This album was released on February 1st this year. I’m not really that familiar with Yugen Blakrok. I’ve only ever heard one verse from her. She really impressed me when she was featured on the Black Panther soundtrack though, so that’s why I’m giving this album a shot. I don’t know much about Yugen Blakrok aside from the fact that she’s from South Africa. I’m going into this project completely blind. I haven’t heard any of the singles. If it’s anywhere near as good as her verse on Opps, then I think I’m really gonna f*** with this project. Every song is produced by Kanif the Jhatmaster.
1. Gorgon Madonna
The production from Kanif on this first track is pretty good. The hook is nothing special, but it gets the job done. There’s only one verse on this track, but it’s really great. She killed this s***. The scratches at the end of the track are a nice touch too. I don’t really have much to say about this song. It’s just a really great verse over a solid beat. There’s a hook, but it didn’t really leave much of an impression on me. I think this is a really good way to open the album up though. This s*** is dope.
2. Obsidian Night
This beat is a lot more appealing to me than the previous one. It’s pretty dark, and has kind of an old school, boom-bap sound. Okay, this s*** is fucking awesome. The lyrical themes of this album so far are super weird and unique. It’s clear as day from the first couple of bars that Yugen Blakrok is on some different s*** than most rappers these days.
A mithras lioness, roaring in the temple
Entwined with the light like fireflies, illuminate the mental
There are a lot of references to different mythologies. I really f*** with this s***. I don’t know any other Hip Hop artists that rap about s*** like this. The closest person I can think of is Ab-Soul, but he tends to incorporate themes of traditional theology rather than mythology & science fiction. Just look at these lines from the hook…
I brave the night with a black screen
And rise gothic with sonic vibrations from the queen of the banshees
Hypnotized cochlear, analyzed gnostic
Matter transforming, I’m stretching out
A lot of the references are super esoteric, but not in a frustrating way that makes it impossible to decipher what she’s trying to talk about. She’s talking about casting magic spells and triggering “moonquakes.” This is f*****’ crazy. I love this s***. The production seems to get a little more layered during the second recital of the hook. This is even better than the opening track. I don’t have any issues with this track at all.
3. Picture Box co-produced by 7th Galaxy
The production on this track is pretty nice. The first verse is pretty great. There are mentions of demons and ghosts. The hook is pretty good. The second verse was even better than the first one in my opinion. That reference to Anubis was awesome. This is another really good track. It didn’t really blow me away quite as much as the previous track, but I don’t really have any issues with it. The production’s solid, the verses are great, and the hook is pretty good too.
4. Hibiscus featuring The Historian Himself & Fifi the Raiblaster
Huh. This should be interesting. I’ve never heard of either of these featured artists. I just googled The Historian Himself. I didn’t listen to any of his music, but the cover art for the two projects he has up on Bandcamp is really fucking cool. Anyway, I love the slightly dark, dusty, melodic production on this track. Good lord. The Historian Himself is f*****’ killing this first verse.
Every breath blessed with a ruinous truth proven true
Through convergent evolution on opposite continents
Y’all best fall back with that overconfident nonsense
Blakrok’ll topple that cocky stance like fallen obelisks
And I follow with a kaiju stomp to your throat
On some Tokyo skyline met Godzilla s***
This is fucking awesome. That dude went the f*** off on this s***. Yugen Blakrok killed the second verse too. This is definitely my favorite track so far. The vocals on the bridge from Fifi the Raiblaster sound pretty good. I don’t have any issues with this song at all. Both of the features satisfied me, and I like the production a lot too.
5. Morbid Abakus
The beat on this track is pretty decent. I’m not really blown away by the production on this project so far. It has kind of a dusty, yet mystical vibe to it. The first verse on this track is pretty great. The hook is nice too. She killed that second verse. This is another really good song. I don’t really have much to say about it though. It’s not that different from the rest of the material on this project so far. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s dope to me.
6. Monatomic Mushroom featuring Bravestarr
This song definitely has my favorite beat on the project so far. I love the acoustic guitar based production, and the horns that come in sound really fantastic. The vocals from Bravestarr were a nice touch on the intro. Once again, Yugen Blakrok’s lyrics are weird as hell, but not in an unappealing way. She’s rapping about gods, and magic, and s*** like that. She paints the picture of a “tug-of-war in celestial worlds between the deities.” The hook is pretty good. Again, it’s reminding me of some of Ab-Soul’s stuff mainly because she’s talking about third eye s***.
If you open your eyes, then the light will show you something
Worlds within worlds, universes spinning unseen
Rising from the bottomless pit of the abyss
To shatter glass ceilings, seeking that elusive eternal bliss
The second verse was pretty nice. The piano elements that come in during that verse sound really good. The vocals from Bravestarr on the outro are dope. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album so far in terms of production. It doesn’t really stand out that much from the other tracks lyrically though. Overall I think it’s a really entertaining track.
