Beautiful And Brutal Yard
Just when it looked like The Hustla was about to leave us hanging for another summer—third album Beautiful and Brutal Yard arrived for 2023. When news first broke of the long-awaited album, fans were immediately alarmed by the lack of credits for JAE5. Exploring his range away from the guidance of his former exec producer and Afroswing architect, has, though, seen J Hus stage a coup on the direction of his own sound. Here, he turns up the dial on his flickering emotions: careering from aggressor to party-starter via lover boy at dizzying speeds. TSB holds the reins chiefly on production here—but it’s undoubtedly J Hus calling the shots now. Follow on for our pick of five highlights from B.A.B.Y.. “Massacre” Straight after the bright horns and gruff, motivational intro (“THE GOAT”), it’s “Massacre” where B.A.B.Y. shifts into gear. The sharp, sexy chords of the beat (produced by Marco Bernardis and P2J) was featured on the album’s visual trailer—narrated by Idris Elba. In the short clip, an invite to Hus’ yard, the London actor states, “Imagine if the heart was not designed to express love or pain, but to express ultimate power: the core of masculinity.” This internal struggle, in spite of all his success, is still key to understanding a mind as complex and chaotic as J Hus’. “Who Told You” (feat. Drake) A solid contender for the song of summer 2023, and a track fans have been waiting for since Drake declared his admiration for J Hus on stage at London’s O2 Arena in 2019. If we were worried about the absence of JAE5, this stellar single (produced by P2J, E.y, and Gaetan Judd) put all fears to bed. An infectious anthem on not being too tough to bust a move that certainly lives up to its billing. These badmen dance, and we should follow their lead. “Militerian” (feat. Naira Marley) The Marlian meets the Militerian on this swinging combination of sounds from sons of the African diaspora. Slick, pidgin-infused lyricism mingle within crisp production that wouldn’t sound out of place at Fela’s The Shrine in the ’70s. “Cream” (feat. CB) J Hus teased a snippet of this track way back in 2020. A month before release he declared it “The Hardest in Drill History” on Instagram. And when the rankings are eventually drawn up one day, this collaboration between Newham’s finest should at least be considered. Hus is joined by infamous driller CB—three years into a 23-year prison sentence when B.A.B.Y was released—on this blaring ode to money-making, to cement his legacy. “Nice Body” All the stars are out across the album’s genre-fluid features. There’s Popcaan (“Killy”) and Burna Boy (“Masculine”) flying their flag for their regions. And here’s the UK’s Jorja Smith, laying a sweet half-sung verse—a trick she also pulled off beautifully alongside Giggs on 2020’s “Im Workin.” An introduction to this joyful pairing that we hope to hear much more of.