News Brief

Watch Yugen Blakrok’s Latest Music Video For ‘Picture Box’

Yugen Blakrok suggests you switch that TV off and find inner peace, in her latest single.

South African MC Yugen Blakrok is on a roll. Two months after releasing a music video for "Carbon Form," the first single to her upcoming album, she unleashes another video for the album's second single "Picture Box."


In the song, the MC condemns the idiot box, which she believes pollutes our consciousness. She paints a vivid picture of the effects of TV in layered lines as she always does. She raps on the first verse:

"Sad souls, known to grab loose and hang loose/ Lay hypnotized by the tube, horrific daily news/ Ears ringing from eerie noises/ Empty vessels make the loudest/ TV hosts evading living rooms like haunted houses/ Spewing words without contact, spoken out of context"

Knowing that many of us would run out of activities once we have switched our TVs off, she provides some solutions in the song's hook. The first one seems to be to listen to music and finding inner peace, as she raps:

"Turn it on, turn it off/ Let the rhythm bring peace to your bubbling heart/ Find the inner space at night/ The most cosmic are sparks/ A firefly that shines like the sun and lights up the dark"

The song's second verse is where she goes in, rapping about reaching deep into your consciousness to be in touch with self, using herself and experiences as an example. As is always the case with Yugen's bars, you'll have to take a closer listen, several even, to fully grasp her notions.

"Fire was the first storyteller, now we gather around a television like in times past," says Yugen. "We mimic and echo shadows of ourselves in alternate dimensions through the picture box; characters that influence our thoughts and lives on this timeline. Where do they go when we change the channel or switch off? The mind cannot imagine what does not already exist."

The music video, which is shot in lowlight, shows Yugen rapping in a rotating living room while mysterious characters linger around. One of them stabs a TV with a spear. The production design and art direction of the video is deeply rooted in the afrofuturism Yugen Blakrok and her Iapetus Records label mates have proven to be fond of.

Yugen Blakrok's sophomore album, Anima Mysterium, drops February 1. You can pre-order it here.

YUGEN BLAKROK - PICTURE BOX (Official Video) youtu.be


Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.