/ Research, Doctorate/PhD
Publication: "The Ascension of the Astro-Goth – Yugen Blakrok’s Otherworldly Hip-Hop Poetics"
In his article, Pius Vögele explores the work of South African hip-hop artist Yugen Blakrok from an Afrofuturist perspective and, drawing on Rammellzee’s concept of Gothic Futurism, designates her unique approach as Astro-Gothic Futurism.
This article explores the work of South African hip-hop artist Yugen Blakrok from an Afrofuturist perspective with a distinct focus on the Gothic, using Mark Fisher’s concept of sonic hauntology. The title of her debut album, The Return of the Astro-Goth (2013), already alludes to this otherworldly dimension in her music. On her second album, Anima Mysterium (2019), Yugen Blakrok delves deeper into the dark abyss of the cosmos and affirms her role as mythic sorceress, which becomes apparent in song titles such as ‘Gorgon Madonna’ and their visualizations as music videos. With the use of a broad set of intertextual references and sampling, and through the merging of various religious attributes from both African and Western traditions, the ancient fuses with the futuristic. The frequent use of Gothic tropes in the lyrics of Yugen Blakrok illustrates a deep interest in the otherworld, the in-between state of dreams, and the question of sound recordings as the haunting voices of the dead. While such contradictions of linear time exemplify Afrofuturism, this article makes a case for combining them with Rammellzee’s concept of Gothic Futurism in order to designate Yugen Blakrok’s unique approach as Astro-Gothic Futurism.