Man edition of Destiny.[53]

2015–2019: Pieces of Me[edit]

He began his first world tour in January 2015 at Circoloco, Mexico[54] and it ended in August 2015 at Circoloco at DC-10.[55] That same year, he released his fifth album, Pieces of Me.[56]

Pieces of Me was released in the second week of September and which was certified platinum a month after release by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA).[57][58] It received criticism for its cover and title bearing a similarity to that of the 2011 album Pieces of Me by US singer Ledisi.[59] Musically, the album was widely positively received, with some music critics saying that it was among the best music albums of the year.[60] It went platinum in South Africa in October.[61] On this album, he collaborated with Azola, Portia Monique, Ribatone, Nakhane Toure, Mondli Ngcobo, Kensy, NaakMusiq & Lungi Naidoo.[62][63]

In 2016, he performed at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival[64] and Ultra Music Festival.[65][66] At the end of the year, he was ranked 91st on Resident Advisor's top 100 DJs list.[67]

In 2017, he contributed to the beat of the song "Get It Together" on Drake's album More Life, which was released in March 2017.[68]

In 2018, he released a single where he collaborated with David Guetta that was titled "Drive" featuring Delilah Montagu.[69] It was featured on Guetta's album 7.[70] At the end of that year, he released a seven-track EP titled Music Is King.[71]

In September 2019, he released "LaLaLa" with American R&B singer Usher.[72]

2020–present: Subconsciously[edit]

On 5 February 2021, Black Coffee released his sixth studio album, Subconsciously.[73] The album was nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards.[74]

In October 2021, he produced a remake of a single "Too Late for Mama" by Mpho Sebina released on the extended play titled Music Forever.[75]

Personal life[edit]

Maphumulo married actress and television presenter Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa in 2011.[76] They have two children together and he has two more from a previous relationship.[77] In July 2019, they separated and divorce proceedings began later that year.[78][79][80]


Apart from singles and remixes, Maphumulo has released the following albums and DVDs since 2005, all under his Soulistic Music banner.[81]

  • 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)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Category Result Ref.
2005 SAMA SAMA Best Urban Dance Album
2010 SAMA Best Male Artist
Health Magazine Best Man [82]
Metro FM Award Best Produced Album
Metro FM Award Best Dance Album
2011 Channel O Award Most Talented Male Artist
2012 Sunday Times Generation Next Award Coolest DJ
2013 SAMA Best Dance Album
Sunday Times Generation Next Award Coolest DJ
2014 Sunday Times Generation Next Award Coolest DJ
2015 DJ Awards Breakthrough DJ of the Year Won [83]
2016 SAMA Best Dance Album, Album of the Year, Best Engineered Album

International Recognition

Won [84]
BET Award Best International Act: Africa Won [85]
2017 DJ Awards Best Deep House DJ Won [86]
2018 Dance Music Awards South Africa Best International Producer,

Best International DJ

Won [87]
SAMA Album of the Year Nominated [88]
Male Artist of the Year Won
Best Dance Album Nominated [89]
2022 Grammy Awards Best Dance/Electronic Album Pending [90]


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External links[edit]

Black Coffee South African Dj

South African Dj Black Coffee