ALBUM: THE RETURN OF THE DRIFTER
LABEL (YEAR): LOWLIFE RECORDS (2002)
FOR FANS OF: TASKFORCE, BRAINTAX, MOS DEF
Words by Jasper Morvaridi
The UK hip-hop scene was in many ways overshadowed by the hype surrounding grime in the early 2000s. That said, artists such as Jehst made a lasting imprint on the scene with releases such as The Return of the Drifter, Fallen Down and more recently, The Dragon of an Ordinary Family.
With production and features from the likes of Harry Love and Chester P, 2002's The Return of the Drifter is incredibly consistent. The use of samples and fairly simple beats throughout lend themselves well to Jehst’s flow. The moment that anthem, ‘Alcoholic Author’ drops – “Like Bukowski, the alcoholic author // son of the devil, I turn wine into water” – will never get old for me. Other highlights include ‘1979’ and instrumental track ‘Bluebells’.
Jehst's debut LP, The Return of the Drifter was released in 2002 on Braintax’s former imprint, Low Life Records, a label with an extensive back catalogue that helped establish UK hip-hop.
If you're new to the genre, this classic is definitely one place to start; if you're not new, give this record another listen and re-discover why Jehst is a legend in his field.