Nkosinathi Innocent Maphumulo (born 11 March 1976), whose stage name is Black Coffee, is a South African DJ, record producer, singer and songwriter. He began his career around 1994 and has released five albums as well as a live DVD. Black Coffee became prominent after participating 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.
Maphumulo was born on 11 March 1976 in Umlazi, South Africa. He later moved to Umtata, the home town of Nelson Mandela, and grew up in Durban. Maphumulo majored in Jazz Studies at Technikon Natal now Durban University of Technology before working as a backup singer for Madala Kunene together with then schoolmates: Mnqobi Mdabe (Shota) and Thandukwazi Sikhosana (Demor). 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. Maphumulo 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.
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, and created his company. 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. 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”.
By 2007, Black Coffee had become recognized in the South African DJ scene with tribal, 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.