Interview

Black Coffee on His New Album, South Africa at the BET Awards & the Meaning of 1976

Black Coffee is representing South Africa at this weekend’s BET Awards in Los Angeles.

When the BET Awards go down this Sunday in Los Angeles, the South African presence will be strong. Black Coffee, AKA and Cassper Nyovest are all in the running in the Best International Act: Africa category. Emtee is up for a Viewer’s Choice Award in the Best New International category. And Nandi Mngoma is getting in on the action too. The TV personality is covering the BET Experience and the red carpet for BET Africa.


After picking up four awards, including one for his lifetime achievements, at the South African Music Awards earlier this month, Black Coffee will continue to wave the SA flag this weekend in L.A. We caught up with the producer over the phone to ask him some questions ahead of the awards.

On his new album

"I just signed an international recording deal with Ultra Music, New York. This is the first album that I’ll be releasing internationally. In the past, with my albums, I’ll usually just do like full house songs. With this one I’m changing the approach. Yes, it’s under the dance music category, but I have some slower dance songs. It’s not just the same tempo the whole album. It’s different styles of house."

On the meaning of 16 June in South Africa

"It’s always a very emotional day. I put up a post yesterday, how amazing it was [that] so many years later, 40 years later in South Africa they’re playing 90% local music. We still have a long way to go, but we’re on our way. I choose not to be negative and cry about the past. I’d rather be quite optimistic and hope for the best. It happened for a reason, so let’s see the reason and strive for better things."

On South Africa at the BET Awards

"It’s exciting, I mean to see us getting that kind of recognition. I’ve seen the involvement. I’ve seen how much they [BET] want us to be involved in the pre-parties, to attend the concert they’re doing. It’s really really nice to see, how they’re involving us, not just in the ceremony. It’s exciting, it’s exciting times us being given such a platform."

On the BET Awards’ Best International Act: Africa controversy

"For them to introduce the International categories, it’s either they do it right or don’t do it at all. For me it doesn’t really mean anything, but it’s also just a sign of respect. If you’re saying I recognise you, don’t say I recognise you a little bit. Say I recognise you. It doesn’t matter who’s going to present the award, whether they’re African or not. But have it in the same ceremony with everyone else.

I mean I love the approach. I love how involved they got... I love how they’re showing we’re a part of this thing. They’re doing a great job honestly. I don’t know what’s going to happen on the day, but everything else has been amazing."

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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