When J Hus drops, the world listens.
Whether you’ve heard his name or not, you’ve heard his music: In a bar in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, in a car outside a jol in Pretoria, or in an Instagram story that left you wanting more. That’s what he does – and that’s what his latest release, Big Conspiracy, brings.
J Hus always leaves you wanting more – but not always of his own volition. Those in the know were left fearful – J Hus was arrested in June 2018 for carrying a knife in public, and only resurfaced when Drake brought him out on his UK tour in April 2019.
The first-generation Brit with Gambian roots has been making a name for himself since 2015. But he’s been hustling before that – his name and aliases scattered across YouTube channels like Bl@ckBox and GRMDaily. J Hus goes by many names: Bouff Daddy, Hitman Likman, The Farda and most recently, Top Militérian. His evolution is evident in his latest release. It’s a reflective album, showcasing the sweeterman known as the father of Afroswing, and the spitter who’s consistently on greaze.
Your first listen of “Big Conspiracy” feels like you’re meeting a man who’s lived. References to friends serving time, his convictions when it comes to relationships, and his love of guns, leaves you feeling uneasy.
Your second listen feels like you’re getting to know a man formed by his environment, with his finger on the pulse of pop culture. Some songs are riddled with cultural references (“I’m Destiny’s Child/ Every day I survive”). Others reference darker times (“Anytime it’s a crisis/ We’re the strongest and the wisest”).
Your third listen reveals how pervasive J Hus has become since “Friendly” dropped in 2016. “Reckless” is an unbelievable song, and illustrates perfectly how ingrained in British culture he’s become. Frequent collaborator Dave had a key role in Netflix’s Top Boy. At one point Dave’s character, Modie, yells out “Daily Offender, Crazy Eastender”. In September 2019, four months before Big Conspiracy drops, Dave tweets: “by the way the daily offender crazy eastender is a j hus lyric so when you hear him say it know that came from him”.
However, he doesn’t keep the spotlight to himself. His album features Grammy-winning Reggae artist Koffee, Nigeria’s Burna Boy, and Jae5 – among others. Iceé tgm is a blessing on this album, and the newcomer’s warm vocals feature on the opening two tracks before J Hus gets greazy.
There’s moments of aggression, there’s moments of composure, and there’s moments of pure elation. If this is your first listen to J Hus, don’t let it be your last. His story is far from over, and in his own words: “I’m on this ting and they know I’m about it.”