Sunday, 24 February 2008

UK Classics Part II


Many people count ‘Falling Down’ as Jehst’s masterwork, with its claustrophobic bass-heavy beats and trademark mildly schizophrenic lyrics, but for me, Jehst gave us his best work on his first album release.

OK, I admit, ‘The Return Of The Drifter’ comprises mostly just Jehst’s first few EPs and singles along with some other gems, but still, it has been moulded into a complete album that contains almost 100% genuine classic hip-hop.

From start to finish this album is pound for pound one of my favourite hip-hop albums EVER to be released by a british artist. Jehst's lyrical ability is arguably better than anyone else's in the game and he can undoubtedly be seen as one of the most consistent artists the UK have ever produced.

The album starts off with the beautiful 'High Plains Anthem', which is about a trillion times better than the 'High Plains Drifter' track the Beastie Boys did on their classic LP 'Paul's Boutique' (Yes, I really do hold this album that high in regard). It sets the tone for the whole album as its classic Jehst production - dreamy basslines, rolling keys and dusty beats. Jehst has a knack of making very understated music that doesn't hit you straight away, but over time suck you in to his world.

A testament to this album is that the two interludes are great tracks within themselves. The first comes up straight after the opener, and sounds a little bit like Jehst's remix beat for Universal Soldiers track 'Soldier 4 Life' (an absolute banger from his Underworld Epics producer album by the way), and then the exquisite 'Bluebells' follows on from the classic early Jehst track 'City of Industry'. There's something about 'Bluebells' that just makes me want it to be a 7 or 8-minute long epic instrumental interlude. It just trundles along over a typically messy beat, with its hypnotic bassline and repeated vocal samples. Even writing this as I listen to the album I honestly can't pick a fault on it in any way.

After this we get into the real meat of the album, and its '1979' that I am impressed with most. I truly think its one of the best 50 hip-hop tracks ever made. The music and lyrics match beautiful. Jehst's words are at their best, with deep observations such as 'Between two worlds like the thief at the window' just flowing out one by one. Its a small little line, but in that one sentence there is so much to make you think. Trust me...nearly everything said in this song is like that. Absolutely brilliant.

You follow that on with classics such as The Trilogy (and its remix), Alcoholic Author and Return of the Drifter and you've got a great album. To top it off, you have the astonishing (I'm running out of superlatives) 'Staircase II Stage' featuring J-Zone, and 'People Under The Weather' featuring a then unknown Asaviour and, well, I'm basically nearly having a wank right now.


I'm off to clean you download this, or you are truly missing out on a UK Classic.

Jehst - The Return of the Drifter

1. High Plains Anthem
2. Skit
3. City Of Industry
4. Bluebells
5. 1979
6. The Trilogy (featuring Ricochet & Tommy Evans)
7. Alcoholic Author
8. Staircase II Stage (featuring J-Zone)
9. The Return Of The Drifter
10. People Under The Weather (featuring Asaviour)
11. The Trilogy (Remix) (featuring Chester P & Kyza)

1 comment:

adrm said...

to me this isn't only one the best british hip-hop albums but one of the best hip-hop albums period, regardless of nationality. i can listen to this over and over again and not get tired of it, in my opinion Jehst was at his lyrical peak with these tracks, not hating on his more recent work but lyrically it aint on the same level. love that line in city of industry "and my nights spent bunnin the kaya, uninspired by this freak show, i see ghosts dance in the trail of my weed smoke" hauntin!! top post, anyone who doesn't own this needs to download it right now, then go out & spend some of ya hard earned cash on this joint, it's worth it.
peace out