Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The YNR Collection Continues...

Home from home
Record Store Day 2012 was a memorable one for me. After my first morning back at work after completing a move into a new home, I spent the afternoon at the Amex Stadium watching the Albion bring to a close their first season in their new home. With any type of promotion hopes dashed the previous week following a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of West Ham and relegation not even at the back of the mathematically retarded Seagull fan's minds the game itself was not much to remember, but the journey home via Rarekind Records afterwards was more of a trip!! 

Until last year, I had pretty much given up on the prospect of there being any more UK vinyl slabs worth picking up outside of the odd Roots Manuva LP and 12". Then Jehst embarked on a very clever viral marketing campaign entitled "Jehst is my Postman" that got the UK rap message boards and blogs debating the MC's possible day job like crazy. 

It wasn't long before we all got what we wanted with news of a release of a much anticipated new Jehst LP - "The Dragon of an Ordinary Family". And guess what - it was coming in a slick-looking limited edition (500 copies) vinyl package, with coloured slabs of wax, gatefold cover, full artwork and download card. It ticked every box the UK Hip Hop vinyl collector would want, but would the music be any good?  

The Dragon's Tight Packaging
I have to admit, when I first heard "Starting Over" I wasn't convinced. The lazy stoner flow was back over a rehashed 7L and Esoteric beat that has been pretty much standard work for the MC in recent times. Whilst the lyrics were on point and poetic as always, I have always preferred the urgency and aggression that was most notably present in the Premonitions/High Plains Drifter era flow.   

Fortunately though, the next track to be leaked on Youtube was "England". To say it completely blew me away is an understatement. It has been a long time since I have replayed and replayed a newly released UK Hip Hop track until I can recite all the lyrics - but this one was definitely one of those tracks! It was as if the old, thirsty Jehst was back, there was urgency in the delivery coupled with some of the sickest lyrics and on-point social commentary to come out of the UK scene in a very long time.  

The desired wax ltd to 300
So after hearing about the record store day only release of a ltd edition Dragon remix EP via facebook, youtube and pretty much every other social media site worth checking, I was hell bent on keeping the vinyl side of my YNR collection up to date.  Being well up on things in advance I was calm in the knowledge I had reserved my copy at RK and was anticipating a no-stress purchase direct from the man whilst everybody around me scrambled for the remaining 50 odd copies promised to the store on the day.

Unfortunately though - in my self congratulatory excitement I had failed to factor in that this was the notoriously unreliable world of UK Hip Hop and I was about to come face to face with one of the most renowned cultivators of this image!  That said, by turning up at 5.30pm - half an hour after the advertised time, I was at least comfortable in the knowledge that Jehst and entourage would be late so wasn't surprised to discover the store thick with heads still awaiting the arrival of one of the scenes most respected lyricists. 

Thank you record gods!

At 7pm the excitement was beginning to waiver a little and the shop, at one point brimming with potential customers was starting to look a little lower on numbers, which, as it turned out, was a very good thing from my point of view! Why? Because when the main-man did finally rock up a full two-and-a-half hours late, he came with a large box, that turned out to be holding just eight measly copies of the highly sort after slab of wax!
To his credit - perhaps because he has spent many a year dealing with the stoner-populated world of UK Hip Hop artists, RK resident proprietor HP took the whole thing in his stride, apologised on behalf of Jehst to the waiting crowd and quickly took the names of anyone who wanted a copy of the record for an impromptu raffle to be orchestrated by the ever-amiable, Micall Parknsun.  

Having never won anything in a raffle in my life, I didn't hold out much hope and had pretty much resigned myself to the fact I was going to be scouring ebay and discogs in an effort to pick up a copy for an inevitably inflated price.

But the record gods were smiling on me that day, and thanks to a fortunate twist of fate my name came out of the hat early doors so I could sit back and watch the remainder of the raffle, safe in the knowledge that the catalogue numbers of my YNR collection will continue climbing in an OCD tension relieving order until the next limited release comes along to test my patience and resolve! 

And the remix EP wasn't the only bit of wax worth copping that day. As an added bonus Mr Parknsun also had a little vinyl number to add to the ever growing list of YNR wax with his ltd (to I dont know how many) 7" release lifted off his forthcoming "Me, Myself and Akai" LP entitled "ME", which was duly added to the collection alongside a lovely ltd to 300 DJ Format produced Aspects 7" which will get some love in a later post. 

To prolong the excitement a little more, I still have no idea what any of these latest purchases sound like as the aforementioned house move has left me sound-system-less for time-being. But, given the quality of the original Dragon LP, both are definitely slabs I will be looking forward to spinning sooner rather than later. For now though I am just happy and content in knowledge that although the volume of output is somewhat diminished UK rap vinyl product is still very much alive and kicking.