J Hus previously warned us “Don’t think I’m shy cos I’m quiet, I’m just plotting and plotting” from his song ‘Plottin’ released with his 2017 debut album ‘Common Sense’. Whilst we were given some featured verses from songs and an EP in between the first album and now, it’s pretty much been quiet from East London’s finest. It is no secret that in this break Hus has had his fair share of ups and downs, but one thing is for sure, this break has not affected his talent. This break has been a build up for his highly anticipated second album.
When it comes to second albums, personally I believe that for an artist, it’s usually one of the most important projects of their career. If they were lucky enough to have had a critically acclaimed debut album, it’s always hard releasing a second one without the pressure and people constantly comparing the two. If they didn’t do so well with the first, then they have even more to prove. It’s a catch 22. For Hus, it was the first dilemma; his first album “Common Sense” (2017) is a critically acclaimed album that has even been certified gold. The question from most people was “How was he going to top this?”. I think it is unfair to compare both albums, they are both very different, the first demonstrated the rawness and fire we know Hus embodies. It was a chance for the rest of the world to hear what he was about and for him to show how unique he was.
This second album demonstrates all the lessons learnt, all the pain felt, all the knowledge learnt, put into a body of work for us to soak up and digest. You get more of a sense of J Hus as a person in this album, we are shown his intelligence and what drives him more in this project. I would say one of the key words of this album would be ‘versatility’. It is extremely clear at this point that Hus has carved his own lane in the UK scene. It certainly feels like this young man we hear on his second album is a regenerated, reborn J Hus, ‘J Hus 2.0’ you could say. Hus reflects on his culture, surroundings, peers as well as his battles and challenges. He does all this in a mature way without compromising his unique sound or being afraid to experiment and flirt with different genres. It’s crazy to think that this music is coming from a 23 year old considering all he has experienced and the knowledge he shares. It feels as if this album is a documentation of the journey Hus has gone through to find himself.
It is worth giving honourable mentions to the producers on this album because the production on these songs is out of this world. We are used to J Hus merging with the genius that is JAE5 to produce regular hits, but it was very nice also hearing Hus with other talented producers TSB and IO. This album felt like a nice fusion of everyone’s best work.
J Hus is someone that constantly proves how talented he is and every single song on this album has a quotable line. Another unique thing about Hus is that sometimes it feels as if songs are ‘him featuring himself’ simply due to the fact he is that versatile. These are part of the reasons why I would say J Hus is my favourite UK artist. He is constantly pushing boundaries and expectations and it seems his talent has no expiry date. Regardless of what your taste is, there is no doubt that this album is a work of art. J Hus and his team seem to be deservedly hitting peaks some can only dream of. This is a prime example that talent and hard work always wins in the end.
Side Note: I can’t remember if the leak nonsense came out before the album title and album cover design but I love how “Piracy” in the title name was underlined. Intentional or not, I love the irony of the situation. A further point to add is that despite the few that tried to ruin it for the rest of us, it shows how loved J Hus is that his fans refused to listen to leaks and wanted to wait for the actual release date. It was certainly worth the wait.
Here are some key tracks for me;
- Big Conspiracy Ft. iceè tgm- The first song and title track did a great job preparing us for the tone of the rest of the album. iceè tgm’s vocals on this are so soothing too.
- Fight for Your Right – “How do you sleep at night when you don’t even fight for your life?”. This song is a food for thought.
- Triumph – This is my second favourite song on the album. The percussion instruments and production (of course produced by the legend that is JAE5), the mixture of flow, the lyrics, everything works on this. This is the kind of song I would love to hear live.
- Play Play Ft. Burna Boy – This is now the 3rd song these two have released together and yet again the pair prove they are unstoppable.
- Cucumber – I’ve been singing “How you make being sexy look easy” since this dropped! I feel there should be a dance move for this song somehow. Such a banger!
- Reckless – Finally the song has been released with the infamous lines; “Daily offender, crazy Eastender”. haha
- No Denying – I love hearing Hus on a beat that isn’t his usual sound, this solidified the fact that he was versatile for me.
- Must Be – 100% my favourite song on this album. This song is the definition of a work of art. For me this song reminds me of a modern version of highlife music. The combination of Hus and his witty wordplay, his changing flow and the instruments in the background proves to me that this is possibly one of his best songs as a whole to date. This song needs to be performed live with a live orchestra to give it the credit it deserves.
- Love, Peace and Prosperity – I like how J Hus left his two big meaningful songs to the end of the album. He sings; “I live a street life and I sing a melody, they wan’ see me go mad and lose my sanity”. This kind of self awareness is further indication of his growth.
- Deeper than Rap – This is a stripped-back song that bares all. The title of the song is fitting as Hus reflects on race, culture, colourism, religion, depression and the streets. For me this song proves the growth that J Hus has gone through and is a big food for thought for anyone listening. A beautiful way to end an incredible album.
Have a listen below! 🙂