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Ya fallin’ off like Paul Daniels’ wiggy hair

Paul Daniels with a sports car

Image: Wikimedia Commons

  • Track: The Trilogy (Remix)
  • Artist: Jehst feat. Chester P and Kyza
  • Album: The Return of the Drifter
  • Year: 2002

Hello. I’ve been on a hip-hop-holiday for a bit. Not on a rap simile finding mission to the Bronx or anything, but Gloucestershire, which is more or less the UK’s equivalent. And it’s in the UK that we’ll stay for this tour through the rap world’s greatest simile destinations. Well, the English-speaking rap world at any rate. A polyglot I am not. After five consecutive tracks from New York artists, we are long overdue a return to these shores.

The Book of Dust. The Godfather. Big Momma’s House. All great trilogies weave an epic story through a shared universe, linking characters and themes. Why should rap be any different? Kanye West managed it, sort of. Though despite the name this Jehst track is part two of a not-actually-a-trilogy (at least I don’t think there’s a third companion track). Both do feature three MCs. I suppose that might explain it.

The other track (simply Trilogy) sits halfway through Jehst’s 2002 debut that this track brings to an end. They’re both the same length and use the same beats, and are pretty straightforward posse cuts. There will be no mucking about with hooks here thank you very much, just three blowhards rapping about how awesome there are. It’s classic stuff, in other words. The production is nice and lo-fi too, with an eerie plinky plonk piano sample from some unlistenable ‘50s modern jazz. Is there any other type of modern jazz?

Both trilogy tracks are dense with similes, but this one just edges out Trilogy in terms of quantity. But the first track is well worth a listen if inventive wordplay is your thing. And if you’re reading this, I’m going to assume it is.

Together this trilogy’s trio represents a good cross-section of early noughties UK rap royalty. Jehst is still going strong, as is his record label YNR.

Jehst graciously allows his guests to take up the mic first on this one. We start with Chester P; a real poet this one, and oddly enough son of Peet Combs from The Tourists (the one with the fringe). Take it away, Chester.

The lyrics

View full annotated lyrics on genius.com

[Verse 1 – Chester P]

I spray walls so we can battle for the writer’s bench
And fight against the odds like Daniel in the lions’ den

I only found out today that Daniel isn’t the one who removed a thorn from a lion’s paw (that’s St. Jerome apparently). This should give you an idea of how much of a godless heathen I am. For the sake of any other biblical ignoramuses, Daniel is the chap who an angel has to rescue from a pit of lions. Really badass lions, judging by the Rubens painting.

Daniel is the third biblical character in the database now, after Moses and Leviathan (twice). Four if you count God, which I guess you should. I think he might crop up in the Bible somewhere.

You bite my style I’ll cut your hands off and write with them
Don’t breathe down my neck or I’ll stop your flow with nitrogen
You said I’m nice blood? You’ll have to say I’m nice again
My ways are set like cement, swinging like a thousand Spider-Men
Hit so hard some rappers never write again, like a dried up pen
So you just can’t rely on them

Now this is what I call a trilogy. It’s a smashing simile sandwich, made with the bread of simple but effective similes about two everyday things. The juicy filling is that Spider-Man reference. It also takes me back all misty-eyed to the very first track I scoured for similes.

To step to me’s to put your own legs in jeopardy
You could walk a thousand miles and still not get next to me
I’m so beyond it’s only future that’s ahead of me
To battle me you’ll need to travel to the next century
I’m so high up even mute people try to mention me
My arts are sharp mentally, when I think you’re meant to bleed
I’m blackin’ out cos I haven’t got the strength to see
My hate’s blind so I’m running dangerously on lengths of beef
I‘m old school like a real pair of hippy’s flares
When I go to bed I cuddle up with a grizzly bear

Chester takes a brief respite from the simile madness to reflect on how awesome he is. He is in full flow here and I think this is my favourite bit of the track. And the simile is pretty funny too.

I don’t reckon he’s saying ‘beef’ but the Genius lyrics list is that and I’ve got nothing better.

I move so fast most people ask ‘is he there?’
I leave now and by tomorrow I travel 50 years
So if I was you I’d be pretty scared
Try’na buy a new set of pants cos I know you’re in a shitty pair
I spit bricks and build my own little city here
While ya fallin’ off like Paul Daniels’ wiggy hair

Chester P finishes his verse on a flourish: another trilogy, this one of great punchlines. And it’s topped off with a splendid mic drop of a simile. For anyone under about 35, magician Paul Daniels was one of the most famous people in Britain in the ’80s.

