Just over a week prior to this Jehst had been headlining the Jazz Cafe with a live band, yet here is again playing second fiddle to an under-appreciative crowd. Having released one of the very best records of the year back in June, you’d think playing to such an unresponsive crowd would dampen his performance, but Jehst amicably does he best to energise the gaggle of Random Axe fans who arrived early. To an extent, he has some success, and as he cuts the beat to leave the damning political musings of ‘England’ standalone, the crowd are undoubtedly hanging on to every word. While this won’t be the best gig Jehst will have played this year, it does the job and he remains first choice for rap show warm-up by some distance.
By the time Random Axe appear on stage, though, it’s very clear who this audience are here to see. Black Milk begins on the decks (where he spends most of the evening) playing through a few records, before introducing emecee’s Guilty Simpson and Sean Price, whose presence tonight lends a veteran-like professionalism to the evening. The group run through the majority of their self-titled debut album, before taking the opportunity to show off some solo material from their respective careers. While it’s Black Milk’s kick-snare assault that predictably dominates the night, there are also moments dedicated to the late J Dilla, and also Madlib as they run through cuts from Simpson’s OJ Simpson album.
It’s perhaps Sean Price, though, who is most impressive, and more of a rarity when it comes to appearances in the UK. Previews of tracks from his forthcoming album Mic Tyson show promise, and his stage presence throughout makes the room seem much smaller than it is. While Black Milk emerges from behind the turntable intermittently, the strength of Random Axe is his that all three guys play to their strengths. With Black Milk on the beats, and Simpson and Price up front, this is one supergroup that proves to be a winning combination.
Following the release of their critically acclaimed debut earlier this year, hip hop supergroup Random Axe will play their first UK show tonight at London’s Scala. Random Axe consists of drum loving Detroit super producer Black Milk, Stones Throw’s Guilty Simpson and Brooklyn street rapper Sean Price.
The group’s self titled album is available now, entirely produced by Black Milk, and featuring guests Danny Brown, Roc Marciano and Melanie Rutherford.
As if that wasn’t a strong enough line-up, support this evening will come from Jehst, who himself has released one of Crossfire’s favourite albums of the year with ‘Dragon of an Ordinary Family’.
Tickets for the event are still available from Ticketweb, so no excuses for missing this one.
The London producer’s new record Rapping With Paul White, is his first vocal album and features a number of great guests including Guilty Simpson, Danny Brown and Jehst and will be released on the brilliant One Handed Music label. Check out the tracklisting below and get excited, this one’s big.
1. Intro: We Make A Lot Of Noise
2. Right On
3. Trust ft. Guilty Simpson
4. Run Shit ft. Marv Won
5. One Of Life’s Pleasures ft. Danny Brown
6. The Doldrums
7. Life Is Flashing Interlude
8. Stampeding Elephants ft. Moe Pope
9. Rotten Apples ft. Tranqill
10. Thirty Days
11. A Weird Day ft. Homeboy Sandman
12. African New Wave
13. Indigo Glow ft. Jehst
14. Dirty Slang ft. Guilty Simpson
15. A New Way
16. Evasive Action
17. Wily Walruses ft. Nancy Elizabeth
18. Outro: We’ll Never End
Waiting six years for an album isn’t ideal and with every passing year, the expectation of being underwhelmed grows tenfold. Such was the trepidation that came with opening the new album from Jehst, the best rapper in the UK bar none, but thankfully the wait was well worth it as this is a serious contender for album of the year.
When it was revealed that he wouldn’t be producing the entire album itself, another seed of doubt was sown, but having heard the album, it’s clear that the beatmakers he’s working with know exactly the style Billy Brimstone needs to work with whether they be upbeat bangers like ‘Thinking Crazy‘ and ‘Old Number 7‘ or the laid back vibes of ‘Camberwell Carrots‘ [shout out to my place of birth!] and ‘The Illest‘. A perfect balance is struck between the two, allowing the rhymes of the MC to take centre stage.
Jehst has always been something of a genius with his words. Not only does he deliver quotables in every line, he raps them in a style that is completely his own, often changing pace or structure mid-line whilst still not missing a beat and this is something that appears in spades on the new album. Whether he is talking about killer rap zombies or introspectively dissecting his feelings, Jehst’s confidence and untouchable delivery exudes brilliance throughout the album.
Standout track ‘England‘ is a real tour-de-force and harks back to his 2001 EP Return of the Drifter, it’s dusty beat laying under his diatribe about the state of the country he lives in, opening with “You gotta stack chips and that’s the way it is yo / living in this city is turning Billy schizo phrenic / it’s a blood money epidemic / kids rock Academiks but they’re not academic” before finishing up with the boldest of all full stops, saying “It’s hardcore but that’s life in England / And it goes for the whole United Kingdom / And I still got love for the place that I’m living / But right now there ain’t nothing Great about Britain“.
Six years is an age to wait for an album, but when it comes as complex, deep and enjoyable as this, it doesn’t seem quite so long.
UK rapper Jehst has resurfaced with a new promo video featuring a brand new track.
One of the best rappers around on either side of the Atlantic, Billy Brimstone has been fairly quiet of late but with his new album The Dragon Of An Ordinary Family dropping in the not too distant [we hope!] it’s time to ramp up the action.
This video shows Jehst as a postman, rapping whilst passing numerous faces of the UK hip hop world – see if you can spot them all. It’s a banger and we can’t wait for the full length to hit us, it’s gonna be huge.
XOYO will host the single launch for UK hip hop kingpin Jehst on April 16th.
In addition to Billy Brimstone, the line-up will feature Anchorsong [for his EP launch], Kelpe, Lukid, Kutmah and man of the moment Ghostpoet in a line up that should satisfy all tastes.
Running from 9pm to 3am, tickets are priced at £16 on the door or £12 in advance from www.soundcrashmusic.com and is Over 18s only, so no kiddiewinkies! Get in the zone by reliving this banger from Jehst, it’s a favourite of ours here at Crossfire.