World-renowned DJ Black Coffee recently gave an exclusive interview to MacG’s Podcast & Chill. The episode premiered at Ster-Kinekor cinemas across the country last week.
The Grammy-Award-winning jock touched on his music journey, his 1990 hand injury incident, international life, meeting the likes of Virgil Abloh, Jay-Z, and Beyoncé, and his future plans.
First meeting with Gallo
Black Coffee’s first meeting with Gallo was a sour one. He was called for a meeting after he remixed Simphiwe Dana’s Ndiredi, which was unofficially played on the radio.
“I was called into this boardroom and it was all the exes, and they were there to basically intimidate me. ‘Why is this song on the radio?’ ‘Who gave you permission?’ ‘How much money have you made of the song?'”
According to Black Coffee, this resulted into a whole negative feedback from Simphiwe Dana even from the media.
The Gallo story today can sound funny cause Black Coffee is now on board of Gallo and own a stake in the company.
Unreleased music with Kelly Rowland, Burna Boy
Black Coffee has unreleased music with Burna Boy which they did 7 years ago. This is after he suggested Burna for a collab on Swiss Beatz album.
“I’m in studio with Swizz Beatz, he’s playing an album at that time, and he plays this one song and I’m like, ‘Burna Boy would kill this song.’ And he’s like, ‘Who’s that?’ I go on YouTube, I show them, they were like so blown away. They didn’t know the guy.”
Swiss met Burna Boy through Black Coffee.
“I text DaLes [that I was] looking for Burna Boy, and he sent me [his number]. I call him and said, ‘Swizz Beatz wants to work with you.’ At the time, I was doing stuff with Cassie and Puff, so I couldn’t be in the Swizz Beatz and Burna [session].”
“So Swizz met Burna Boy before I met Burna Boy.”
Other artists he has worked with includes, Alex Isley, and Shasha.
Winning a GRAMMY
Black Coffee says winning a Grammy has ‘not yet’ changed his life.
“I haven’t pursued working with artists that value the Grammy that much. That Grammy [award] is in my bedroom in a box.”
“It’s great for one’s resume. It’s great for opening a conversation. It’s great for anything I wanna do outside of making music. In music, respect comes from the streets.”
On playing Amapiano
“It’s a matter of preference. It’s crazy how I have been asked this question, but no one has asked me why I don’t play hip-hop. People pressure you into what’s happening.”
“What I am saying is that it is not my thing. The likes of Maphorisa and Kabza are doing enough for the genre. It belongs to the people who are truly living the thing. ”
“Kelvin Momo is my guy.”
Relationship with Shimza and Zakes Bantwini
Black Coffee recently met with Shimza at Oskido’s house.
“A lot happened between us, but we are in a good space now. As people, when we grow, we don’t realize when our friendship expires.”
“You need to understand when the friendship has served its purpose.”
“We’ve been back and forth. The last time we had a meeting, it was at Oskido’s house. The most important thing, and I said to him, is to seek therapy so that we can learn to deal with fame because fame is such a disease.”
“I had a sit down with Zakes three weeks ago, and we spoke about the same thing. He said one of the most profound things about our fallout: ‘We’re not the people we were when we had a fallout.'”
On slapping Tshiamo (AKA’s manager then)
“It shouldn’t have happened. I reached out to the guy the following day. He was obviously upset. Even now, the fact that I know him and I know how dope he is as a human being, I feel even worse. It was a low point.”
Drinking and smoking
Black Coffee has never smoked weed btw!
“I’ve started drinking wine 3 years ago. That’s me starting alcohol basically. I’ve never drank alcohol. I’ve never taken drugs.”
The incident happened on the 11th of February 1990, before the release of the Nelson Mandela.
“There was like tribulations, the entire country, people were camping, no one was sleeping, we were singing. So it was happening in my hood”.
Black Coffee mentioned that his cousins rushed out to the street to join a group of people who were passing, and he joined them quickly; although they went back home soon after, he decided to remain with the crowd until morning.
“I was with some of my friends, and we heard this sound; I can’t explain it; it felt like gunshots, but what it was was a taxi driver driving towards us, and he switched off the lights and ramped into the crowd.”
