Dragon of an Ordinary Family
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.