The FADER’s “Songs You Need” are the tracks we can’t stop playing. Check back every day for new music and follow along on our Spotify playlist.
J Hus‘s fourth album, Beautiful and Brutal Yard, is the sound of an artist exerting dominion over his territory. The Gambian-British musician emerged in 2017 as one of the thought leaders behind a new generation of Afrobeats — his sound fused the longstanding Nigerian genre with grime and dancehall, and gave other artists permission to do the same. Hus may not yet have a Billboard top 10 or sold-out show in City Field, but that’s alright: the energy on Beautiful and Brutal Yard is the kind that emerges when your biggest competitor is yourself.
That doesn’t mean that the opps disappear, though, and on “Bim Bim,” Hus outlines his strike plans. He lets fly drill-influenced bars and conducts his pace masterfully: the first verse comes with a husky, blood-thirsty zeal, his demeanour ascending to Generalissimo status as the music’s choir and thundering drums get more urgent. When the beat switches to a gentle Afrobeat groove, Hus is reclined and unbothered like his enemies are before him in chains. What gives the song even greater depth, though, are the occasions when it hints at Hus’s battle for self-restraint against his ego. “I wanna bang the iron, let them know who I am,” he snarls. The song is more than enough.