At 46, South African DJ Nkosinathi Maphumulo — aka Black Coffee — has had ups and downs in his career. But decidedly, the famous Zulu singer-producer keeps his ambitions: six albums since 2005, in four different musical genres. And finally, what succeeds in Black Coffee is, undoubtedly, the electro-dance.
On April 3, Black Coffee left the underground scene to join the mainstream in its highest sphere with a Grammy award for its album “Subconsciously”, released last year.
The DJ has also produced for Ushser, Kendrick Lamar and David Guetta. He accompanied Beyonce and Jay-Z in their African tour in 2020. But finally, we find him as producer of part of popstar’s surprise album, Canadian Drake. As a reminder, Black Coffee produced Drake’s song “Get It Together” in 2017.
For music journalist Madzadza Miya, “the work of Black Coffee and (South African Afro-fusion star) Tresor on Drake’s new album shows the rise of South African music “. Miya also feels that Drake’s album is much more influenced by South African music than the soundtracks of The Lion King and Black Panther. The two “cinematic” albums sung respectively by Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar are pioneers in bringing together South African and Afro-American music. It is above all a new African breakthrough on the Western scene, after that of Nigerian Afro-fusion and French rap, many of whose stars are from Central Africa or North Africa.
Black Coffee, the career-defining moment
Either way, the announcement of Drake’s surprise album has turned the music world upside down. Especially since this is the first time that the Canadian singer has welcomed producers outside of his usual team in the studio to prepare an album. Indeed, Drake invested with rapper Adel Nur – Future – in their own DreamCrew record label in 2017. As for the superstar team, it has always been limited to Noah Shebib, Olivier El-Khatib and Noel Cadastre , the trio that made Drake’s career phenomenal.
Black Coffee is undoubtedly up to the task. It remains to be seen whether he will take advantage of the collaboration with the Drake tsunami to break through, too, on the world level. The South African DJ is well known in the underground world, especially in European “boiler rooms”, where he is one of the rare African artists to headline. Indeed, despite successful concerts in Berlin, Brussels, Tallinn, Amsterdam and Paris between 2020 and 2021, Black Coffee is the conspicuous absentee of the Tomorrowland 2022 festival, where, moreover, no African artist has been invited for the premiere. times since the first edition in 2005.