J Hus

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J Hus, a Londoner of Gambian heritage, is a major presence in the U.K. rap scene as well as a pioneer of Afroswing, a distinctive blend of dancehall, grime, Auto-Tune-laced R&B, and Afro-beats. After establishing himself in 2015 with a series of freestyles and early singles, such as the heavily streamed “Lean & Bop,” he broke through with his 2017 debut full-length, Common Sense, which hit the U.K. Top Ten and earned a shower of critical acclaim, garnering a Mercury Prize nomination, among other accolades. His 2020 follow-up, Big Conspiracy, was an even greater success, topping the U.K. album chart and featuring the Top Five single “Must Be.” His third full-length was previewed by the 2023 singles “It’s Crazy” and the Drake collaboration “Who Told You.”
Momodou Jallow was born and raised in Stratford, London by his single mother. Influenced by 50 Cent, he began rapping, and went professional thanks to the help of two friends, who formed 2K Management. In 2015, they recorded a handful of demos and uploaded them to the Web, cut the single “So Paranoid” with London rapper MoStack, and uploaded a set of videos, including “Dem Boy Paigon.” The latter was an instant street hit and quickly earned over a million views. J Hus then dropped his debut mixtape, The 15th Day, as well as the non-album single “Lean & Bop” (his first release on Sony imprint Black Butter Records), which was streamed several million times. J Hus began 2016 with the single “Friendly,” and the three-song Playing Sports EP soon followed.
The burgeoning star had a busy year in 2017, as he featured on the Nines track “High Roller” and Dave’s hit “Samantha,” as well as Stormzy’s “Bad Boys” from his hugely successful Gang Signs & Prayer record. In May 2017, Hus released his debut LP, Common Sense, which featured guest spots from MoStack, Burna Boy, Tiggs Da Author, and MIST. The album was recognized with a Mercury Prize nomination that same year; in 2018, it won Best Album at the NME Awards, and garnered the rapper three Brit Award nominations.
J Hus followed his breakthrough success with the 2018 EP Big Spang. Later that year, he was arrested for carrying a six-inch knife in public and was incarcerated for eight months. The day of his release in April 2019, he made a surprise appearance on-stage at a Drake show. Making up for lost time, J Hus quickly got to work, and by year’s end had begun issuing singles from his next album. Released in early 2020, Big Conspiracy featured guest spots from Burna Boy, Koffee, and newcomer iceè tgm. The album topped the U.K. charts and was a major critical success. Apart from an appearance on Burna Boy’s Love, Damini in 2022, J Hus was largely quiet until 2023, when he released the single “It’s Crazy.” The song reached number 15 on the U.K. pop chart. He then collaborated with Drake on the song “Who Told You,” building further anticipation for his third album. ~ David Jeffries & Paul Simpson