Readers of the blog know that it’s infrequent to find here a review of an hip-hop album, which stays – as a genre – mostly outside of the perimeter of music that I select for my articles. There are cases, however, in which a record presents so many qualities that its value transcends the specific boundaries of the genre where it belongs. Adn that’s what happened to me with the album called Anima Mysterium, released in the early days of February by the South African rapper Yugen Blakrok.
This is the second LP in the artist’s discography, and it’s mostly built upon the equal combination of Yugen’s MC work and the impressive instrumentals produced by Kanif “the Jhatmaster”, who’s the main supporting contributor for the album. And if I have to be honest, the instrumental component is what initially caught my attention, well before I get hypnotized by Yugen’s dreamlike and astrological lyrics. The beats that animate the 12 tracks of the album are mesmerizing, suggestive and deeply immersive. You find yourself moving at the pulsating rhythm of the songs, while the mind is captured by the intriguing spoken rhymes, which typically accentuate the cadence of the drums creating a unique and homogeneous flow of impressive beauty.
Yugen and Kanif have worked together in the past, and the level of cohesion that the two have reached in Anima Mysterium is remarkable. The instrumentals delineate soundscapes and rhythms that fit perfectly with Yugen’s style of rap, and the final result is absolutely enjoyable to hear, even if you’re not a passionate fan of hip-hop (like me).
Why in the deepest darkness my soul beams like a lanternYugen Blakrok (from “Land of Gray”
Engineered in female form…silent carrier of the force
I’m a sandstorm in desert dunes, a shadow with a torch
My overall rating for the album is 7.5/10. All songs are equally fascinating and hypnotic, but if I had to point out a few favorite tracks I would say Obsidian Night, Picture Box, and Monatonic Mushroom.