A relatively new name to the UK rap community, you’d never guess that Portuguese-born emcee Jyager (pronounced Yay-ger) started his musical journey as part of London’s garage scene, as his vivid, often intricate verses sound far better suited to the head-nodding beats provided here by the talented Cee-Why than you could imagine they would when paired with club-driven garage vibes.
One of the biggest criticisms levelled at UK Hip-Hop in recent years has been that a seemingly never-ending influx of wannabe rappers has brought with it increased levels of mediocrity and a distinct lack of quality control, with it being almost impossible to distinguish one so-called artist from the next. Thankfully, Jyager appears to have taken the time to hone his craft before dropping official product and is obviously determined to walk his own path rather than be satisfied with following the pack. With that in mind, when you stop to consider that his label mates include equally unique lyricists such as Sir Smurf Lil’ and Kashmere, it’s easy to see why YNR decided to back this particular young emcee.
Opening with “Eyes Open”, a bold statement of intent littered with socio-political observations, “Encrypted Scriptures” is a thoroughly entertaining effort that easily mixes street swagger with moments of genuine personal reflection, such as the soul-searching “Somewhere In Paradise” which finds Jyager determined to maintain a level head amidst inner-city turmoil.
The raw, sparse drums of “The Session” take a verbal pummelling from both Jyager and the ever-reliable Jehst, who has his “dick jammed in the MPC…literally banging them beats”, whilst the mellow “Didn’t Wanna Have To Do It” tackles relationship dramas with disarming honesty. Only on “Never Gonna Bring Me Down” does Jyager lose his momentum, with the track’s annoying sing-song hook and sluggish production adding little to the overall project.
However, that small criticism aside, “Encrypted Scriptures” is an impressive debut – the garage scene’s loss is definitely homegrown Hip-Hop’s gain.