J Hus: “Having a difficult life is not really an excuse”
J Hus is a 22 year-old rapper straight outta East-London. He describes himself as being very diverse, mixing singing and rapping through a mix of genres, from afrobeat and dancehall to grime. He started his career by recording multiple freestyles and released a variety of singles, but his real breakthrough came when he released his debut album Common Sense. Back in May, when the album was released, it immediately peaked at number 6 in the UK charts. A day after the release he signed to Epic Records, a American record label featuring artists like Future, 21 Savage, Travis Scott and Busta Rhymes.
Last week J Hus triumphed at the Rated Awards 2017 by winning the price for Best Album and Best Track. With two awards to take home, he had as much to carry as Stormzy, the only other artist that night to win twice. Bearing all that in mind, and knowing the fact that he also featured on Stormzy’s recent album for the track Bad Boys, we could say that J Hus is becoming one of the big boys of the UK scene. However: he wants more. He doesn’t only want to prove that he’s the most diverse artist of the UK, he wants to first become thé sound of the UK and conquer the rest of the world later.
If you want to see J Hus perform live, you can do so very soon. He is coming to All Eyes on Hip Hop on the 18th of November at Vk Concerts in Brussels.
WIN WIN WIN! We have a couple of original J-Hus hats to give away. Share this interview publicly on Facebook, tag @chasemusicbe and maybe you’re one of the lucky winners.
I’ve read you don’t like to think in genres, so how would you describe your music without putting it into a certain box?
My music is everything you’ve heard before and nothing you’ve heard before at the same time. I’ve got a lot of influences but I remake and put together all the sounds that I like. I make something new out of all the things I pick up.
First of all, tell us about the album Common Sense. How was it created?
It took me about four months to finish all the lyrics. I just sat down and wrote down everything I’ve done and anything I could think of. I didn’t use literal experiences but I’ve tried to reflect on my life in the best way. I wanted to create music that I would listen to and enjoy myself. Meanwhile I wanted to proof that I am the most diverse artist in the UK. I wanted to use all kinds of different sounds but at the same time keep loyal to the J Hus that my fans listened to and loved.
I don't want to say I anticipated the succes of the album, but I've prayed for it.
Four months, that’s pretty quick to finish a complete album. Don’t you think so?
I guess so, but that’s how I move. I make music so frequently that I finished the album so quickly.
Had you anticipated the succes of the album?
I don’t want to say that I expected it because you can never really know, but after all the work I’ve put in, I definitely hoped for it. I’ve prayed for it. I’ve put in so much work, so I wanted it to be something. But ieven if I hadn't gotten this far, I would still keep making tracks.
Common Sense was nominated for the Mercury Music price, alongside big names like Alt-J and Ed Sheeran... But also Skepta! Have you met him before?
I haven’t worked with Skepta yet, but I’ve done shows and other things with him. For me it feels like he is an example. He is someone older that I can look up to. Skepta has been in the business for so long. He was there way before I started and he is still out there. Plus: he’s a cool guy! I can always ask him anything.
Do you think about the golden record for your single ‘Did You See’ as some sort of confirmation? Do you feel like you've made it?
I will never feel like I've made it because I will always want more. I don’t really have an end goal but I do want to be the biggest in the UK. And once I get there, I know that there will always be something else I want to keep fighting for. I just want to keep striving and keep grinding if you askin’!
So I would like to go back in time and find out how you started rapping. I’ve read something about playground rapping?
I have been into music since I was like 4 or 5 years old. I’ve been writing lyrics my whole life, even though I never really knew what I was doing. I always thought it was fun, but I never wanted to be a professional musician. It wasn't until the end of 2014 that I realized that this is what I wanted to do.
But I've heard there was a moment you almost quit music?
There have been certain moments I thought I wanted to quit, that’s how it is. But I know I would never really give up my music. It is just something I say when I’m really frustrated.
So what are the things that keep you going?
Just my friends and my family. I know they are relying on me and I need to make it for them. They have always supported me and they want me to do well. That’s what I do it all for.
Or spirit, like your song…
Even with all the money and everything, there are always some hard situations you come across and the most important thing is to always have spirit. Hold your head high. I made that song to motivate my peers.
Would you describe your past life as difficult or hard? I am referring to some past events, in which you got stabbed and ended up in prison.
I feel like everyone has got a difficult life. So I can’t really complain, I have to keep striving and keep going. There is no way you can not make it if you work hard like this. Having a difficult life is not really an excuse.
You will perform in Belgium on the 18th of november, how do you feel about that?
I always look forward to perform anywhere I go, so I’m always excited. It'll be my first time in Belgium though, and I know that my music is going up in Belgium as well. However, I honestly don’t know what to expect, I just hope to set a very good performance for my first time in Belgium. I love performing abroad and seeing how far my music has travelled. That gives me a great feeling. I would love to travel the rest of Europe and next the rest of the world and see the same thing.
I still feel like I haven’t conquered the UK yet. The rest of the world will follow once I 'm done with that.
Is Europe your first step in conquering the world?
First I want to conquer the rest of Europe, next up are Africa and America. But I still feel like I haven’t conquered the UK yet. I still want to conquer the UK first, that’s the plan. The rest of the world will follow once I conquered the UK. For that I need my music to become the sound of the country. I want to be the UK’s number one artist and I want my music to become the music you automatically connect to the UK.
