This time last year, J Hus was just another 19 year-old East London college dropout with nothing to his name. In less than 12 months, he's become one of the most talked about new talents at the forefront of the current Grime resurgence.
Except J Hus can't be defined or confined by genre. Boasting an
ebullient blend of Dancehall, Afrobeat, Grime and R&B, his '15th Day'
mixtape is a musical revelation, an emotional rollercoaster ride into
the inner musings of an inner city teen and a startling debut offering.
A deftly delivered offering, the mixtape is filled with street rhymes streaked with an irrepressible sense of humour and lyrics laced with references to the likes of 50 Cent, Outkast, Beanie Man, TLC, JME and I-Wayne. "I'm everything you've heard before, and nothing you've ever heard before," grins the charismatic J Hus, who manages to be simultaneously shy and self-assured.
There are reflections on his earlier illegal endeavors to be found
within Hus's oeuvre, but they're deceptively delivered; the soundtrack
is so joyous that the suggestion of darkness, conveyed mostly through
Hus's persuasive flow, is a mere shadow lurking behind the upbeat beats.
It makes Hus a dichotomous proposition, but also an infinitely interesting one. His wordplay demonstrates a unpredictable sense of imagination which he pairs with an innate talent for crafting completely contagious hooks, particularly on tracks like 'Bangers & Mash' - about dating white girls - and 'Guns & Butter', an alternate perspective on crime that is intently serious, yet still manages to include mention of the Chuckle Bothers.
Released completely independently with no mainstream media or marketing, '15th Day' has already had over one million plays in just one month, while the videos for street anthems 'No Lie', 'Lean & Bop' and 'Dem Boys Paigon' have so far collectively amassed over 7 million plays on YouTube. His freestyles for Link Up TV, Charlie Sloth's 'Fire in the Booth', Westwood's 'Crib Sessions', '#StreetHeat' and the one that made him his name - 'Fli5star' - have clocked up over 6m plays to date.
As well as building an ever-growing online audience, Hus has also garnered support from Tim Westwood, Krept & Konan and Jamal Edwards, all of who feature in the video for 'Lean & Bop', J's first official release on Black Butter. An unabashed Afrobeat-accentuated party anthem, 'Lean & Bop' shows off Hus's more pop inflected persuasions.