Jehst – Falling Down

December 2nd, 2003

The beginning of Jehst’s debut full-length album ‘Falling Down’ is that of one of the most focused ‘Intro’ tracks I’ve heard for a long time. It’s not about making silly sounds, giving shout out’s to everyone down to the postman (although there are a few), it’s simply concise, sets up the vibe on the production to follow throughout the sixteen tracks and lets the listener know that they’re in for a great deal of metaphorical images, enticing similes through wonderful concepts and a lot more. Then comes ‘Run Hard’, the first actual song which is also the lead single of the album. It’s production is simple yet hypnotizing and the accompanying lyrics touching on subjects such as working hard and keeping negative thoughts at bay set up numerous cultural references from Dr. Who to paying rent, to weed. The track sets the scene, offers a sneak peak at the mind state of the fresh and innovative rap artist and leaves the audience gagging for more.

After a short and entertaining skit featuring the voice of Apollo who appears towards the end of the album as producer and guest vocalist, the second real track titled ‘Manimals’ bursts into play with the famous and lovable samples of a Muhammad Ali sound bite. The track, which features guest appearances by Usmaan and The Sundragon continues the cultural references of earlier on by mentioning the likes of the Austin Powers character Mini Me and puma shoes but is more than just a reflection of the environment which Jehst finds himself in. The lyrics go on to describe London as a place with similarities to a jungle through various adorable methods of poetic language which temps one to reach straight for the rewind button (okay, backwards search) to hear it all again.

Track five sees a skit sampling the Marilyn Manson appearance on the critically acclaimed and Oscar winning Michael Moore documentary film ‘Bowling For Columbine’. It was an appearance which many people based a new admiration for the shock rocker upon and which Jehst felt the sentiments of deeply, because it leads appropriately into a politically charged track titled ‘Citizen Smif’. Here Jehst imagines ‘Spitting in Tony Blair’s face’ because he’s sick of him, just one of the many lines on this album to which the majority of listeners will be able to relate. Cheap shots and predictable angst don’t get the best of Jehst (that means there are none), resulting in a solid and focused track which listeners will be skipping forward to long after they tire (if they ever do) of most of the other tracks.

Up to this point the album is successfully produced entirely by Jehst, with Braintax, founder of Low Life Records, contributing to the mixing, which he does for much of the product, however track seven ‘Brimstone Rock’ is handled by Lewis Parker. The beats offer another hypnotizing outing combining a deep but warm and gentle bass line with light and mesmerizing galaxy sounds. The track opens with another ‘conscious rapper’ comment, this time about people not having enough food to eat. It’s quickly followed by a reference to Public Enemy with the line ‘Welcome To The Terror dome’.

Lewis Parker is on the boards for the next track ‘Give It Here’ which he rhymes on along side Klashnekoff and of course Jehst, the high plains drifter (an alias and reference to previous work). The opening verse talks emotionally about relatives that have passed as well as young sons and friends. The beat is slightly heavier than experienced at this point of the album whilst the bass is just as soft and as chilled as ever.

After the least necessary of tracks, a short skit produced by LG, which however nice a sound, takes up space which could have been used for an extra verse or two, Jehst further establishes himself as an intelligent and versatile story teller through reflective and analytical language on ‘Dirty’.

With a haunting whistle to begin collaboration between Asaviour and Diablo on the track ‘Monotony’, the listener is treated to one of the more heart rendering moments of the album. The chorus is deep and has a quiet but soulful background vocal which provokes emotion. The lyrics talk about the feelings felt after a night of drinking which is referred to as a means of escapism. ‘A bouquet of barbed wire’ being the most potent and powerful of the many images to be discovered and cherished here.

LG’s production on ‘ESP (Extra Sensory Perfection) erases any memory of the not so needed inclusion of his early skit. This is the best track on the album. The tones of delivery, the meter of the language, the lovable style and voice- blended over a hazy, slow and artistic sound makes for an amazing end result of a love story. On hearing this, listeners are likely to stop whatever they are doing, just to savvier the moment. It is to the young, developing and promising career of Jehst, what the track ‘Dreamy Days’ has been to Roots Manuva or even what ‘Imagine’ and ‘Lately’ are to the legacies of Lennon and Wonder. And its worth noting this is Jehsts first album.

‘Die When You Die’ is a slightly philosophical track packed with more cultural references which contribute to the quickly developing portrayal of the UK scene. One cant help but think that in making these references, Jehst is building a document which will in years to come, be a testament to the times it was made in. Jehst’s pen is playing God at this point, even having me fully believe for a moment that a reference to a splinter is solely related to England and the rest of the world don’t ever get them. The atmosphere that the lyrics build is that believable.

The title track ‘Falling Down’ has one of the busiest backing tracks on the album that combines well with the intricate language of its wordsmith. It is touching, emotionally provocative, and seems suited to be the title moment. ‘China Shop Taurus’ is a wonderful way to end this amazing and fully satisfying journey which seems to incorporate much of what has already been said, into a concluding contribution including one last political remark about ‘government scapegoats’ and uplifting and positive sentiments.

When the only memorable reference to anything particularly American is a vague passing remark about the lovable family favourite Whoopi Goldberg, when the relaxing and sensual bass lines play on in your head for the rest of the day, when you’re looking for lyrics in the album booklet to get everything and more out of each word recorded, when you’re inspired and motivated to put effort into something you enjoy and have a passion for; you know the boy did good.