William G. Shields, better known as Jehst or a slew of aliases including The High Plains Drifter and Jay Star, is an English rapper and co-founder of hip hop label YNR.
Jehst is the best kept secret in British rap and one of the most consistent artists to break out of the UK over the last five years. This man has built a following and spawned a thousand soundalikes right across the country. Top-notch flows, unconventional subject matter and tight beats mean that the product is always at the top of tree, while his stage show is without doubt the best of any UK hip-hop artist.
Jehst is acclaimed for the wide variety of moods, subjects and atmospheres captured in his music, ranging from defiant to reflective to mysterious.
Born in Kent in the summer of ‘79, Jehst spent his early childhood in Crowborough in Sussex before moving to Huddersfield where he experienced the bleak realities of the post-industrial north, which have been such an influence on his lyrical style. After schooling Jehst moved to the Harrow Campus of the University of Westminster to study illustration and English Literature.
His debut release came in 1999 with the Premonitions EP on YNR, which he co-founded with Leeds hip-hop artist, Tommy Evans. His solo career extended further when he appeared on Task Force’s EP Voice of the Great Outdoors (2000) with the track ‘Cosmic Gypsies’, which resulted in a long time association with Low Life Records.