J Hus has finally announced the release date for his highly anticipated third studio album, Beautiful And Brutal Yard, due out on July 14. Beautiful And Brutal Yard contains Naira Marley, Jorja Smith, Burna Boy, Popcaan, as well as the previously released “Who Told You” featuring Drake. J Hus may be only 28 years old, but his music has proven to be influential on the UK scene and impactful on a global scale. The Afroswing subgenre that he helped pioneer propelled modern afrobeats into becoming one of the biggest sounds in pop music, completely reshaping the UK rap scene.
One of the UK’s most versatile artists, J Hus’s albums combine an eclectic mix of genres, including afro swing, dancehall, hip hop, and UK garage. So far, there have been two singles from Beautiful and Brutal Yard: the pulsing “It’s Crazy” and the groovy “Who Told You.” Based on what we have heard so far, it is safe to assume that Hus’s new album will be varied and not at all disappointing.
To commemorate J Hus’s return and forthcoming release, we compiled a list ranking his top 5 best songs. Drawing from his two previous studio albums, which are both widely considered classics, the selections are ranked from least greatest to greatest. Take a look at the list below.
5. "Helicopter" feat. iceé tgm (2020)
“Helicopter” is one of many highlights from J Hus’s previous album, 2020’s Big Conspiracy. The song ominously builds into a TSB-produced blend of hip-hop and afrobeats. In the lyrics, Hus paints vivid images of feds in a helicopter. He even gets metaphorical when he raps, “I’ve seen pigs fly but I’ve never seen a unicorn.” The minimal production of “Helicopter” goes along with the depictions in the song’s content. Iceé tgm, J Hus’s sister who also appears on Big Conspiracy’s title track, dazzles with a catchy chorus.
4. "Deeper Than Rap" (2020)
“Deeper Than Rap” is possibly J Hus’s best rap performance ever. He may be known for his melodic Afroswing anthems and catchy road raps, but this song sees him being more vulnerable than ever. Over a soothing yet epic instrumental, J Hus is at his most introspective as he reflects on his time in prison. He also speaks to subjects of systemic racism, colorism, and his own internal struggles.
3. "Play Play" feat. Burna Boy (2020)
J Hus and Burna Boy have collaborated numerous times, including on “Good Time,” “Sekkle Down,” and “Cloak & Dagger.” While they have a history of making a banger every time they link, “Play Play” is easily their greatest collaboration. It may be more relaxed than their previous tracks, but the song’s slow rhythm plays to both of their strengths.
Over a Jae5-produced beat that feels like summer, Burna Boy provides his catchy choruses that never fail to get stuck in one’s head. In his verses, J Hus weaves in metaphors that allude to weapons in a sexual manner, a concept that Burna Boy also sticks to. It makes for clever wordplay and results in an irresistible hit. Songs like this set high hopes for J Hus and Burna Boy’s forthcoming collaboration. “Play Play” is one of the major hits from Big Conspiracy, currently certified gold and peaking at No. 7 on the UK R&B charts.
2. "Did You See" (2017)
“Did You See” is easily J Hus’s biggest hit and just might be the biggest song to come from the entire Afroswing movement. The simple yet bouncy rhythm established the chemistry between J Hus and Jae5. It allows Hus to shine with his wit and charisma. J Hus floats over the instrumental, rapping melodically about his effortless swag with unique slang. On the hook, he boasts, “Did you see what I done? Came in a black Benz, left in a white one.”
Almost every part of the song is catchy and is almost impossible not to dance or sing along to when it comes on. “Did You See” has become a UK classic and one of the most impactful songs of the Afroswing subgenre. It is an undeniable hit that remains J Hus’s biggest song to date, peaking at No. 9 on the overall UK charts. It is now certified 3x platinum.
1. "Common Sense" (2017)
“Common Sense” is the ultimate intro to J Hus’s debut album of the same name. Jae5 handles the vintage yet modern-sounding hip-hop beat that allows for J Hus to make his grand entrance. J Hus switches between rapping and singing, showing his versatility. He changes between flows, sounding hungrier than ever. While it may not be the signature melodic Afroswing sound that he is known for, “Common Sense” is still quintessentially J Hus. The bars are humorous and braggadocious. “Common Sense” introduced the world to J Hus’s unique rapping style and culture that has since taken over the UK. The song peaked at No. 12 on the UK R&B charts and is currently certified silver.