When he’s not drifting across high plains or riding in buses full of Menghi wearing his nuke proof suit, the man some call Billy Brimstone finds time to make the odd tune or two too. Madrox got some small nuggets of info in a rare bit of J-Star downtime…So what has Jehst been up to?
Alrighty then, obviously your somewhat of a ledge in the UK scene, and without meaning to sound like a kiss-ass, a personal hero of mine, but for the purposes of kicking this off – would you state your name, where you come from, and what you’re about?
My name is Jehst, I come from Planet Earth and I’m all about the Benjamin’s baby! Ha Ha!
The Menghi Bus mixtape came out not so long ago now and having heard it I can say its definitely top shelf, so…what the hell is a Menghi? And how do you feel the mixtape turned out as a whole?
Menghi is a state of mind. Yeah, I’m real happy with the mixtape, big, big shout outs to IQ for the long smoky sessions spent putting it together with me, and everybody who contributed – Thank you!
What’s the deal with you and LG at the moment? Can we be expecting more link ups from you two in the future? And Where’s IQ?
Me and LG have still got a bunch of material from when we had a studio together and a bunch of new joints too so you can definitely expect to hear his trademark sound on the album. He’s been doing some shows with me too to promote LG presents…The Mission/What Would Happen? – but that’s not a permanent arrangement. IQ’s in the lab working hard on The A-Loop Theory album with Asaviour, and a project called Mama Said which is gonna be dope.
There’s rumours of a lot of shelved material over at the YNR camp, are you looking to make sure it all gets out there eventually or are you just going to leave it as it is? Or, are the rumours wrong?
Yeah, we’ve got a lot of work in progress. Making tracks is easy but finishing albums is hard if you don’t have a factory process. When me and LG left the old studio that really set us back by a year ‘cause even though there’s material you’ve got to start all over again in terms of getting physically set up. Plus it’s then a mental battle to find enthusiasm for the unfinished material ‘cause creatively you’ve moved on. I’m pulling it all together now though so you can expect 2008 to be a big year for YNR.
“… I’m real positive right now and totally focused on the future so, you know, I’m not gonna dwell on the negative …”
I’m assuming with the mixtape out there that you no doubt have some new material on the way for us very soon, hopefully a full LP, Would you care to give away any juicy info? Guest artists? Beat makers? Track concepts?
My new album’s called ‘The Dragon Of An Ordinary Family’ and I’ve taken a back seat on the production. You can expect to hear beats from LG and Beat Butcha among others. I don’t wanna say too much just yet but it’s definitely got some flames on there.
Without meaning to ruffle any feathers, you did a video interview recently for a Leeds based hip-hop site recently, and you mentioned a certain someone from around that area who is affectively halting the progression of certain individuals link ups in the scene. Now, I’m pretty sure most of us know who it is, but would you care to elaborate any further on that point?
Not really. Somebody said to me recently that it’s not really my style to start ranting and raving about internal affairs and that really hit home so I’m keeping schtum right now. I’m real positive right now and totally focused on the future so, you know, I’m not gonna dwell on the negative.
I’m not ashamed to admit that you were the first British MC I heard and was truly blown away by, you definitely helped in my decision to make music and feel confident about being British and rapping. Who did that for you? If anyone…
A combination of all the dudes I grew up listening too and the dudes around me that I knew had talent. When I was young Blade, The Brotherhood, Gunshot, Kaliphz – they all showed me love by sneaking me into their shows so I got a big head start from those experiences and gained confidence, especially when Kaliphz used to let me get on the mic. In fact, I swear one of those guys passed me in the street in Brockley the other day! I should make a documentary tracking down some of those UK cats. When I was in Australia dudes were asking me about Gutter Snypes! We’ve got so much history here, it’s criminal that everyone seems to have forgotten.
I think it’s fair to say a lot of MC’s in the UK scene tend to have a very similar flow and feel to their music as you, you appear to be highly influential, how does that make you feel? Flattered or annoyed?
I’m flattered really. Sometimes my influence and contribution is not recognized but I’m confident that time will tell. Plus I’m always developing and changing musically so I’m always one step ahead of the biters!
