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DJ Black Coffee, Producer Reinvents Music

“I never had sights to become big. I had a passion for music and I spent time thinking about how to get out of my home area,” DJ Black Coffe...

“I never had sights to become big. I had a passion for music and I spent time thinking about how to get out of my home area,” DJ Black Coffee reminisced during an interview.

Africa’s second richest singer, the record producer, and songwriter after Akon, grew up milking his grandmother’s cows early each morning. At first, he didn’t know the chore, but he had to learn the trade. His passion for music was showing, and waiting to explode on the global stage.

From the grubby streets of Umtata, Ngangelizwe township, his hunger for music has propelled him to Greece, the US, and Barcelona. Despite his fame, his humble upbringing has influenced his personality. Today, he lives in lofty suburbs of South Africa and owning an expensive home in Los Angeles.

Dressed in modest clothing, DJ Black Coffee remains loyal to his origins, not allowing the fame and money to erase his humble roots. Online sources claim his current net worth to be estimated at around US60 million, and the leading DJ in South Africa.

Nkosinathi Maphumulo was born in Durban, Umlazi Section E, but later relocated to the Eastern Cape. His career was launched in 1994 but was kick-started to stardom after the 2004 Red Bull Music Academy held in Cape Town. Since then he has five albums to his name.
DJ Black Coffee, Producer Reinvents Music
DJ Black Coffee, Producer Reinvents Music 

“My dreams scare me,” a friend mentioned about DJ Black Coffee’s fears. The songwriter has lived beyond his expectations, overcoming his fears for success, remixing Hugh Masekela’s 1972 hit Stimela. “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,” the DJ once mentioned.

His style has been described as possessing “tribal, vocal-laced beats”. For someone who grew up in the township, that classification is not offbeat. In 2010, he performed for 60 hours nonstop in Soweto, attempting to enter the Guinness Book of Records. DJ Black Coffee has contributed a beat to Drake’s song “Get it Together” to the album More Life in 2017.

“Sidestepping Afro-house clichés and stage-managed highs in favour of restrained sophistication, Black Coffee's penchant is for true Afropolitan house: home-brewed but fresh and future-focused. Expect almost sculptural balance and beauty,” his biography says.

Lured by the love of music, he returned to Durban to study music, majoring in Jazz. His reason for studying music was “because he felt that as a producer, he had to deepen his overall musical knowledge, developed his listening skills, and advance knowledge of music theory.” Before completing college, he formed an urban ensemble with two friends, deciding to move to Johannesburg to fulfill their respective dreams.

DJ Black Coffee has been styled differently by various pundits. Some have called him cool, possessing a deeper, academic understating of music, enigmatic but his official website says: “He remains one of the very few club DJs in the country who genuinely understands the precise function of a music disc jockey.”

The in-depth analysis contrasts him with other composers, ranking him higher than his peers. “He does not simply mix songs, he re-interprets their previously unimagined musical possibilities, adapting and arranging as each work advises and so quietly creating new works that give life.”

Recently, DJ Black Coffee’s marriage to Mbali Mlotshwa came to a bitter end after an acrimonious divorce battle dating back to 2019, where she demanded more than R100.000 monthly maintenance, comprising R17.000 as a makeup allowance.

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