Jehst – Billy Green Is Dead (Review)

Jehst, Reviews

Every few years the UK scene is refreshed by the return of one it’s greats. Jehst is one of the most respected, influential and consistently brilliant rappers on the circuit, and in his later years he has grown much beyond the traditional hip-hop sensibilities he made his name with. ‘Billy Green Is Dead’ sees the legendary MC explore off-kilter beats and complex themes throughout this release, and Jehst’s penmanship is still as smooth as it was in the late nineties.

The album gets underway with ‘Billy’s Green Theme’; Jehst has developed such a stellar reputation due to his identifiable, incredibly relatable lyricism and sophisticated, ultra-calm delivery, and this opener puts Billy Brimstone’s skill-set in full display. Jehst fully embraces the futuristic, leftfield sound of the experimental on this release. Tracks like the intense, glitchy ‘Kennedy’, which features fellow YNR head Confucius MC, are hugely captivating; both the production and the lyricism shows such depth, and Jehst’s years of experience in making boundary-pushing, mature hip-hop make the quirky sound of this release another effortless achievement.

The synthetic, sparse ‘Household Name’ features Jyager, and the eighties-influenced production with it’s groovy bassline and swelling synths, is a great backdrop for the two lyricists to ask a number of questions to both themselves and the listener. They describe the mundane, celebrity-obsessed culture of our times with cutting detail and witty observations. ’44th Flour’ is a raw, lofi banger, and the muffled drums and distorted synth-lines allow Jehst’s complex writing take centre stage. The single has already had a hugely positive reception online, and deservedly so; the track still stands strong in the context of the album though, and the unashamedly weird sonic-direction of the album is endlessly entertaining.

The jazzy ‘Smoke Screen’, which finds Ennio Lion and Mr. Thing accompanying (alongside an uncredited Rag N Bone Man), is a return to the familiar smoky boom bap that Jehst is so formidable at. There’s a reason he has inspired a generation of British MC’s, and it’s the tasteful execution showcased on this cut that is so important in his reputation being so revered. The intricate, subtle ‘Eulogy’ is a definite highlight from ‘Billy Green Is Dead’; Jehst’s lyrical prowess is on full display as he drops witty punchlines with an impeccable flow and experienced delivery. He’s one of the most consistent MC’s in the game, and he’s as strong in 2017 as when he first burst onto the scene.

Another year, another quality album boxed off from Jehst. The catalogue is increasingly impressive, and ‘Billy Green Is Dead’ finds Jehst sounding more mature, diverse and thought-provoking than ever. The LP is sonically challenging, but it’s well worth the effort to fully appreciate the talent on display here. The loose-narrative is enthralling, but the story told through Jehst’s channeling of Billy Green is one we can relate to, and it’s this characteristic that makes the YNR founder one of the finest lyricists around.

By Sam Bennett






Confucius MC – The Highest Order (Review)

Confucius MC, Reviews

YNR are one of the most respected record labels putting out consistently dope UK hip hop. Their latest release is The Highest Order, the debut album from Confucius MC. This is straight up boom bap hip hop, and it’s expertly done. 


Confucius MC made his name as part of =CoN+KwAkE=, a live duo made up of one MC and one drummer, and has supported talented artists such as Slum Village and Mos Def as part of the aforementioned group. This album sees him stand out on his own, spitting bars that show his prowess on the mic. The album has a maturity about it, and Con’s rhymes fit perfectly with the beats, provided by Parisian producer Keor Meteor.

This album features some great Jazzy drum breaks, and the whole vibe of the album means that it could slot into any hip hop friendly jazz club and go down a storm. The Highest Order is a great track, with a fantastically dusty feel. With intricate flows, Confucius has a great tone for this 90s style production, and the more relaxed sound to the beats means this album stands out from a lot of the more hardcore and aggressive hip hop coming out of the UK.

The Highest Order also features some dope soulful tracks. One of these is Eyes To The Sky. With some great multi’s and a very chilled vibe, this is exactly the kind of hip hop YNR has specialised in for years. With artists like Jehst and Kashmere signed to the label, it’s impressive to see Confucius drop a debut album that stands aside the work of these veteran rappers, and I’m looking forward to hearing future projects from him. If The Highest Order is anything to go by, Confucius is set to be a prolific artist within the scene.

This is a great album, and with no guest appearances on any of the 14 tracks, it really gives you a chance to appreciate Confucius’ ability and sound. Any fan of boom bap, golden era hip hop as well as fans of jazz influenced rap music will definitely enjoy this album

By Sam Bennett