Is there something you want to tell the people who are still in doubt about buying a ticket for your Belgian show or not?
They shouldn’t be in doubt, they should a 100% buy a ticket! They should never doubt to go to a party! (laughs)
All new articles
Discovering dub culture and its influence on music at Couleur CaféDub: it’s something everybody knows but on the other hand, nobody truly knows. It’s a culture and music that is embedded throughout society in various ways which had a big influence on music and still does today. Dub music founded its roots on the Caribbean island Jamaica, yes that country where Bob Marley was born. What not so many people know is that this is also kind of the place where the roots of hip-hop and many other genres and musical traditions were born. Since then it has spread out over the world and established itself as a subculture with a broad following. We sat down with the guys from Roots Corner sound system at Couleur Café who hosted their very own dub corner stage with their soundsystem for three days straight. Discover all about dub music, the culture and its influence in this article!
The most colourful people at Couleur CaféLast weekend we went to Couleur Café with our Chase team. Couleur Café is not only a festival to discover great new music, food, graffiti art and all that good stuff, but also a festival to discover new people. It might be weird to describe, but it is a festival where people come together with an open mind. Once you walk past the Atomium, you enter a place where people are ought to be themselves and do whatever they want, well almost whatever they want… A place for kids, youngsters, hipsters, people of age, Rastafari, parents and so on! Everybody is welcome. We wanted to meet some of these people and tried to find five of the most colorful people at Couleur Café. Or at least some of the most Colorful since everybody is a bit crazy in their own positive way there!
How the Levi’s 501 Managed to Become a Style Icon
Over the last 145 years, Levi’s has been creating a huge legacy within the fashion and denim industry. The brand effortlessly embedded itself at the heart of subcultures and communities. Pioneer of denim, Levi’s managed to set itself apart from its competitors by creating an iconic silhouette lasting through...
5 clothing brands that are both fashionable and sustainableOrganizations all over the world are taking action in the battle against pollution and unfair working conditions. Especially fashion labels are stepping up their game. We selected five clothing brands that not only look good, but also make you feel good. We bet they’ll make you want to immediately ditch your current shopping habits.
Discover the new Niveau4 team at Couleur Café 2018In 2016, Couleur Café founded Niveau4: a unique show featuring the most promising rappers from Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia. Upcoming young performers get the chance to go all out on stage for a big crowd. Through Niveau4, the big audience got to know artists who are now at the top of Belgian hip hop charts. We're thinking of Coely, Roméo Elvis, Stikstof, ... This year, the festival presents the third edition of Niveau4 with six up and coming Belhop acts.
Travel to New York through our Instagram takeover by photographer Sacha Claes
The Hasselt-based video- and photographer Sacha Claes brings along his camera wherever he goes. In his portfolio you’ll find colourful pictures he took on various trips. For his Instagram takeover he shared 7 shots he took in New York City. Past winter he paid a memorable visit to the Big Apple. Discover more about Sacha and his trip to the most notorious city in his takeover.
Fire is Gold festival’s new unisex hoodies collectionThe new unisex hoodie collection of the music, sports and fashion festival Fire is Gold is here, and it’s lit. Literally. The overall color/theme is yellow, the color of flames (and probably closest to gold) and the FiG logo all over the sleeves. The sweaters come in black too if yellow isn't your thing.
Desperados DIY Sound Stage with KiNK
We know Desperados as the world’s first Tequila Flavoured Beer. Many of us sip a couple of chilled Desperados during hot summer nights or maybe at a club with friends. It doesn’t matter where you drink it, with Desperados you can turn any place into a party. With that sprit in mind, the beer brand invited up to 300 party people to an old sugar factory in Amsterdam.
Meet 21-year old producer Messoins, the brain behind YouTube series #JourneyOfABeatMusic and storytelling: its a match made in heaven for Arsène Rurangiza aka music producer and composer Messoins. He makes the art of producing beats look easy in his YouTube series Journey of a Beat. Messoins takes his viewers on a musical journey during which he explains step-by-step how he produced a certain beat. The digital music composer takes his beatmaking videos to the next level by inviting artists for each session. They write lyrics to his beats and perform the song live at the end of the video. Messoins manges to compress this whole process into easy-to-watch 5-minute videos.
5 New Belgian Hip-Hop Tracks You Should Check OutWe’re back with your weekly update of new Belgian hip-hop tracks. This week we’re presenting debut singles from 3C1P and MVNSI, some funky beats by JTOTHEC and Kunde. And to top off: another release from the notorious Brussels hip-hop duo Caballero & JeanJass featuring their pal Roméo Elvis
Relaas x Enchanté: een Gentse verhalenavond voor en door kansarmen
Een kop koffie, een fris glas cola of gezellig uit eten gaan; het lijken evidenties, maar zijn dat bijlange niet voor iedereen. In Vlaanderen zijn er heel wat mensen die niet kunnen delen in onze comforten zoals knusse koffiebars en hippe restaurants. De twee Gentse non-profit organisaties Relaas en Enchanté slaan de handen in elkaar om mensen die er nood aan hebben bij te staan.