Advocating freedom and black pride, Yugen Blakrok’s music goes, without saying, beyond entertainment.
Getting her inspiration from 90s hip hop and musicians using their craft to pass on powerful messages, Yugen used her poetry background and began rapping in order for her voice to be heard.
Briefly.co.za learnt that Yugen faced challenges competing together with artists that presented bigger budgets. This gave Yugen the opportunity to explore other avenues, by discovering unique sounds thus having no pressure to conform to a label’s expectations. It has been over 10 years that Yugen has contributed to the underground hip hop scene.
This has all paid off with Yugen been featured on the Black Panther soundtrack, rapping alongside Pulitzer Prize-winning Kendrick Lamar.
Working on this track was a mystery project with Yugen not sure as to where it would end up.
“I wrote from a standpoint of, ‘What defines the spirit of rebellion for me?’”
“It was a wake up call to my people who still feel squashed, a reminder to continue the fight.”
To Yugen’s surprise ,the song “Opps” appeared on one of the most revolutionary movies in recent years. Yugen’s only concern is her staying genuine, fame is something she is not chasing.
“There seems to be a struggle for authenticity.”
“A voice that is not influenced by anything other than its own truth.”
Afrofuturism is a movement countering dominant narratives that portray Africa as backwards. Yugen’s music contributes to the movement. Her passion is that her music embraces and at the same time celebrates the best of South Africa and its people.
“We do need lyrics that portray our living conditions,” she says. “Not to make our story a struggle but a story of overcoming.”
Releasing her album, Return of the Astro-Goth, in 2013, Yugen is busy working on her new album. She received three nominations at the 2014 South African Hip Hop Awards. Yugen has completed three European tours and has performed around the country.
With the Black Panther feature under her belt, Yugen is staying committed to her purpose and has no desire to receive any validation from others for her art.
“We need to find our own spaces, make our own platforms where we can represent ourselves in our own way.”
“I think that’s the most authentic way we can do it.”
Her expectations are not those of corroboration of her been noticed as a young, black female hip hop musician. Been different does not come without challenges, but Yugen would not change anything and will do it over a hundred times if she had to.
“Continue the fight. The independent route does work.”
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