J Hus Common Sense Black Butter
Having soundtracked Snapchat stories and turned Uber journeys into parties everywhere, J Hus has made a name for himself as an underground anthem factory to rival pop’s industry-tailored heavy hitters. Positioning himself somewhere between the now-mainstream grime industry and the exploding new wave of UK afrobeats, J Hus has caught a buzz with his 2015 mixtape The 15th Day, singles like Lean & Bop and a Stormzy collab. For those paying attention to the best new British music, this debut album comes with a fair bit of expectation.
Half-rapping, half-singing, the Stratford artist first secured a hungry fanbase following his early freestyles in 2014. Along with those memorable, sugary hooks that flipped TLC, Hus’s success is thanks partly to long-time collaborator Jae 5, whose production stamp runs throughout almost all of Common Sense. Together they’ve created a sound that’s hard to categorise — drawing parallels with the ‘wot do u call it’ debate around early grime. Common Sense is a notably polished album which pairs joyous dancehall (Bouf Daddy) with bashment and even smooth G-funk swagger, with decadent flourishes in the form of trumpet solos and sparkling piano chords. Drill track Clartin proves that Hus can give most grime MCs a run for their money, while Plottin lets us glimpse his garage flow (which, by the way, is water-tight).
We could’ve put money on his choice of guests; Mist, MoStack, Burna Boy – but this isn’t an album which relies on features. Lyrically, Hus flits between the comical and contemplative, favouring cute, funny lyrics (‘My pockets ain’t fat, they just big boned’). Lines about Capri Suns and big bootys in jacuzzis act as a foil for the more serious subject matter (‘Standing on a gold mine/ It might be a land mine’). Hus addresses his shoplifting past, makes some top boasts about getting paper, and lays down gloriously unsubtle bars about getting between the sheets.
Get familiar with a set of soon-to-be classics you’ll need to have on your phone in time for Carnival.