No cream, no sugar, just some good music with a taste of the rainbow nation. Hailing from South Africa, Black Coffee has been blowing up internationally, and quickly to say the least. After destroying his 2-hour closing set at Gary Richard’s All My Friends Festival, it is clear that Black Coffee is deep in the process of adding America to his long list of favored countries. From touring internationally, holding his own Las Vegas residency, and even partnering with Louis Vuitton creative director Virgil Abloh for a unique Off-White capsule collaboration, Black Coffee has proved himself to be a multi-versed influence in the modern world. For a musician to have such a lengthy agenda, however, requires that individual be deemed important, needed, and one of a kind. Where did Black Coffee find his niche in the already highly-saturated market of dance music today? Coming from humble beginnings, one has to wonder where he found the inspiration – not to mention the means – to perfect his sound. We’d like to argue that Black Coffee is not only for THE people, but for HIS people. He makes his tunes with the fundamentals of dance music mixed with the essence of South Africa. What does this really say about dance music today, and how it brings together people of every background?
Sure, many can argue that Black Coffee is just another DJ who has been fortunate enough to ride the wave of his connections in the industry (or outside the industry, for that matter). But it is generally understood within the dance music community that he brings a certain flare that cannot be duplicated. THIS is what happens when a DJ is genuinely true to his roots. In every one of his sets, he utilizes the sounds of non-electronic instruments and spiritual vocals. People of every background can be found at a Black Coffee Festival set, congregating to experience something truly unique. This idea not only summarizes my personal favorite part about dance music, but is also a testament to why Black Coffee has become so popular all over the world.
What Black Coffee has managed to do thus far is inspirational for anyone who doesn’t feel they have the right resources to become a musician. As he outlined in an interview with Mixmag in August, “if I kept saying ‘I don’t have a studio, I don’t have the DJ equipment’, I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. I always tell youngsters: you don’t need to own that equipment. Do what you can, find a friend with equipment, find a club where you can practice, go play free gigs in venues. Make things happen. The equipment is not everything, everything is just the wheel – you need a stronger wheel then things will fall into place” (Mixmag: How Back Coffee is Leading an Industry Revolution). It’s clear that his humble beginnings have fueled his drive to handle such a packed work schedule.
I’ve always known of Black Coffee and his increasing popularity, but it took my own experience of watching him slay an entire festival in Los Angeles to really contemplate his influence. With streaming platforms and social media in full force, consumers have more artists and music to sift through than ever. Black Coffee is a great example of someone who channeled his own unique background and culture into his music, and is reaping all of the benefits.
Garon Deffley portfolio link: https://deffleygaron.myportfolio.com