Tag: Pete Rock and CL Smooth

Live Footage: Rising South African Rapper Yugen Blakrok Performing “Ochre (Emerald Mix)” and “Picture Box” for La Bouclette TV

La Bouclette TV is a new French-based music media outlet founded by and carried by the efforts of a team of passionate people — cameramen, editors, sound engineers and journalists, who aim to produce authentic live footage with a polished aesthetic that highlight both emerging and established artists. Last year, the La Bouclette team invited rising Johannesburg, South Africa-based rapper Yugen Blakrok to perform some material off her most recent effort, the critically applauded Anima Mysterium, an effort that named one of the best hip-hop albums of 2019 by a number of media outlets. 

Over the past decade, the rising South African emcee has been a vital and hardworking member of the South African hip-hop scene for the past decade, gaining recognition through a number of features and live shows, and for a sound that mixed sci-fi  and trip hop inspired soundscapes with boom-bap beats and melodic melodies paired with Blakrok’s Lauryn Hill-like flow. She caught the attention of indie label Iapetus Records, home of artists like Robo, Hymphatic Thabs and Fifi the Raiblaster, who signed her in 2009. And as soon as she signed to the label, she teamed up with Sampletologists Kanif the Jhatmaster, starting a successful collaboration that began with a number of attention-grabbing singles and her full-length debut, 2013’s Return of Astro-Goth, an effort that was released to critical applause internationally and was championed by Chuck D and Sage Francis. 

Building upon a growing profile, Return of Astro-Goth received helped Blakrok receive three SA Hip-Hop Award nominations in 2014 — Best Lyricist, Best Newcomer and Best Female Artist categories. Since then she has toured across the European Union several times, opening for MC Lyte during her German and Swiss tour dates; Pete Rock and CL Smooth during their Denmark tour; Edo G during his Austrian tour; and Kemp (a.k.a. Little Ugly Mane) during his Czech Republic tour. In her native South Africa, she’s shared stages with Public Enemy, Sage Francis and Jeru the Damaja. She’s also been featured on several international collaborations, most notably on Kendrick Lamar’s curated Black Panther soundtrack, in which she contributed an attention-grabbing verse alongside Vince Staples and Kendrick Lamar. 

Filmed while the rising South African emcee was in Paris for last year’s MAMA Festival, the Bouclette TV session features the emcee performing the atmospheric, Portishead-like album tracks “Ochre (Emerald Mix) and “Picture Box” in a warm and intimate setting. And throughout the session, Blakrok firmly cements her reparation for dexterous and sensual flows within mesmerizing and moody soundscapes. 

New Video: DJ Manipulator and Louie Gonz Return with Gorgeous and Meditative Visuals for Album Single “Forward”

Over the course of the past summer, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring the Massachusetts-based hip-hop duo DJ Manipulator and Louie Gonz, and as you may recall the duo have collaborated together in a number of ways through the years; however, 2014’s Private Stock was the duo’s debut as a cohesive, collaborative unit. 

The duo’s sophomore effort together, The Loops was released earlier this year, and the album was intended to be a bold reintroduction to the duo, whose sound draws from soulful, golden era hip-hop — all while avoiding mimicry. Interestingly, The Loops’ latest single “Forward” finds Louie Gonz, putting aside the braggadocio and rhyming with a sober and sincere thoughtfulness on the struggles, demons and difficulties he’s faced both as a person and artist, including haters, naysayers and critics, the deaths of dear loved ones and friends, alcohol, depression, the possibility of an empty life without music and even Satan — but throughout it all, the message is that Gonz and Manipulator have always focused on their dream of creating music, which has kept them moving forward. Gonz’s lyrics are paired with a soulful and meditative DJ Manipulator production that subtly nods at Pete Rock and CL Smooth.

Shot in a cinematic black and white and co-directed by DJ Manipulator and Louie Gonz, the visuals follow nearly every element of Gonz’s lyrics, as it follows Gonz through daily life in his hometown, spending time with his beloved family and loved ones, struggling with alcohol (with the bottle of rum he can’t seem to put down); in fact, the video reveals a humility and honesty that can sometimes be all too rare in hip hop, before closing with a dedication to Gonz’s late father, Luis A. Gonzalez, Sr. 

 

Initially formed as a trio featuring Slug, Spawn D and Ant under the name of Urban Atmosphere, almost 20 years ago, the Minneapolis, MN-based hip-hop act Atmosphere have a long-held reputation for having an indefatigable commitment to relentless touring and for 8 critically and commercially successful albums that have pushed the boundaries of what indie hip-hop should sound like, released through renowned indie hip-hop label, Rhymesayers Records. Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM for a while, you might recall that I’ve written about Atmosphere a couple of times in the past — in particular about the release of the “Ear Blaster” video off their long lost Headshots crew compilation and the Pete Rock and CL SmoothThey Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” channeling single “My Best Half,” written and dedicated to Slug’s wife and to hip-hop in general.

Atmosphere’s latest single “Salma Hayek” channels swaggering boom bap and G funk era hip-hop as tweeter and woofer rattling beats and low end are paired with twisting and turning synths and a dope emcee full of braggadocio spitting dope rhymes with tons of pop culture references and incredibly adept inner and out rhyme schemes — including a reference to Herbie Hancock‘s “Rockit” among others. But more important, it should serve as a powerful reminder that real hip hop — real emcees spitting fire over dope beats is still important and still can be found if you make a true effort to find it.

 

 

 

 

Tour Dates

2.29 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues – Tickets
3.01 – Lubbock, TX @ Wild West – Tickets
3.02 – El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls – Tickets
3.03 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s – Tickets

Atmosphere is also playing the following upcoming festivals and headlining show:

3.17 – Chandler, AZ @ Pot of Gold Festival – Tickets
5.27 – Monterey, CA @ Cali Roots Festival – Tickets
6.04 – San Bernardino, CA @ Blaze N Glory Festival – Tickets
9.02 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks (Headlining) – Tickets