By Lineo Segoete
I listened to Return Of The Astro-Goth by Yugen Blakrok for the first time on Bandcamp and it blew me away. I have not heard an album this PHAT in a very long time, ESPECIALLY from a local (Female) Emcee. Blakrok is a gifted Emcee.
Prior to the release of Return Of The Astro-Goth, Blakrok has been earning and defining her stripes for years in the Hip Hop under-ground scene in South Africa under indie label Iapetus Records which is a bayou of interstellar dopeness.
Produced by music virtuoso Kanif, who also makes a guest appearance on the album, Return Of The Astro-Goth features iconic giants; Robo The Technician, Shorty Skillz, Alka and Likwid Skillz of Recess Poetry, the same rap group Blakrok was in prior to launching a solo career.
Blakrok’s intelligent and meticulous insight has had me bumping her steadily since I copped the CD. It is the perfect tonic for heads whose minds and ears have been parched, aching for music that would take them on a nostalgic trip that renders boombap eternal.
Listening to this album is like reading a modernised ancient manuscript that assimilates occult mysticism, awareness of the environment, the core principles of martial arts, combat, introspection, self-knowledge, and dedication to one’s passions and spirituality all into one.
I appreciate that among the 15 tracks she blessed us with there is not a single lovey-dovey track, squashing one of the most typical pigeonholes about Emcees who happen to be female. Blakrok is more concerned about making an intellectual impression and severing the ego while retaining her elusive feminine sensitivity.
She overtly advocates wisdom over book-smarts through intricately crafted allegories woven from movies, writings, clever voice samples and everyday life such as unruly children getting up to no good, to reinforce her messages.
Blakrok demonstrates her artistry in the manner she manages to tap into the intimate sphere of her listeners. She shares knowledge so flexibly and eloquently that the listener is able to freely draw from her energy and also grow in his own journey while bobbing his head.
Basic Facts about Yugen Blakrok: Hails from the Eastern Cape, based in J-sec, has dreadlocks and will take out even the strongest Hip Hop contenders with her effervescent rhymes. More about her is strewn throughout her album and is not at all difficult to grasp for the acute listener.
Tracks to look out for are: Constellations, Verspertine 13, Some People Say, Medusa Complex and Swirl Of The Dervish.