Real name Momodou Jallow, Stratford-born rapper J Hus has set his sights on world domination. And with a Mercury (+BRIT, +MOBO) nominated debut album and a fair amount of stateside success already under his belt, all at the age of 22, it might not be too far-fetched. An infectious blend of grime, dancehall reggae and Afrobeats, his music is swiftly cementing his position as one of the UK’s most exciting rising acts. ASOS Magazine caught up with him for their 100th issue (out today) to talk about overcoming shyness, Stormzy and how music's shaped his life…
STYLE AND CULTURE
J HUS' STYLE FILE
By Style Feed Staff, 22 February 2018
What do people get wrong about you?
A lot of people expect me to be hyper because that’s what they see on YouTube, or whatever, but I don’t talk a lot because it’s like my mind is always ticking. I used to go for walks a lot. Anywhere green. My friends thought it was weird, but it allowed me to think. It’s like therapy. I haven’t done it for so long now, but before I was J Hus, I would walk for hours just to clear my head.
Why is music so important to you?
Someone will say something and just one word will just stick into me. It’s sick what you can create from just one word or thought. I was shy – I still can be – but it’s weird, when I rap my shyness disappears.
Why do you think your music’s been such a success?
I brought something fresh to the game, something unique, but at the same time, it’s relatable. I feel like I’m a proper part of the game now. I feel like a proper musician, a proper rapper. I think I’ve proved that I’m here to last.
How have your experiences influenced your music?
You learn from your mistakes. [Going to prison] was good for me because it made me really realise how much I was taking it [life] for granted and how much I wanted to do the music. Music has shown me I have potential, that I can do something with my life, that I have a talent. Who I was before, that’s not me. I’m fun, I’m happy, I’m creative. That’s me.
Why is it a good time for UK rap right now?
I compare it to America, we’re a baby America. The UK rap scene now is where 90s hip-hop was. We’re still coming up; we’re just getting started. It’s coming slowly, I can see it coming. I’m 50 Cent. I’m 50 and Stormzy’s Jay-Z, and Lethal is P Diddy!
I always try to be different in everything that I do. I embrace myself and push my culture forward. In 2017, I showed people what I can do, but for 2018, I want world domination, I want to take over the world. So that’s what I’m going to do.
J Hus’ Mercury Prize-nominated album Common Sense is out now via Black Butter Records.