He added that the driver hit the people in the front, and one guy lost his life while other people got injured.
“When I gained consciousness, people were being like helped, and i didn’t understand; I thought it was just a broken arm.”
Black Coffee was taken to the hospital in the Eastern Cape, and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with his hand. Meanwhile, his grandmother suggested he go to the hospital in Durban, where he spent three months in the hospital.
“What happened is, its an injury called brachial plexus, which is the damage of the nerves.”
“The nerves connecting the arm to the shoulder were damaged like 98% if not 99.”
He further explained that it is slowly recovering, and he is now able to feel and tell the difference between hot water and cold water.
P. Diddy and Black Coffee first spoke at Ibiza just after his set. His DJ friend, Felix introduced him to P. Diddy.
“I just finished playing my set. I walk down the stairs to buy, like, a Coke. I look up, and I see Naomi Campbell. That’s, like, my childhood crush… I’m like, ‘Can I get you a drink?'”
“And then I’m starstruck. Of course, I look behind her and Puff was there, so they came together.”
“He was with Felix. Felix is a DJ who plays in Ibiza. And Felix was like, ‘This is Black Coffee.’ And Puff was like, ‘We just got in. We heard you just finished playing. We wanted to hear your set.”
While in Miami, his friends invited him to P. Diddy’s house party, but he was undecided about going because he was trying to catch some sleep due to jet lag.
“Fast forward, I’m in Miami, jetlag killing me , trying to sleep. My friends from Paris, Joaquin, were like, ‘We’re going to Puff’s house to a party. You wanna come?’ I’m like, ‘Nah, I’ll stay in.'”
However he ended up going and also ended up playing a set.
“As soon as I walk in, I meet Cassie. They were still going out at the time. She’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re here! Puff’s gonna be happy.'”
“This guy takes me straight to him, and he was so happy. And he went straight to the mic. He’s like, ‘Black Coffee’s up next.'”
Black Coffee met Jay-Z and Beyoncé through Usher in South Africa.
“I was recording a song when they were here in Joburg. I finished recording. He’s like, ‘There’s a party again. One of Jay-Z’s friends, J Brown, they were doing a party in Maboneng. I’m going, do you wanna come?’ I’m like, ‘Cool, let’s go.'”
Usher was the one to introduce Black Coffee to Beyoncé and then Jay-Z, even though both of them were familiar with his work.
“‘Come, let me introduce you to Beyonce. Beyonce was so cool and she knew who I was, a big thing for me. And she just kept saying, ‘you’re so talented,’ and I was like, ‘Thank you’.”
“They took me to Jay-Z. Jay-Z is like, ‘Are you gonna play a song for us, right?'”
And so did Black Coffee play them a song? Yes, he played ‘Superman’.
Jay-Z sent Black Coffee a text message, inviting him to the so-called ‘Jay-Z’s Oscars Party’ in Los Angeles. And Black Coffee ended up making it to the party.
Owning a jet
Black Coffee cleared the air and revealed that he doesn’t own a private jet.
“I don’t think I’ll ever buy a private jet.”
Meeting Virgil Abloh
It’s funny how Black Coffee met the late Virgil Abloh. Basically it all started from an Instagram comment to a DM.
“I first encountered his brand in Miami.”
“I first encountered his brand in Miami. There is a shop I love there called The Webster, so I went looking for clothes, and I saw these sneakers written ‘Off-White’ and I didn’t know what ‘Off-White’ was, but I liked the sneaker. I’m like, ‘this is so cool.'”
“…And the guy at the shop is hyping me up, like this guy [Virgil Abloh] is new, he’s worked with Kanye [West].”
“I posted a picture wearing one of his pieces, then he made a comment on the post.”
“Then I DM’ed him, and then he went on, ‘Yo by the way, I’m a fan.'”
…And then to a super dope relationship which saw them both establishing ‘WHITE COFFEE’ DJ duo.
Upcoming documentary and a museum
Wrapping it up Black Coffee announced that his is working on a documentary, that will be released soon.”I am working on a documentary.”
“I find solace in working; I am intentional about personal things. Next year, I want to build a Black Coffee music museum. I am in a space where I have done all the exciting things a young man can do.”
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