Friday, June 2nd, 2017

J Hus – Did You See

Tropical song with those blasted steel drums to start off your weekend…


Hannah Jocelyn: Compared to some of the Afrobeat music we’ve covered over the past year, and even the Grime, this is somewhat disappointing in its construction – not as much production detail, barring the syncopated marimba toward the end. It’s more the midpoint between, say, “If” and “Passionfruit”, and just like both songs have their wtf moments (The Lil Jon sample in the former, the false beginning in the latter), there are plenty of possible memes to go around here. “Came in a black Benz left in a white one” – a line that appears again, albeit slightly modified, in the verses – already has parodies in the YouTube comments section. It’s hard not to imagine more jokes will be made as the song gains ground (the genius/penis rhyme and the talkbox outro especially). “Did You See” is memorable, and will likely be a massive hit everywhere in the world, but one would think the inevitable real-deal international crossover would capture more of what makes both afrobeat and grime so fun to hear.

Thomas Inskeep: When there are awesome rappers in the UK like Stormzy and Skepta right now, going for an autotuned Drake move is kinda weaksauce. And J Hus, I don’t care that you “came in a black Benz, left in a white one.” It feels like there’s plenty of potential here that’s just being wasted.

Anjy Ou: J Hus is a serious talent, and I’m mad that of all his bangers it’s the one with steel drums that cracks the top of the charts. “Friendly” is just as good of a showcase of his unique blend of grime, dancehall and African popular music, and it stands out, while this track blends in – and honestly feels watered down and a bit run-of-the mill. Give the people what they want, I suppose.

Alfred Soto: If Donald Trump cared about America, he’d slap a tariff on steel drums.

Maxwell Cavaseno: Effortlessly intertwining the smoothness with the gully. J Hus has been slowly honing in the sing-song style and the Afrobeats/Bashment influence alongside the road rap styles in a way that only friend Mostack or nemesis Yung Bxne can challenge him for supremacy in. “Did You See” shows what we already saw developing on “Friendly“, “Lean & Bop” and “Dem Boy Paigon” beforehand finally reach its perfect place of comfort, with a playfully ornamental beat and effortless braggadocio rolling right off the tongue.

Ryo Miyauchi: I don’t know which is exactly responsible, the light toy-box sounds or J Hus’s equally bashful voice, but “Did You See” has a charming innocence to it. Even the rapper himself can’t believe his success: his mention of his ability to trade in his luxury ride for another one feels less a boast than just pure bewilderment. He likens his new power to magic, a childish metaphor if there was one.

Stephen Eisermann: I love when an artist’s happiness translates well onto a recording. It’s a rare thing, sadly, but when it happens it proves that the artist enjoys the material they’ve recorded and that it resonates with them. This becomes especially important in the spring/summer seasons, like this one, where the musical landscape becomes flooded with similar sounding potential candidates for the coveted “Song of the Summer.” This year, we have a ton of tropical-tinged beats, similar to what is heard in “Did You See,” but few are coupled with raps this cheeky and confident. J Hus’ delivery is so nonchalant and relaxed it borders on disinterested, but it works in context of the song and it fits my idea that J Hus recorded this with a smirk on his face. The shorter run-time is smart, too, because by the end of the song I did find myself recalling better, more interesting tropical flavored tunes, as this song doesn’t have the tempo or lyrical punch to keep you hooked otherwise.  This is my introduction to J Hus, and although the song is a tad too mellow and laid-back for my taste, I wouldn’t mind listening to this on a beach somewhere, with a drink in hand. I just know it wouldn’t be on repeat.

Reader average: [5.66] (3 votes)

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7 Responses to “J Hus – Did You See”

  1. There’s a handful of recent afrobeat music I prefer to this but the fact this received a lower score than Passionfruit (and about tied with One Dance) makes me sad.

  2. tbf Passionfruit ain’t afrobeat but I definitely agree. Anyway, here’s J Hus being an absolute sweetheart. Yes I’m guilting us all in rating him higher should he make it here again.

  3. Yea, only mentioned Passionfruit because Copperman did and the main comparison I imagine the avg person will make with this track is with Drake because of his Wizkid collabs and Controlla. I can understand this song sounding slight but J Hus sounds so natural and unforced here unlike, uh, Drake. Very sweet vid btw Max.

  4. I so badly wanted to rate this higher based on some stuff I saw about him while researching, but I legit cannot remember how it goes and I listened to it six times yesterday. I will check out his future stuff, though… I think.

  5. You’re totally right, Passionfruit is definitely not afrobeat – probably should have added something about dancehall-pop to the blurb to clarify things. (or whatever genre Drake is now)

    I do still hear this song as a contemporary of Aubrey’s music, though.

  6. I mean, Drake is more cribbing off what Hus and his contemporaries are doing than vice versa, though I’m certain Hus himself would probably say he listens to and can be influenced by Drakk.

    I mean, this is two and a half years old and at that point Drake was definitely going out of his way to talk about listening to afrobeats, but he tended to refer to the more purer styles being done in Africa rather than a lot of the London artists (and the London artists he usually acknowledged were Grime acts, which is a step backwards because he’s been openly citing the influence of Road Rap acts like Sneakbo as far back as the Take Care era)

    For sure its a chicken or egg scenario because Views touched on the same stuff influencing a lot of these kids and no doubt they all heard the hits off the album. But did they follow Drake’s lead or did Drake see his threads being connected more thoroughly and followed up? Would certainly explain his abandoning grime for the heavy Giggs featuring on More Life.

    Anyway, not to lecture, just this touches a lot of buttons for me.

  7. @Maxwell, didn’t even know Drake was talking about Sneakbo back in 2012. That makes me less annoyed by his grime/road rap repping heh. No need to apologize for “lecturing” btw, I’d rather have someone just laying down as much knowledge as possible than none at all.

    Anyways, only posting this weeks later because this song has only proven to be one of my fav songs this summer. Classic case of a straightforward song being executed so well that you can accidentally take it for granted.