Every week we compile a selection of music to sing you into the weekend and list them in a post called #bottomrightcorner. Sometimes new tunes, sometimes themed tunes and sometimes we ask a music aficionado to choose the tunes for us. This week we have dedicated our selection to the pasts and presents of afrofuturism — ‘an emergent literary and cultural aesthetic that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas of people of colour, but also to revise, interrogate, and re-examine the historical events of the past’ (Wikipedia).
Herbie Hancock – ‘Rockit’

Multiple talent Herbie Hancock — American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer — also influenced the development of turntablism. 1983’s spacey sounding ‘Rockit’ is the first recognized popular single to feature scratching and other turntablist techniques by DJ Grand Mixer DXT. Written by Hancock, bass guitarist Bill Laswell and synthesizer/drum machine programmer Michael Beinhorn, this song is part of the groundwork for the DJ culture to follow soon afterwards.
Spoek Mathambo – ‘She’s Lost Control’

The 1979 Joy Division song focusing — according to Wikipedia — on Peter Hook’s ‘cool, droning, minimalist bassline formed over a methodical and mechanistic drum beat’ is inventive in its original post-punk version, yet visionary Spoek Mathambo manages to take its initial finesse even further and turns it into a tech-driven apocalypse dance.
Stevie Wonder – ‘Pastime Paradise’

Child prodigy Stevie Wonder adds to the list of early innovation with ‘Pastime Paradise’ — a breathtakingly beautiful anthem of insight. It is also known to be the first song to use a synthesizer to sound like a full string section and has been covered and sampled by many acclaimed artists, the most famous being West Coast rapper Coolio with the 1995 Grammy-winning smash hit ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’. Let’s start living our lives, living for the future paradise!
George Clinton – ‘Atomic Dog’

This funky future-inspiring tune was the p-funk collective’s last to reach number one on the US r&b chart yet failed to reach the Top 100 of the Pop Chart at all. Over the last two decades it has, however, gained greater popularity due to samples of the song appearing in rap songs. Give it a listen, you’ll recognize at least one or two familiar songs.
4hero featuring Ursula Rucker – ‘Loveless’

This 1998 release showcases the true 4hero sound with its blend of spiritualism, environmentalism, talk about astrology and extraterrestrial life forms and rhythms that sway through jazz all the way towards breakbeat hardcore.
Sun Ra – ‘Space Is The Place’

Believing he was of the ‘Angel Race’ and originally born on Saturn, Sun Ra was a pioneer in many regards. From a famed career as a jazz composer and synthesizer player to his work as a poet and philosopher he is recognized for his eclectic and unorthodox music and lifestyle. ‘Space Is The Place’ originally was an 82-minute science fiction film that depicts Sun Ra as a leader who decides to settle African Americans on a new planet before Earth is destroyed.
MF Doom – ‘Doomsday’

An example of a musician who has taken afrofuturistic elements and put their own contemporary twist on it. An English born hip-hop artist who favors soulful beats and lyrics that twist together dreams and harsh realities. Doom’s physical appearance is extremely rooted in the extraterrestrial; he is not seen without his metal mask that is styled after the comic villain Doctor Doom.

Words by Christine Hogg and Emma Remington