Next up is Kyza (as in Keyser Söze rather than a German emperor. I think.), formerly of the Terra Firma crew. And he’s certainly on solid ground with this bumper crop of similes.

[Verse 2 – Kyza]

When I start rhymin’ bare breddahs a start hidin’
My dark writing strikes many like charge lightnin’

Meteorology fans might be surprised this is the first time we’ve seen lighting in a simile, although thunder has featured a couple of times. It’s such a common way to use simile (Douglas, C., Kung Fu Fighting, 1976) I’d have expected to see it before simile number 482.

Sharp slicin’ knives cut and then stick right in
It’s not a wise thing to start no arms fighting
I might fling hundreds of blows and start wilin’
Like right-wing Nazi marchers who start violence

My mind thinks the same way that Einstein’s did
My IQ is higher than London car crime is

Yay, another simile trilogy! Three in three lines no less, and some nice imagery to boot. If Jehst’s simile-trilogy was a sandwich, Kyza’s is surely a three bird roast (or, as I’ve just discovered the Americans call it, a ‘turducken’. Sounds appetising.). You peel back the layers of simile one after the other, finding each tastier than the last. This is the simile database debut for Albert Einstein. Paul Daniels too as it happens, but that’s perhaps less surprising.

Alas, I’m afraid all of Kyza’s good simile work is about to be undone by some total filth. Tut tut. Mum, on the off-chance you’re reading this, please skip this bit.

I slide in inside of the thighs of a nice white slim
Light skinned girl from behind and plot my tings
I dive in, piping her slightly ripe tight minge
I like when she tips on my c’ck and starts ridin’
I fry fins of these sharks who like biting
Surprising them with my hundred and five tribesmen
Their eyes widenin’ with the frightened child likeness
And high-pitched siren screams when I’m sighted

This is a pretty weird way to say something is like something else, but it’s going in. I’d say Kyza’s comparing the eyes of his terrified shark-enemies with those of a frightened child.

I buy drinks for some Friday night high-jinks
And try link some yatties by givin’ em sly winks
Kindness lines my golden heart shining
A high car’s mileage just to pass time with
I cry gems, shit rubies and fart diamonds
My style is rarer than priceless art findings

Kyza’s final simile may be a comparative, but I find them just as precious as their more classic cousins.

I’m swiping iced rings and wetting up dry men
With my pen, what my friend – all right then

So now it’s the turn of the headliner, as Jehst steps up to close out the track and the album (note the title drop). Jehst also records under the name Billy Brimstone, which I think explains the Billy the Kid line. Let’s see what similes he’s smuggling under his Stetson shall we?

[Verse 3 – Jehst]

It’s the return of the drifter; Billy the Kid
Contents under pressure, I’m flippin’ my lid
So many rhymers are liars, I’m sick of their fibs
They lack focus, jokers that tickle my ribs
Thinkin’ that they’re hardcore, they’re more brittle than twigs
I’m projectile spitting while you dribble on bibs
I’m diggin’ for hits givin’ the middle finger to pigs
Bringin’ that nasty stink that’ll linger like cigs

That’s some rhyming. It’s eight bars of tight, funny rhythmic lyrical gymnastics that Linoy Ashram would be proud of. Savour it, and the two similes.

I sit in my crib glued to the telly
No food in my belly, I’m losin’ it tuned into Jerry
But this is my final thought: right now it’s time for war
Better decide if you’re fightin’ for a righteous cause
Like me an’ my cyber force, we walk tall swing swords slay the minotaur
I scrutinise rhymes ’til my eyes are sore
We from the underground, raw like iron ore
You’ll get deafened by the lion’s roar
I’m stompin’ on primitive life forms like a dinosaur

And it’s the last stop on the simile train for this time out. Two more here, in a section of verse that squeezes in an impressive variety of references. Everyone loves dinosaurs don’t they? So that’s a nice one to end on.

Ridin’ beside the four horsemen
I got my eye on the pie and I’m out for a small portion

And there it is. With 16 similes, Jehst and his two pals are now top of the UK artists, simile wise, just edging out Four Owls. Black Twang is still the individual UK rapper with the most individual similes in the database, but that’s because his is a solo track. At some point I will work out who’s the similest rapper in the whole world, as we continue to analyse every single hip-hop track ever recorded.

Oh, and next time out we will almost definitely hit the 500 simile mark. Like the parent of a child who’s just won the scariest clown competition, I’m simultaneously proud and a bit disturbed by this.

Five. Hundred. Hip-hop. Similes.

The stats

Similes:16
Words:651
Words per simile:40.69
Length:3m 40s
Similes per minute:4.36
What the track should have been called:The Dilogy (Remix)

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