UK’s J Hus is the second of four cover stars to be featured on The FADER’s first-ever Diaspora Issue. Peep the cover story done by Jace Clayton here.
Key quotes from J Hus:
On his unique sound:
“I’m everything you’ve heard before, and nothing you’ve ever heard before.”
On police attitudes toward immigrants in J Hus’s hometown:
“They needed to clean things up for the Olympics. And about 20 of us, we didn’t fit their definition of clean.”
On the constant use of “ugly” in his lyrics:
“My friends used to call me ugly. Even my mum would say it. When I started with the music, I said I’ll call myself ugly before they start saying it! Being ugly didn’t offend me. It’s like: Yeah, I’m ugly. What? Make me ugly-sexy. Embrace it.”
On serving jail time as a rising star:
“The day I set foot, the whole jail knew I was there. People got nothing to do, that’s how it works, innit? All they do is gossip. Gossip’s what entertains them. It was mad. ‘Why you here? You not meant to be here, you had something going for yourself’ — it’s what all the inmates and that used to tell me. My song would come on the radio and they’d start banging on the wall, ‘That’s you!’ I’d be on TV. But I knew I’d be out soon, so I didn’t really fuss. I just did my time.
You’re there watching time go past, and it drives you crazy cause you could be outside, making money. Life’s good on the outside. You’re in there making all these crazy plans. I wrote a couple of jail bars, but I never planned to spit it when I came out. I wanted to leave it in the past. Inside I was just planning, planning.”
Producer Jae5 explains J Hus’s work ethic:
“When Hus got out of jail, one of his DJs was pestering me and I thought, Nah. Another guy out of jail, I’m not gonna waste my time. But with Hus, the more sessions we took, the more I started getting into it. I’d create an idea. No matter what type of idea, he was down. I’d play him an indie rock beat, a pop song, Afrobeats, whatever. If it didn’t work, he’d leave it. But he wasn’t dismissive about things. He would at least try. And for me, that was it.”