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JessB is the NZ rapper bringing a female narrative to hip-hop

Image via Native Tongue

Words by Anthony Graetz

“It’s a cool time to be a woman in hip-hop.”

JessB is the latest talent to emerge on the hip-hop scene due to her fresh music, captivating lyrics and unapologetic style. 

Hailing from New Zealand, the female rapper is making waves in the local industry and in turn, making her way to our shores. 

Fresh off the stage from Splendour in the Grass, JessB is back to perform at the Red Bull Music Festival, here in Melbourne. Performing among the likes of Sampa The Great, Bas and Baker Boy, the young rapper is proving she’s a force to be reckoned with. 

“It’s an exciting time for me as the Red Bull Music Festival will be my second Australian festival performance,” she says. “There’ll be a lot of people in the crowd who won’t recognise me and I’m ready to smash it and make a good impression.”

Of Kenyan descent, JessB grew up in Auckland and gravitated towards hip-hop at an early age. Starting on Soundcloud as a creative outlet, the young rapper uploaded music to the platform to express herself with no great intentions. 

Her songs had quite the opposite effect. Catching the attention of renowned music producer, P-Money, JessB was approached and asked if she had any upcoming musical ventures. This marked the beginning of what would soon be a solid friendship and musical partnership. 

“When P-Money reached out to me, I was shocked,” she laughs. “It was the first time I thought this could actually be a thing.”

She started to focus much more on her music in a professional sense, debuting her first single in 2014. Her latest EP, ‘New Views’, showcases a clear artistic vision through bold lyrics and captivating beats. 

“‘New Views’ is really a collection of my thoughts,” she says. “From political stances to my journey as a woman and even growing up and partying, I like to write about everything as people are so multi-faceted.”

With her rise in the hip-hop scene, JessB couldn’t help but notice a lack of female representation. It inspired her create music through a female lens in order to bring awareness to the issue, therefore generating a connection with her female listeners.

“Women in general can struggle to get these moments where you showcase who you are and what you’ve got,” she says. “It’s really important to me to bring a new narrative to hip-hop that we haven’t really heard before – a female narrative.”

JessB also attributes the success of her emerging career to being truly authentic with herself. She takes pride in her music and hopes to validate others by validating herself.  

“I believe that the people who connect with my music are reflections of myself,” she says. “By accepting my lyrics and understanding their meanings, I see myself in them and I hope they see themselves in me.”

Getting ready for her upcoming Red Bull Music Festival performance this weekend, JessB is preparing to bring it.

“I enjoy bringing high performance energy to all my shows,” she says. “Basically I’m just ready to make the audience dance.”

Buy tickets to her Red Bull Music Festival performance here.

@ogjessb

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