Black Butter Limited / Epic
Black Butter Limited / Epic

The past few years has seen an insurgence of rap imports from the U.K., as grime and Afro-beat both continue to gain strongholds within the borders of the U.S. One Brit that has been able to find success stateside is J Hus, a rising rapper who has quickly built a reputation as one of the more promising artists from his homeland.

J Hus showed his potential to become an international star since first coming to prominence in 2015, with his single "Dem Boy Paigon." Marrying the MC's lyrical style with a lively Afro-beat production, "Dem Boy Paigon" would be followed with the additional fan favorites "Lean & Bop" and "Friendly," as well as his debut project, The 15th Day, which would further ingratiate J Hus to the public.

In May, the rapper took his hustle major by inking a deal with Epic Records. J Hus looks to establish himself as the latest rapper from London to resonate with rap fans stateside with his debut album, Common Sense.

Kicking the album with its title track, J Hus quickly takes the bulls by the horns, rhyming over a grand production, courtesy of boardsmen Mark Crown, JAE5 and The Compozers. Powered by keyboards, guitars and drums and peppered with synths, organs and horns, the track is a refined composition, which J Hus navigates over with finesse. "Doing styles on them like it's common sense/Hopped out the Benz like it's common sense," he raps, as he basks in the glory of his aura. Serving up a bit of self-deprecation in the mold of a certain Notorious one with the line "J Hus ugly, innit, baby, one minute/Your bunda looking wicked," J Hus is locked in gear on "Common Sense," a selection that begins his debut album on a high note.

Enlisting producer JAE5 to contribute the track "Bouff Daddy" (he helms the boards for a majority of the songs on Common Sense), J Hus gets his flex on as he positions himself as a lady-stealing Casanova, before getting grisly on "Clartin," a menacing number that finds the Epic Records signee in a trigger-happy craze. "Clartin it off, clartin it off/My friend wan' bang, my friend wann' bang, so I start passin' it off," J Hus barks on the hook, while warning the opposition not to be deceived by his boyish looks and underestimate his appetite for violence. This is a testament to the rapper's ties to the U.K. streets, which came to the forefront in 2015, when Hus was hospitalized after being stabbed five times in London.

Although J Hus is capable of aggressive tunes catering to the concrete jungle, "Closed Doors," an acoustic guitar and piano-laden inclusion on Common Sense, showcases J Hus' more sensual side. The rapper lays his mack down with flirtatious lines like, "You wanna see somethin'/Boom boom chat, I'll give you sweet lovin'/I'll beat the box, whilst I'm beatboxin'/Still round one, and you ain't seen nuttin'."

The yearning for relations and companionship continues on "Like Your Style," another lady-friendly offering, as it does on "Fisherman," which finds J Hus celebrating life alongside costars MIST and MoStack, with all three shunning long-term relationships, over quaint, Afro-beat grooves, supplied by Steel Banglez and JAE5.

Common Sense captures J Hus spending a majority of his time boasting of his wealth and entertaining women with an occasional idle threat thrown in for good measure, however, he focuses his efforts on motivating the people with the inspirational standout "Spirit." "Even when we never had a penny, yeah, we always had spirit/They can bun my flesh, but they can't touch my spirit," the Gambian MC proclaims, as he encourages listeners to keep their head held high and to aim for greatness, over the festive IO, TobiShyBoy and JAE5 production.

Sending another nod to The Notorious B.I.G. with the line "Fuck goin' Heaven with the goody, goodies/It's a stick up, I want all the goodies," J Hus continues to impress with "Goodies," an intense number which finds the Brit on a jacking spree through the cobblestone streets of London. Another moment of introspect arrives with "Who You Are," before the proceedings are closed out with "Friendly," one of the songs that sparked his ascent to stardom, but could've been replaced by a more climatic finale cut.

J Hus rises to the occasion on Common Sense in terms of his sonic selection, in addition to his lyrical performance, delivering an expansive, if at times repetitive, array of songs that do both Hus and producer justice. Catering to the dance floor, the women and the street, J Hus covers all bases admirably, but fails to give a glimpse into the inner workings of his mind, his beginnings or the story of what resulted in the makings of the man he is today.

A debut album is an opportunity for a rapper to shape his identity and tell their story, which is a mark that J Hus misses on this long player. However, Common Sense is a solid collection of songs that serve as a memorable introduction, and should solidify the U.K. rapper's standing stateside and beyond.

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