This article was first published on July 10, 2017
Momodou Jallow is a British born genre bending singer and rapper of Gambian descent, better known as rapidly rising J Hus. The 21-year-old has already collaborated with high profiled British MC’s Stormzy, Nines and Dave, to mention a few, and fully broke through as a solo artist with the hit single “Did You See” earlier this year. In May he followed up with his debut full length, critically acclaimed Common Sense.
Pitchfork described the album as “the best of grime, Afrobeat, dancehall, and early ’00s hip-hop into a vibrant, wholly unique sound”, and this boundary-dancing playfulness is unquestionably one of J Hus most striking qualities.
London, the southern and eastern parts in particular, has for a long time been an artistic hub for urban globetrotting, and this scope is an aspect that makes J Hus a poster-boy for the sound of 2017. His flawless flirting with different cultures, including Jamaica, Ghana, London and Atlanta, would almost be unheard of just a couple years back. Now, this is the direction to the future of music.
J Hus has gone a long way towards this status. He was a name to watch already back in 2015, when he caught a buzz with the break-out track “Dem Boy Paigon” and mixtape The 15th Day. On a sour note, that same year he was stabbed multiple times and sparked a fury while “making gang signs from the hospital bed” according to British press.
He was tipped by the BBC in its Sound of 2016 list, and has constantly been in the limelight for the last couple of years – at least among the insiders of the scene. Without compromise and no sense of debutant nerves, Common Sense is a remarkable strong debut from a young, skilled and confident artist set for worldwide domination.
Who is J Hus?
I’m everything you’ve heard before, and nothing you’ve ever heard before…
Tell us a little about your recent album debut Common Sense. What do we get and what’s it about?
It’s a big mix of a lot of things; there’s rap on there, afro beat, bashment, some ballads, even a little garage. The opening track, “Common Sense”, is a statement for me. I wanted to start the album very confidently, 100%. People often think of me as a singer, and I wanted to reaffirm myself as a rapper. I’ve got bars!
Who are your musical heroes?
I love 50 Cent, he’s been a massive inspiration of mine, from Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, which is one of the first albums I ever bought and listened to from start to finish.
When and how did you first get into music?
I always used to freestyle infront of the mandem but didn’t take music serious. 2014 I sat down in the car with one of my managers and spoke about taking it properly. Then started dropping freestyles, which people were feeling. Tried to put character in the freestyles, do and say things rappers wasn’t doing.
Name an album, artist or experience that changed your perspective on music?
50 Cent – Get Rich Or Die Tryin’,
What’s the best new song you recently discovered?
Mr Eazi – “Leg Over”
Can you share a fun fact about you or your music?
You don’t know what to expect
What’s your favorite activity besides music?
I love boxing, I’m gonna take it up properly soon and get real hench.
What’s coming next for J Hus?
I’m still just grinding in the studio. Even since I finished the album, I’ve been recording more songs with my partner Jae5. I’ve got at least one EP’s worth of music ready to go, and loads more to come. I just wanna keep surprising people. I’m never satisfied, I always want more.
Looking one year ahead, where would you like to see yourself?
Want to still be the same J Hus but advancing in my music and still the most diverse. Hopefully I can achieve much more next year and continue just getting better and better.
Finally, if your music was a car what would it be?