Showing posts with label yugen blakrok. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yugen blakrok. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

video review: 'anima mysterium' by yugen blakrok

You know, I get the funny feeling I'll be going back to this one a lot over the course of 2019 - meditative and alien and hard-hitting, this was fun.

But after Billboard BREAKDOWN we're going back to metal, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

album review: 'anima mysterium' by yugen blakrok

So I never reviewed the Black Panther soundtrack proper last year - hell, I reviewed the movie, most of the soundtrack wound up on Billboard BREAKDOWN anyway, and most of what I heard hadn't exactly blown me away. And sure, I think some of that might have been rooted in inflated expectations - it was curated by Kendrick Lamar, for god's sake - but my general impressions were more that it was solid but lacking immediate distinctive standouts, at least when it came to complete songs. And I make that distinction because if you dig into individual verses, you can find some real gems, and I do credit Kendrick for digging outside of the box for MCs who could fit the vibe of the project rather than just big names.

And if you want one of the most stark examples, we need to talk about Yugen Blakrok, a South African MC featured on the song 'Opps' opposite Vince Staples and Kendrick himself... and let's not mince words, she stole the show, with the sort of ruthless, tangled verse full of sci-fi references that seemed to owe more to Wu-Tang than anything else. And that was definitely an impression that continued when I dug up her 2013 debut Return Of The Astro-Goth, the sort of thorny but layered and atmospheric underground hip-hop that fell at the intersection of Company Flow, Deltron 3030 and maybe a splash of CZARFACE. But where CZARFACE has always felt like a bit of an exaggerated goof-off, Yugen Blakrok was playing all of this deadly straight, and the sample-rich, dusty beats and her relentless flows proved she could absolutely sell it - yeah, there weren't many hooks, but when the rhymes and flows were as hard-hitting as they were, who could care? In any case, I had the feeling that with the boost from the Black Panther soundtrack she might parlay her sound into something tighter and maybe even more accessible - to a point, I didn't see the sci-fi stuff going anywhere on an album called Anima Mysterium - so what did we get?