Words: Yemi Abiade

It came out of the blue, but J Hus dropped his surprise EP Big Spang two weeks ago to the delight of the UK music scene. Although he had been teasing new music for the longest, the drop was a welcoming statement of intent. Arriving with it was a simply executed visual of Hus in the studio with go-to producer JAE5, as he spat over the instrumental for EP cut “Scene”. Brimming with energy and charisma, he was restless in his delivery, seemingly urgent to share the music with the world, with his hands gyrating with purpose as he made himself ready for the next step in his burgeoning career.

Since 2015’s The 15th Day mixtape, the Bouff Daddy hasn’t stopped winning, moulding Afrobeats, grime and UK rap to produce incredibly authentic music in such a way that genuinely singles him out as a one of one. In a landscape where genre buzzwords such as Afroswing and Afrobashment persist, Hus can count Yxng Bane, Not3s, Kojo Funds and more as contemporaries, and while they more or less cover the same manner of content and themes, there is something wholly different about him that elevates him just a level above the rest. The only thing I can compare it to is the prestige of Beyoncé, who holds an almost god-like position in the pop world compared to the Taylor Swifts, Katy Perrys and Rihannas of her day. Hus fits that same pocket through his incredibly magnetic personality, musical ear, vocal delivery and star-making hooks that instantly stick. He is a true enigma, not exactly out and about schmoozing with other artists but working harder than the rest in honing his abilities into truly gravitating music. Almost as if he isn’t searching for the adulation, he lets the music do the talking, and the music is so dynamic that it tells a million stories about him.

2017 was undoubtedly Hus’ breakout year, and debut LP Common Sense was arguably the best the UK produced that year. In it, he offered up all four corners of himself: the cocksure, showy poser; the delicate, seductive ladies’ man; the aggressive badman ready for war at a moment’s notice; and the introspective, accountable gentleman. Balancing each throughout the project, he exhibited all the makings of a breakout, new-age pop star not restricted by the formulaic make-up of pop, as well as gaining respect for his lyricism and adoration for the bangers. He negotiates his position to perfection, able to turn out a memorable passage on hardcore tracks like Stormzy’s “Bad Boys” and Nines’ “High Roller” or keep it super-lowkey and seductive on Krept & Konan’s “Get A Stack”, proving to be the go-to guy for musical flavour. With this, his magnetic field gravitates his contemporaries towards him, almost without trying.

J Hus has improved in a little over a year, compressing his endearing qualities into just three songs. Big Spang opener “Dark Vader”—contender for song of the summer—consists of a tropical, danceable instrumental as is JAE5’s talent, and Hus boasts with a mesmeric appeal; you actually believe him when he says: “If I can’t have you, nobody can, bait face so they all know who I am.” Maintaining balance throughout, he humbles himself by giving all praises to God, grounding his otherwise otherworldly persona. On “Scene”, Hus is direct and ominous as he depicts wiping his opps off the face of the earth, in what is essentially melodic, off-kilter gangster rap. Only he could make this sound so uniquely appealing, and the believability factor is present once again as he describes this coming summer as “pull up season, every disco, every fashion show, every barbecue, we deya.” “Dancing Man”, a sultry, lowkey vibe concludes Big Spang, and Hus is truly in his pocket, crooning as he describes his powers to “cause a commotion”, and on the scene, he most definitely has.

Not once throughout the EP does J Hus’ credibility wane because he’s perfected each of his personas, able to switch from one to the other with ease. It’s a skill many artists take years to perfect—if they’re lucky enough to—but just a couple of years into music, Hus has passed with flying colours. This is enough of a factor determining that he can’t be bunched into the current generation of singer-rappers in the UK because he approaches and executes his art in a way that is not comparable. There’s no uniform formula to making music it seems, because Hus has command of so many different qualities and the results tend to always be worthwhile, forward thinking, and altogether original. One of the poster boys of current UK music, Momodou Jallow may well be the most dynamic we’ve seen yet.

Posted on June 12, 2018