Black Coffee (born Nkosinathi Maphumulo on 11 March 1976) is a South African multi-award winning record producer and DJ. He began his career around 1995 and has released five albums and a live DVD under his Johannesberg-based record label, Soulistic Music. He is arguably the most prominent electronic music producer in Africa. Black Coffee had his big break shortly after being chosen as a participant in the 2004 Red Bull Music Academy held in Cape Town. In September 2015, he won the "Breakthrough DJ Of The Year" award at the DJ Awards in Ibiza, a few weeks after the release of his fifth studio album, Pieces Of Me.
Maphumulo was born in eThekwini, South Africa on 11 March 1976, and grew up in Mthatha, Eastern Cape. In 1990, he was involved in a car accident that left his left arm paralyzed. On 13 May 2011 he married actress and TV presenter Mbali Mlotshwa. He has two children with Mlotshwa, Anesu and Asante, and two from previous relationships, Esona and Lilitha.
Maphumulo majored in Jazz Studies at Technikon Natal before working as a backup singer for Madala Kunene together with then schoolmates Mnqobi Mdabe (Shota) and Thandukwazi Sikhosana (Demor). Black Coffee, Shota and Demor later formed an Afro-pop trio called SHANA (Simply Hot and Naturally African) which was signed under Melt 2000, then headed by Robert Trunz. Black Coffee 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. His first big break was when his song "Happiness" was featured on the DJs at Work album.
2005–2006: Black Coffee
In 2005, he launched his career with a remix of Hugh Masekela's 1972 hit Stimela. Later that year he released his self-titled debut album under his Johannesburg based record label Soulistic Music, Black Coffee's wholly owned corporate structure, his team's home base and the jump-off point for himself, and as time has evidenced for many others too. The album featured collaborations with the likes of Thandiswa Mazwai, Hugh Masekela, Busi Mhlongo amongst a few. "Black Coffee" was well received in the SADC region and got enough airplay to win an award for The Best Urban Dance Album at the 2006 MTN SAMA. His album, "Black Coffee" was created using very basic music-making software. "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".
2007–2008: Have Another One
By 2007, Black Coffee had become a household name in the South African DJ scene, firing up floors with his tribally infectious, vocal-laced beats. In the same year he released his second studio album titled "Have Another One" 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 a European label Realtone Records on vinyl and digitally. The twelve-track album featured the likes of Siphokazi, Busi Mhlongo, and kwaito sensation L'vovo to mention a few, it also introduced 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. Black Coffee discovered and collaborated with Culoe De Song on an afro-electronic dub titled 100 Zulu warriors.
During this period Black Coffee was invited to perform at the Red Bull Music Academy Lounge at the Sonar Festival in Barcelona, where he played alongside the cream of local and international DJs, including Little Louie Vega, Alix Alvarez, Franck Roger, Charles Webster, DJ Spinna and Osunlade.
2009–2011: Home Brewed
In 2009, Black Coffee dropped his third album, titled ''Home Brewed'', featuring Ringo Madlingozi, Zonke, Hugh Masekela, Zakes Bantwini and others, and at the South African Music Awards 2010 he scooped two awards in the categories Best Urban Dance Album and Best Male Artist and later in the same year he won Best Produced Album and Best Dance Album at the Metro FM Music Awards and Channel O's Most Gifted Male for his track "Juju."
With world demand and interest in a Black Coffee performance starting to stand up and shout so to speak, Black Coffee began a new phase of growth between 2009 and 2010 with a string of new Soulistic Music signed releases from Culoe de Song, Tumelo and the great Zakes Bantwini all achieving gold and platinum sales. In 2011, he was nominated for Best Worldwide Act in the Africa/Asia/Middle East category at the MTV Europe Awards. Since launching his label, Soulistic Music, Black Coffee had toured to Sydney, New York, São Paulo, Luanda, Los Angeles and Athens along with fellow label artists.
In 2010, Black Coffee was inducted in the Guinness Book of World Records when he DJed 60 hours non-stop at Maponya Mall.
In 2011, Africa Rising was launched and had its first presentation at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, including a live band and 24-piece orchestra in front of an audience of 8,000; the concert was filmed for the Africa Rising DVD.,
Also in 2011, there were four releases on the Soulistic Label including Culoe de Song's "Elevation", Sai & Ribatones "Here and Now", Boddhi Satva's "Invocation" and the label's "Soulistic Music Cuts.
2012–2013: Africa Rising
Black Coffee's "Africa Rising" DVD and CD (triple CD) sold double platinum in a space of a month in 2012 and later the award for Best Dance Album at the 2013 South African Music Awards. This happened shortly after Soulistic Music announced a newly signed club DJ named DJ Shimza. Black Coffee featured creative artists on the album "Africa Rising," such as Bucie and the soulful musician Toshi Tikolo on the international House hit "Buya".
2013 saw Black Coffee continue gracing world stages such as Southport Weekender, Panoroma Bar, Circo Loco, Boiler Room and participating in music conferences like ADE and RBMA in Johannesburg. Amongst a few 2013 notable collaborations are with Mi Casa and Black Motion.
In 2013, Black Coffee also became one of the key speakers on his friend Vusi Thembekwayo's tour. Black Coffee has graced numerous publications including the glossy Destiny Man magazine in November 2013.
2015 - Present: Pieces Of Me & DJ Awards
After his world tour which started on 12 Jan 2015 at Circoloco at Blue Parrot in Mexico and ended on 31 Aug 2015 at Circoloco at DC-10, Black Coffee came back to his home country to release his 5th album, Pieces Of Me.
Pieces Of Me was released on the second week of September and got criticism overnight for the cover and title identically to US singer "Ledisi". Musically the album got response from social media as well as charting on iTunes ZA with the song "We Dance Again" he featured Nakhane Toure topping charts by 30 September. On this album Black Coffee worked with Azola, Portia Monique, Ribatone, Nakhane Toure, Mondli Ngcobo, Kensy, NaakMusiq & Lungi Naidoo.
Two weeks later he went to Pacha, Ibiza, Spain to attend Dj Awards which he was a nominee on, on the 29th of Sept 2015 he was named "Breakthrough Dj Of The Year".
On the 23rd of October 2015, Pieces of Me went platinum in South Africa.
In 2016, he performed at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Ultra Music Festival. Also in 2016, Black Coffee collected the award for the Best International Act: Africa at the BET Awards 2016, the first South African to do so.