by Robert Apps-Hoare
Photo credit: J Hus Facebook.
2017 has been a breakout year for J Hus. He scored a notable feature on Stormzy’s UK #1 debut album, he teamed up with fellow new boy Dave for the cult hit Samantha, and he hit the top 10 of the singles chart with Did You See. And then he silenced the critics and doubters with his own debut LP, Common Sense, which seemed to epitomise everything about his burgeoning new sound. J Hus is not entirely a rapper, not quite a singer, but somewhere in between the two. His tracks merge elements of hip hop, R&B and Afrobeat to create something that both blends in with his British contemporaries as well as stands out in its own right.
It’s hard to shake the feeling that the Stratford boy has come of age at just the right time, with the UK increasingly looking inwards to find its new rap and R&B stars, rather than persistently glancing across the Atlantic. J Hus’ feature on Stormzy’s Gang Signs & Prayer meant that he had a historic part to play in British hip hop’s first ever album chart topper, and that success means it’s not so hard to visualise the 21-year-old pulling off a similar feat in the not-too-distant future. But J Hus also stands to benefit from a wider, global surge of interest in African-influenced popular music. The idea that we might see more rappers taking a leaf from the book of Common Sense in years to come is not too far-fetched at all.
Being 21 years old myself, I’m never entirely comfortable witnessing a young star like this one – just a month and a half older than I – tearing up the national music scene with such vigour, while I potter along through my university corridors. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it is certainly exciting. On the 1st November 2017, J Hus visits Bristol’s O2 Academy, which with any luck will be among the first of many smash headline shows in his career. If you want to see this UK star while he’s still fresh faced, this gig is one not to be missed.