Auckland-based rapper JessB has been steadily rising in recent years, and the one ahead is looking to be busy and bright. The former professional netballer has already had quite an impressive career; with two EPs, a mixtape and a handful of singles under her belt, JessB also won Best New Zealand Act at the 2019 MTV Europe Music Awards and featured on ‘Meditjin’ by Baker Boy.
JessB has wasted no time in preparing new music since her invigorating 2020 mixtape 3 Nights in Amsterdam. Known for her blend of trap, dance and R&B stylings with afrobeat and reggaeton influences (how’s that for a label!), she is bringing New Zealand hip hop to the forefront through infectious hits with modern relevance. Her latest single ‘FROM THA JUMP’, released 27 October, has already clocked over 70k streams on Spotify – and man, is it catchy. Making songs that are both fun and reflective has always been the aim of her music, and her personal and sonic growth shows with each release.
While 18 months of lockdown is nobody’s idea of a good time, it gave JessB the chance to work on new music, and kept her focused and driven throughout the pandemic. In a recent catch-up with us, JessB said being in the studio alone provided her with the opportunity to explore skills that she wasn’t overly confident with and otherwise wouldn’t have had the freedom to develop – though she admits that she doesn’t really notice the change ‘from inside’ her creative process. She was able to experiment with a variety of styles and is diversified her sound, resulting in a more mature approach with a stronger sense of identity.
Of course, the isolation comes with its downsides; a sudden halt in live performances and restricted access to collaborators made the task of earning revenue and keeping momentum laborious. JessB told us that shooting the video for Baker Boy’s single ‘Meditjin’ was the first time the two had met in person. However, the Kiwi queen is grateful that she was able to take 3 Nights in Amsterdam on a mixtape launch tour to Australia in May before heading back home for a final hurrah. And for those of you in Sydney looking for a post-lockdown hurrah of your own, we discovered that one of JessB’s favourite spots is Little Lagos, a Nigerian bistro and bar in Newtown that attracts patrons from all over the world.
Aside from new music in the pipeline, JessB is part of the huge lineup for King Street Carnival at Sydney Park Amphitheatre from 14 to 16 January 2022. The three-day event is a celebration of culture and community held on Gadigal country, showcasing emerging local music and arts in the city. Formerly known as the King Street Crawl, The Carnival is the brainchild of The Music and Booze Company that now expands into the parks surrounding Newtown, including parts of Sydney Park and Camperdown Memorial Rest Park.
The carnival will involve outdoor stages and venues, small bars and pubs in and around King Street, highlighting the “rich and multicultural tapestry the Inner West has to offer,” all while supporting the creative community. Presented by multicultural Sydney hip hop label Elefant Traks, JessB will be performing on Friday 14 January alongside local legends Horrorshow. Other acts on the bill for the weekend include You Am I, Middle Kids, Confidence Man and Hiatus Kaiyote. Grab your tickets HERE.
JessB is one of the most exciting artists to come out of New Zealand, making huge waves in the local rap scene despite ongoing lockdowns and setbacks. Now that border restrictions are easing and venues are opening up again, she is looking forward to bringing that pent-up energy to her live shows – and so are we!
“FROM THA JUMP” is available on all streaming services now – check out the music video below!