(Photo by Timothy Norris/Getty Images for Coachella)

Black Coffee & Tresor’s Work On Drake’s New Album Speaks to the Rise of South African Music

Unlike the Kendrick Lamar-curated Black Panther: The Album or Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift album which had hints of South African flavours on them, Honestly, Nevermind is imbued with them.

On the 16th of June, news that rap superstar Drake was dropping a surprise album first hit the internet. As with any of his releases, the announcement sent people into a frenzy. Leading up to the drop, the OVO camp, as part of a subtle and timely album rollout, put out a track list. Included in it as one of the album’s executive producers was South African super producer, DJ and artist Black Coffee. His name was listed amongst Drake’s regular collaborators and business partners, Noah 40 Shebib, Oliver El-Khatib and Noel Cadastre.

The two artists have previously collaborated on the remake of Black Coffee’s seminal 2009 hit “Superman.” Drake’s take on the instrumental and composition, “Get It Together,” was released almost a decade later on his 2017 playlist More Life. When the song dropped, the reviews and public reactions were split because of the original vocalist Bucie being replaced by then-burgeoning British singer Jorja Smith.

Fast forward to 2022, Black Coffee has a ‘Best Dance/Electronic’ Grammy award for his 2021 album Subconsciously, and has played at the biggest stages across the globe. It then shouldn’t come as a surprise that when putting together his experimental dance album, Drake tapped the South African producer to oversee and shape the sonic and creative direction of the album.

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Review: New Scorpion Kings and TRESOR Album Takes Amapiano To New Spheres

Pioneering amapiano duo Scorpion Kings, Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa, together with pop maven TRESOR strike gold on their joint album 'Rumble In The Jungle'.

Scorpion Kings, the duo made up of producers Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa, continues to spearhead and make efforts to take amapiano to new spheres. They are part of a handful of the genre's acts who have performed outside South Africa — in countries such as Tanzania and Kenya — where the yanos is proving to be popular. Kabza De Small's 2020 album I Am The King of Amapiano: Sweet and Dust features Nigerian heavyweights and recent Grammy winners Wizkid and Burna Boy. "For me, it's like we are just expanding the amapiano wave so other people can reach it and we can grow the music," DJ Maphorisa said in the album's official press statement.

For their newly released album, Rumble In The Jungle, Scorpion Kings teamed up with South African-based Congolese pop maven TRESOR. The album shares its name with the iconic boxing match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali which took place in 1974 at the stadium Stade Tata Raphaël Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly known as Zaire). A collaborative project between TRESOR and Scorpion Kings is, in itself, a championship event and a historic moment — a timestamp of where amapiano as a genre currently stands.

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Interview: DJ Maphorisa Talks About Scorpion Kings' Success

The star South African DJ and producer — also one half of the Scorpion Kings alongside Kabza De Small — on their recent full-album collaboration with TRESOR and the evolution of amapiano.

​DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small Enlist Tresor on Their New Amapiano Album

"Rumble In The Jungle", the latest project from dynamic duo DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small, in collaboration with singer TRESOR, offers a refreshingly mature and pan-African amapiano sound.

Here's How Artists are Navigating the World of Music Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak

We spoke to several artists to find out how they're working on still getting their music to fans while in self-isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Watch TRESOR and Sauti Sol's New Video for 'On va bouger'

The artists draw inspiration from the late South African jazz veteran Hugh Masekela and take us back to the 70s in Kinshasa.