J Hus’ Villainous Reign On ‘Beautiful And Brutal Yard’ Is A Telling Tale In His Fascinating Rise

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The most fascinating thing about J Hus’ third album Beautiful And Brutal Yard is that the rapper rarely faces a loss. Sure, the British rapper has had to put his career on pause at times, most notably to serve a five-month sentence after the release of his 2018 debut album Common Sense for carrying a knife in public. For the most part, he’s a villain with no chinks in his armor, but one that has inflicted damage to varying levels against his enemies. He has neverending stories about finding himself in the middle of crossfire, self-induced or not, but through it all, he’s in control of the beautiful and brutal yard he lives in. The beauty is clear as J Hus charms as a slick-talking and charismatic man with all the talents and lines to whisk away the woman of his choice. On the flip side, the brutal moments come from the rapper’s villainous reign as an authority too fearless, too relentless, and too equipped to be removed from his throne.

The qualities mentioned above aren’t exclusive to the beauty or brute of J Hus and his world and that’s what adds to the fascination of Beautiful And Brutal Yard. They play equal roles to both sides of the coin. J Hus strives for a new level of fearlessness as he raps about his brute upbringing on “Come Look” over haunting production that sprays a dark overcast over him. In this same sense, the rapper’s daring approach to a woman he desires on “Safa Kara” is the epitome of fearless. Take your pick at lines like “Call me daddy, that’s an ego booster / Call me papa, come have me for supper,” as proof of it.

For the beauty of it all, he stares in deep admiration at an out-of-this-world woman on “Alien Girl” and aims to charm another one with risque solar system metaphors like “Take you somewhere no one can see / We go to Uranus” and “Put on a sex tune while I sex you in Neptune / This comes around only once in a blue moon.” The same charm is applied to “It’s Crazy” where he raps in sarcastic disbelief at his ability to effortlessly take down his perpetrators.

This duality is what makes Beautiful And Brutal Yard so enjoyable. With an album that fires off 19 songs across 63 minutes, enough has to be done to keep listeners interested and locked in, and J Hus accomplishes this pretty effortlessly. The early parts of the album supply infectious production and catchy hooks for records (“Who Told You” and “Militerian”) that will find as much trouble excelling in summer as day parties and tequila do. It’s within the same album that J Hus also taps in drill rap (“Cream”), introspective rap (“Playing Chess & “Come Look”), Rap&B (“My Baby”), and melodic rap (“Alien Girl”). In most cases, this would make for a disjointed album, but not for J Hus. He achieves cohesivity thanks to maintaining an authoritative tone that maintains his sinister even on its brightest days.

J Hus not only accepts the villain role on Beautiful And Brutal Yard, he fully embraces it in an attempt to take it to a newer and dark level. With that, the album leaves us with a clear image of the rapper: seated on his throne with a grimacing smile as he readjusts his crown and twirls his staff, daring anyone to take him down successfully. The album’s opening record “Intro (The Goat)” is a perfect example of this. Though it’s a short verse that launches the album, it’s one that succinctly captures J Hus’ villainous ways. “If I got my nose in your business, you know it’s a snub,” he fires off before concluding with, “My bredrin’s carryin’ ’cause I can’t afford to have it / But when it’s time for action, feel like I’m born to bang it.”

Stepping back from J Hus’ discography for a second, Beautiful And Brutal Yard is the latest offering from the British rap world that proves the genre is excelling across the pond without conforming to standards in the States. J Hus joins names like Dave, Stormzy, Central Cee, Headie One, and more who’ve made waves while staying true to themselves. It’s an observation worth noting as hip-hop, a genre that’s expanded in numerous ways since its start, crosses its 50th-anniversary mark this year. Even in this crowd, J Hus’ Beautiful And Brutal Yard stands out as a body of work that uses various sounds from the rapper’s cultural background, like afrobeats and afro-swing, as an ingredient to spice up and amplify his projects.

From a closer point of view, J Hus uses his third album to provide a vivid and detailed account of his roots and upbringing, giving equal attention to all that’s beautiful and brutal. This duality contributes to everything on the album: its sonic appeal, the thrill of J Hus’ narratives, and the rapper’s overall artistic vision. Furthermore, J Hus excels thanks to a bigger chip on his shoulder and the goal to go to all necessary lengths to prove himself, just as a villain would in their attempt to reign supreme in their beautiful and brutal yard.

Beautiful And Brutal Yard is out now via Black Butter Ltd. and Epic Records. Find out more information here.