Saturday, 20 November 2010

The Making of Jehst's Premonitions EP 1999 (YNR): An Interview with Evil Ed

Jehst - Premonitions EP - a classic?
In this post I have decided to get my Wax Poetics on and get deep behind the history of what was a massively important record in the development of my (and many other heads of my age) love affair with UK Hip Hop. It was 1999, I was 18, at college, permanently plugged into my Walkman and trying to find out as much as I could about the UK Hip Hop scene. I used to read HHC every month and scour the reviews section to figure out which UK releases I would buy the next time I had enough cash to catch the train to London and do the rounds at Deal Real and Mr Bongo. Some Old School heads might dismiss this era as occurring after the magic had passed but for those of us that were only just starting to pay our dues I can assure you it felt pretty magical then.

To say that Premonitions blew me and my mates away was an understatement. It became the record we all used as the example to non-believers that hip hop could be poetry. It was one of those records that felt special because it was so fucking good but so few people seemed to have heard of it – those who had it were part of a privileged club – and to say we rinsed it at our music discovery nights would be an understatement.

For this reason it was a great pleasure to be able to conduct an interview with Evil Ed who produced three tracks on Premonitions and was a major figure in the early years of YNR records. So without further ado ladies and gentlemen, I give you Evil Ed's take on the making of a now classic EP. 

Evil Ed in the house
 Postie: At what point did you hook up with Jehst and how did that come about?

Ed: I met Jehst around 1998 although I'd seen him MC a couple of years before in Manchester. He came on stage and I thought he was some live-wire kid with skills, he really left an impression. I then bumped into him in '98 in 4th Wave Records in Huddersfield. I was playing a demo tape I'd done with some MC's and we got chatting and he remembered me from the HID record. Jehst came round mine and we recorded some freestyles and stuff over some of the beats I'd been working on. He was in the process of making Premonitions and got me involved with some production and cuts for it. I met the rest of the YNR crew at the various recording sessions for the EP in Leeds, Tommy Evans, Nmonic, Asaviour, Taharka, Usmaan, Nexus 6.

"I love the crackle on the old vinyl/
I rock break loops / I make moves from my HQ!" 
At that time I had the chance to do a tune with some of my heroes of UK rap, Gunshot, for Disorda's UK Hustlas mixtape. It was a last minute thing, but I persuaded Jehst to come with me, I told him they'd let him on the track once they heard him. He nearly never came, he came to Leeds bus station and nearly never got on the National Express with me, but by some fluke there was a spare seat and he came with me. Gunshot let him spit on the track and I remember we were sitting in White Child Rix's lounge playing them 'Premonitions' on tape. These were legends to us - proper rap heroes!

Gunshot-Firepower from UK Hustlas Vol 6.

The beat for the Gunshot track, 'Firepower' never got mixed properly due to White Child Rix's girl and her parents coming home and we to cut the session short, which was shame, I always was gutted about that, but they said to us they had these MC's called Task Force who they wanted to get on the track too. I'd heard of them and Jehst had too I think, but that hook up lead to me and Jehst recording with them, me for 'The Tournament' and Jehst for whatever he recorded with them (even though we weren't there when they recorded the vocals for 'Firepower').

Postie: At this point in time what was Jehst like as a character and creative individual? He was obviously already an extremely talented lyricist. Was he easy to work with? How did you complement each other?

Ed: He was very lively, always rushing around, young and restless like the label name, trying to hook up music stuff, recording, doing shows, going to gigs. When I first met him .... For the full in depth interview click on the pdf viewer below the Premonitions youtube links...

Jehst - Liquid Diction (taken from YNR 001 - Premonitions EP)

Jehst ft Tommy Evans "Deadly Combination" (taken from Premonitions EP)

The Making of Premonition - An Interview With Evil Ed (full article)

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