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The Dragon of An Ordinary Family

The Dragon of An Ordinary Family

After a six year wait, Jehst is back with his first solo album since 2005's Nuke Proof Suit and one of the strongest releases from the oft pigeonholed UK hip-hop scene in a little while. A healthy 16 tracks deep, The Dragon of an Ordinary Family is a breath of fresh fire for a scene that has seen many established MCs seemingly disappear or turn to more commercial exploits. Some of the tracks may be a year or two old, but the album still has a fresh sound that stands up well with other recent releases from here and abroad.

The album starts strong with surefire head-nodders like the self-produced 'Killer Instinct' and 'Zombies', and doesn't fade out, with standouts like 'Old No. 7', a beat that could easily have been created by Wu-Tang, 'The Illest', a wonky sounding banger, and 'Back to the Drawing Board', a kick drum frenzy of a track that you could see getting airplay on major radio stations like BBC 1Xtra (if they decide that they like independent music again).

Jehst lets his emotions run deep towards the end of the album on 'Poison' and 'Tears in the Rain', something a lot of MCs nowadays shy away from in favour of fronting behind an ego. You get the impression that Jehst the musician is a lot like Jehst the everyday man.

Beats are handled by the likes of LG, Chemo, Beat Butcha and Jehst himself, with styles ranging from a synth heavy sound to live instruments played over cleverly disguised samples. It would have been nice to hear a few more beats from the man himself, but the fact there are no guest features on the mic makes it a very personal album already.

The record acts as a good mid-point between the best of his previous two releases, Nuke Proof Suit and Falling Down, while lyrically Jehst has developed his trademark style even further to sound easy and laid back yet energetic and hungry after over a decade in the industry.

Hopefully this will spark a resurgence in conscious, well produced hip-hop, which isn't dictated by the current commercial trends. As we move into an age of disposable music, it's nice to hear an unrushed, well thought-out record that is obviously a labour of love.

Check out Now Then #39 for an interview with the man himself.