'Hus is a true original': Black Butter salutes J Hus after No.1 finish

'Hus is a true original': Black Butter salutes J Hus after No.1 finish

Black Butter MD Duncan Scott has described J Hus as "a pioneer" after the rapper debuted at No.1 with Beautiful And Brutal Yard.

Beautiful And Brutal Yard – aka BABY – is the third album and second No.1 by the East London rapper. The record finished the week with 17,260 total sales, comprising 1,722 CDs, 557 vinyl albums, 294 cassettes, 305 digital downloads and 14,383 sales-equivalent streams. 

J Hus’ first album, Common Sense, debuted and peaked at No.6 with 17,973 sales in 2017. Follow-up Big Conspiracy opened at No.1 in 2020, achieving first week sales of 23,536, even though it was available initially only digitally. 

To date, Common Sense has 413,430 sales, with Big Conspiracy on 192,613.

BABY is the 18th chart-topping rap album of 147 new No.1s thus far in the 2020s – 11 by British acts, four by Americans and three by Canadians. 

The album was trailed by two singles It’s Crazy (which peaked at No.15 and has 70,888 sales to date) and Drake collaboration Who Told You (which peaked at No.2 and has 252,515 sales to date). 

This week, Who Told You spent its sixth straight frame in the Top 5, while J Hus added two new hits from Beautiful And Brutal Yard. His 21st and 22nd Top 75 hits, 15th and 16th Top 40 hits, they are Militarian (feat. Naira Marley, No.23, 13,997 sales) and Masculine (feat. Burna Boy, No.24, 13,445 sales).

To mark the return of J Hus, Music Week spoke to Black Butter managing director Scott and senior marketing manager Janette Quaye to find out more about the campaign.

What are the cornerstones of the campaign for J Hus this time round?

Janette Quaye: “Hus has always been revered by fans and peers alike for his fearless originality when it comes to lyrical content, flow and cadence. Continuing to highlight this, alongside retaining a focus on authenticity, were two key points on our manifesto that were essential from the outset to keep at the heart of the campaign. As in previous campaigns, our main objective was to keep the artist and the music at the centre of any activation - being careful to check ourselves each step of the way to make sure everything felt 'Hus' and nothing felt forced or contrived.”

Can you sum up what the album represents and what it says about the evolution of Hus' art? 

JQ: “The new album is very much about duality. A lot of the visuals as well as, of course, the music demonstrated the two sides to Hus, the beautiful and the brutal. The Idris Elba narrated spoken word piece on the album announcement film that we shot was actually written by Hus himself, and with this, fans began making connections between the pieces of Hus they'd been seeing over the past few weeks. The hard-hitting comeback single It's Crazy being followed by the sunshine-drenched bouncy second single Who Told You made sense as a microcosm of the world of duality Hus was to show us on the album.”

Hus has always been revered by fans and peers alike for his fearless originality

Janette Quaye

How did you get the No.1? Physical has played a part this time, too...

Duncan Scott: “Having secured a #1 on the last album Big Conspiracy with a digital-only release, it was imperative to secure the top spot for the new album. We brought all of our streaming partners in and played them early mixes last autumn and as a result they were fully engaged early on and hugely supportive of the release. Hus fans have always been bigger on streaming as opposed to buying physical copies of the albums, but we did want to ensure that his core fanbase was able to have something tangible to commemorate the release.”

And how much does it mean to the UK to have Hus back in the market?

DS: “Hus is a true original, a one of one - he is a pioneer and visionary and as such he has always been a driving force in pushing the scene forward. It's also great to see a big increase in streams outside of the UK on this project as his international reach expands.”

Hus is a pioneer and visionary and has always been a driving force in pushing the scene forward

Duncan Scott

Following this chart success and with a UK tour coming up, what can we expect for the rest of the year?

DS: “We've got more visuals to come from some of the favourites from the album in the coming months. Hus is heading out on his first UK tour in almost six years this autumn with festivals planned for next summer, so there's plenty more to see and hear from him over the next 12 months.”

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