7. Mars Attacks featuring Kool Keith
This is another standout track in terms of production in my opinion. The beat is pretty dark and atmospheric. Kool Keith was an excellent choice for a feature on this project. As the title indicates, this song has a lot of lyrical references to outer space and other planets. There’s no hook on this track. It’s just two verses, one after another. Kool Keith did his thing at the beginning, and Yugen Blakrok had a great verse too. I feel like this song could’ve used a bit more time in the oven. It could’ve used a hook or an outro or something like that. I think it’s a solid track overall though. It’s probably my least favorite track so far, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit.
8. Carbon Form co-produced by Joel Assaizky
I’m pretty sure this was the first single released from this album. It has one of the weirdest, but coolest instrumentals on the project so far. I really love the way Yugen Blakrok puts words together. She has a knack for unique imagery, and out of the ordinary themes. She’s basically coming off as a powerful mythical witch who travels through time and space.
Wooden tears flaking into fragments and splintering
Buried in the earth where dark secrets lie whispering
That the end has not yet come to the place where dreams rest at
I look at self, facing the mirror, nothing’s reflected
I don’t know how she comes up with this kinda s***. I feel like you have to be super creative to write like this. This is definitely one of my favorite verses on the whole album so far.
My jargon’s a headache to decipher
Never idle, the heavy burden’s only light work to bright disciples
And I’m sky-bound, messenger like Malachi
Cardinal offspring of Capricorn and Gemini
I’d really love to hear a collaboration between her and Ab-Soul. I just feel like they’d make a really interesting song together. There’s only one verse on this track, and it ends about halfway through the song. The remainder of the track just contains some record scratches. It doesn’t feel like an incomplete song though. It’s kind of strange how this song is more fulfilling than Mars Attacks, which had two verses. This one impressed me a lot more though. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks so far. She murdered this s***.
9. Hydra featuring Zetina Mosia
The production on this track is pretty good. The first verse from Yugen Blakrok was dope. This song doesn’t really do much to set itself apart from the other tracks on the project. I’m enjoying it though. The second verse was cool. This is a pretty good track, but it doesn’t stand out that much. I like the hook. I think I heard some vocals from Zetina Mosia, but they’re really buried in the mix, so you can barely hear her. I like the way the production switches up during the outro a lot. This is another good song. It’s not one of my favorites, but I like it.
This song has one of the best beats on the album. It’s relatively jazzy. I like the way this song is structured. There’s no hook or anything. It’s just two verses, one after another. Instead of feeling undercooked & incomplete, it feels like a good decision. I feel like the structure works better over this type of production than it did on Mars Attacks. Both of the verses are really great. The way the production kind of evolved after the final verse was cool. This is a dope track.
11. Metallik Crow featuring Jak Tripper
The production on this track doesn’t really stand out much to me. It’s not bad though. Yugen Blakrok f*****’ killed that first verse.
I’m anti-mind-control and chemical warfare
You devils can’t touch, I’m like a gin-repelling software
Whose words multiply like microbes underneath the skin
Prone to capture gamma rays, gather energy, and kill on a whim
I’m not super familiar with Jak Tripper. I know he’s a battle rapper though. He’s apparently in a duo with Jus Allah called DARK PLUG. That’s interesting. I’ll have to remember to keep an eye on them. Anyway, he actually had a really great verse. It started off kinda slow, but once he got all warmed up it was really dope. This is definitely another standout track. I wasn’t that impressed by the production, but both of the MC’s on this track killed it.
12. Land of Grey
I love the percussion on this track. It’s really dope. She killed that first verse. The hook is really cool lyrically too.
I wear this cloak of raven feathers, holding a scepter
As letters from the ether fall like rain on arid deserts
Welcome to the land of gray
Where troubles never cease, and man’s awakening is accompanied by grief
The second verse was really great too. I don’t really have much to say about this track honestly. It’s another one of my favorites, but it’s honestly not really that different from the rest of the album. The verses are really nice though. I don’t have any issues with this track personally.
This album is great. I don’t think today’s mainstream Hip Hop fan will like this album at all though. This is for people who really value unique lyricism over anything else. That’s easily this album’s selling point. Yugen Blakrok doesn’t have a super flashy flow or trendy production choices. What makes this project so entertaining to me is the fact that Yugen Blakrok chooses to rhyme about s*** that nobody else is really talking about. Like I said multiple times in this review, Ab-Soul is the best comparison I can make, and even that seems like kind of a stretch. I will admit that someone like Ab-Soul is far more diverse in terms of content though. This album isn’t that varied when it comes to the subject matter. Pretty much every track has themes of astrology & magic & mysticism. Weird, otherworldly s*** like that. If musical genre classifications were dependent on lyrical content, this would be labeled as a fantasy/sci-fi album. The production was pretty solid. It didn’t blow me away, but it certainly wasn’t bad. This is one of the better albums I’ve heard this year. There’s not a single track that I didn’t like. I really f*** with this s***. It’s dope.