J Hus is an artist that needs little introduction. In just a few short years he has evolved from an unknown young MC to one of the most notorious and beloved UK musicians of this decade. From his early freestyles receiving viral praise from London’s youth, to his pioneering of the afroswing genre, Hus has become a key player in the UK rap scene over the last five years.
Following his release from prison in early 2019, fans have been patiently waiting for a new record from the 23 year old. As we wait on new music with bated breath, Acclaim is taking a deep dive on the artist known as J Hus (short for Hustler), highlighting some of his most career-defining moments to date.
Link Up TV – #Streetheat Freestyle (Nov 2014)
J Hus’s first appearance came in late 2014 in the form of a #StreetHeat freestyle on Link Up TV. At only 18-years-old, Hus had already begun to impress rap fans, with many OG J Hus fans still considering this to be one of his best freestyles with lines like, “I won’t beat around the bush, I’ll get my beater out the bush”.
GRM Daily – #Rated Freestyle (Dec 2014)
With his two previous freestyles garnering attention for his quick lyricism, J Hus took to GRM Daily a month later and used the opportunity to show a different side of his musical ability. Often credited as one of the first examples of the afroswing genre, this was simply a taste of what Hus was about to bring to UK Rap.
J Hus – ‘Dem Boy Paigon’ (Jan 2015)
Starting off 2015 with a splash, Hus dropped his first single ‘Dem Boy Paigon’ which—with the help of producers Blairy Hendrix and Joshua Beatz—secured Hus’s spot as the pioneering artist in the afroswing movement that would eventually become a staple sound in the UK music scene.
The genre fused elements of afrobeats, bashment, and trap, along with a melodic style of rapping and gritty lyrical themes derivative of road rap and UK drill. (Fun fact: ‘Dem Boy Paigon’ was the first track to hit one million views on the now infamous Mixtape Madness channel.)
J Hus – ‘No Lie’ (Feb 2015)
Just a month after ‘Dem Boy Paigon’, J Hus was on a roll and released his first music video for ‘No Lie’ to a hugely positive reaction. The track would further explore J Hus’s unique flows and implant an extremely addictive adlib—“UHHUHHUH!”—into the consciousness of rap fans across the UK.
Westwood TV Crib Sessions feat. MoStack (Mar 2015)
Less than six months after his first freestyle hit the internet, Hus was invited on the iconic Westwood TV channel for a ‘Crib Sessions’ cypher that featured fellow London rappers Villz and MoStack, who would go on to be a frequent collaborator of Hus’s and, well… MoStack.
J Hus feat DoccyDocs – ‘Lean & Bop’ (May 2015)
By mid 2015 Hus had truly leaned (and bopped) into the afroswing sound, dropping this seminal track produced by Ghanaian producer Jae5, who had met Hus at the beginning of his career after falling into trouble and being offered a space on a music production course in exchange for a reduction in probation time. Hus, who was on the same course, bonded with Jae5 there and the pair started writing music together. Since then, Hus has insisted that Jae5 works on every record he makes, and the two of them began to forge a sound that would take over the mainstream. The video currently sits at over 13 million plays on YouTube with many commenters suggesting that the accompanying dance to ‘Lean & Bop’ may have had some influence on Russ’s 2018 hit ‘Gun Lean’.
In September 2015, J Hus was admitted to hospital after being stabbed five times in London. Whilst in hospital, Hus was criticised for posting on Instagram a photo of him making a gang sign from his hospital bed with the message “5 stab wounds could never stop me”.
J Hus – ‘Friendly’ (Feb 2016)
A bunch of freestyles, fan interactions, and one mixtape later, J Hus returned with the 2016 banger ‘Friendly’ which—despite his Fanta having no “hice”—still earned him a 2016 MOBO Award nomination for being so damn cold. (Best song.)
Dave feat. J Hus – ‘Samantha’ (Jan 2017)
The rest of 2016 and early 2017 saw J Hus heralded as one of the hottest new artists in the UK, with the demand for a feature from him at an all time high. In the opening months of 2017, we saw Hustler jump on tracks with Nines, Stormzy, and on Santan Dave’s hugely popular track ‘Samantha’.
J Hus – ‘Did You See’ (Mar 2017)
By mid-2017, Hus had well and truly crossed into the mainstream with ‘Did You See’ reaching the number nine spot on the UK charts. With Jae5 on production duties (whose producer tag has now become synonymous with Hus’s opening bars) the now 20-year-old J Hus released his debut album Common Sense in May of 2017 to critical acclaim with Complex even crowning it the number one spot on the UK’s Best Albums of 2017.
He rounded the rest of the year out with singles ‘Common Sense’, ‘Spirit’, and ‘Bouff Daddy’ all taken from the album. Oh, and this year he did win the 2017 MOBO Award for best song with ‘Did You See’.
J Hus – ‘Did You See’ (Live from the BRITs Nominations Show Jan 2018)
Starting 2018 off with a performance of his huge single ‘Did You See’ at the BRIT Nominations show, Hus was at the top of his game at the tender age of 21, spending the first part of the year performing everywhere from festivals to award shows and radio sets. Notable appearances include this cover of 50 Cent’s ‘21 Questions’ at BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge.
J Hus – ‘Dancing Man’ (May 2018)
In May of 2018, J Hus dropped his follow up to Common Sense in the form of the Big Spang EP. According to a tweet from Hus, the three track EP was just a taste of a larger release, tweeting, “Hold tight till the album guys”.
Unfortunately the album never eventuated, because in June of 2018, he was arrested in Stratford and charged with carrying a knife in public. Hus appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court on 22 June and was released on bail. On 20 July, he pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea in October and in December was sentenced to eight months in jail.
Dave – ‘Disaster’ (Mar 2019)
Following his sentencing, Hus’s label stopped releasing any music, with his only verse whilst incarcerated being on ‘Disaster’, a track from collaborator Dave’s debut album Psychodrama, which debuted at number eight on the UK Singles Chart.
J Hus – ‘Daily Duppy’ (April 2019)
The same month as his release J Hus returned to his roots, dropping a second Daily Duppy on GRM Daily, the same channel he released his seminal #Rated freestyle on back in 2014. Fans rejoiced as Hus was finally back on the mic after a long stint away.
J Hus – ‘Must Be’ (Nov 2019)
Beyond a few features on tracks with grime OG Skepta, early collaborator MoStack, and the less than unexpected pairing of Ed Sheeran and Young Thug, Hus was quiet for almost seven months. Finally, in November Hus gave us a brand new single called ‘Must Be’, complete with Jae5’s sting at the start. The track is classic Hus, with Afroswing having become a signature sound in the UK scene, the now 23 year old shows the world how it’s done and leaves us wanting more. What’s next for Hus? We’ll just have to wait and see.
A throwback to 2015 when the internet went into a frenzy, mistaking the man in this video for J Hus. The video captured someone on CCTV hoverboarding into a London off-license and casually hover-boarding back out with a stolen case of Lucozade.
Hus took to social media to denounce these claims but the now legendary footage of not-really-hus has become something of an urban legend, with Lucozade references frequently showing up in the comments section of his videos to this day.
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