Many fans have noticed a definite change in direction in your lyrical content and overall style…was this a conscious decision? or just natural evolution? Do you ever feel like returning to the deeper, darker J-Star of past?
I think some of my darkest stuff is on Nuke Proof Suit – Vice City, Ape Shit, Pepperspray. Deeper? The deepest stuff is probably on Falling Down! I just do what I do really. It’s hard for me to see myself from an outside perspective, especially as I’m always 12-18 months ahead of the public – I’ve got material that’s old to me that you guys haven’t even heard yet!
“… I’m always developing and changing musically so I’m always one step ahead of the biters! …”
You’re stuck on a desert island, no Nuke Proof Suit, No Menghi Bus, No nothing except for a CD player (that magically runs without electricity) and 3 CD’s of your choice to while away the time till a boat comes and rescues you…what are the 3 CD’s?
3? That’s too hard! I’m sure they get more than that on Desert Island Discs! They even get a luxury item! That would have to be an MPC. In that case the 3 CD’s would have to be packed full of short samples and sounds so I could make beats from them!
Which of your own material do you feel most pleased with? Most artists immediately point to there latest stuff but do you ever listen back to old tunes and go…”Damn that was good”?
I think it’s all good but I don’t really listen to my own stuff other than what I’m working on at the time. The music is for me while I’m making it but once it comes out, then it’s for everybody else.
A few people still feel somewhat left in the dark about the Lewis Parker situation, would you care to elaborate anymore on that? Or just forget about it altogether?
People feel left in the dark? Damn, Hip Hop really is fucked up nowadays! The celebrity culture we live where everybody gets there 15 minutes of fame has got people treating artists like public property, like they’re owed some kind of insight into our personal lives. That’s why I don’t ever, ever go on forums – ’cause it’s just dickheads gossiping about people they don’t know! Save that shit for Hello! Magazine!”
Do you still feel the hunger for making music like you did when you first started as MC?
I’m as hungry as ever ‘cause I probably get less creative time now than ever before.
Is there anybody who’s not so well recognised out there right now that you’ve got your eye on? Any tips for the who we should be looking out for?
You need to be looking out for Jyager and T-Bear, but also I feel that there’s so many sick dudes already out there like Cappo and Kashmere for example who just aren’t getting the love they deserve – Stop sleeping people.
“… I’m pulling it all together now though so you can expect 2008 to be a big year for YNR …”
We’ve recently had a huge debate/argument/free-for-all on the site where Chester P came out announcing his utter dislike and annoyance at various distro companies, a few people in particular and the HHC magazine as a whole…he seems to believe corruption is rife in the UK scene, How do you feel about it?
I haven’t read Chesters blog so it’s not really for me to comment. Corruption is not really the word I would use, but the whole industry side of things is completely fucked up, there’s no doubt about that. The fact is that if people like me and Taskforce were making indie music, with the following we have we’d have been snapped up by majors and handed a fat cheque but Hip Hop has been absorbed into Urban and the whole thing’s a mess business wise because there’s still no tried and tested blueprint for investors to get behind. We’re still viewed as a novelty and a risk, and that’s even within our own scene. There’s so many people involved in this music that really don’t believe in it. Well, why are you doing it then?! For the love? You can make music for the love but you can’t take that attitude towards running a business. Lead, follow or get the fuck out of the way!
What do you do in your free time in-between shows/recording, etc, etc?
Free time? What’s that?! If I get any time to myself I try to read, listen to music, watch movies, just chill with my girl really.
Ok, Lastly then, I wanna thank you very much for your time and would you like to add any shout outs or thank yous to anyone?
Thank you to the fans who keep buying (yes, that’s right, BUYING) my music and coming to the shows. If you don’t want me to make any more music then just keep burning my shit. Oh, and death to the scum who upload our shit and leak it before it comes out – you SHALL burn in hell, oh yes!! Peace.
Lots of good stuff on its way then, hopefully he answered peoples questions too. Thanks to the ukhh.com forum for putting forward said questions and Jehst himself for taking time out to answer. Cheers for reading