Fireside Chat

Black Coffee

60 minsFirst aired 4 Sep 2017
Maria Jose Govea

The South African house ambassador and RBMA alum revisits his career, from early club sounds to working with Hugh Masekela and Drake.

Durban, South Africa, has been one of the hottest scenes for dance music for a few years now, and Black Coffee, real name Nathi Maphumulo, serves as its elder statesman. He first appeared at RBMA years ago as one of two South African participants at the 2003 Red Bull Music Academy in Cape Town. His style of Afropolitain house is, in his words, “home-brewed but future-focused.” Maphumulo’s recording career began in 2005 with a remix of Hugh Masekela’s 1972 hit “Stimela,” and has gone on to include five solo albums, the latest of which is 2015’s Pieces of Me, which went double platinum in South Africa.


For those who are less well-versed when it comes to the South African Pantsula, here’s a glimpse at the dance experiencing a large resurgence since its emergence during apartheid.


As an artist at the forefront of South African musical innovation, Black Coffee shares a brief guide to the bread and butter of South African house.


RBMA alum Black Coffee listened to Hugh Masekela’s 2003 Cape Town RBMA lecture in person before working up the nerve to work with the man himself on “We are One.”


It turns out that Black Coffee and Drake’s collaboration was in the works for years before making its way onto Drake’s 2017 playlist More Life.


Interview by Lauren Martin
Written, produced and engineered by Frank Westerkamp

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