Introducing JessB, the New Zealand rapper causing a stir with Bump Bump
Her new track is a homage to the nostalgic hip-hop of the early 00s, including Missy Elliot and Snoop.
We've spoken pretty intensely about the rise of Australian rap music over the last two years or so, and how its gradual domination through acts like Kwame and Genesis Owusu is reflecting a larger push internationally. However, with our focus being so kept on the Australian market, we don't really have the opportunity to set out sights over to our cross-Tasman neighbours in New Zealand, who themselves have a hip-hop scene blossoming too. Auckland rapper JessB is an artist that reflects this rise; her name billed on almost every major New Zealand music festival with an even slightly hip-hop-adjacent line-up and playing dates with global forces such as Stormzy.
With one listen of her latest single Bump Bump, it's not too hard to understand why either. As we'll let her explain shortly, it's a homage to the century's turn of hip-hop - that late-90s, early-00s crossover that was defined by acts including Snoop Dogg and Missy Eliott. "The hook was written by Church Leon, but both of us grew up on late 90’s/early 00’s hip-hop, so that era, including Missy Elliot and Snoop Dogg’s music, is nostalgic to both of us in that way," she says on the track, before pinpointing the latter of their pair as a particularly strong influence. "Missy Elliot is particularly pertinent for me as she was one of the first female rappers I really looked up to and was influenced by in my own music." You can totally hear that in Bump Bump's nostalgic twist, which unites this haziness with bounce and grooves that give it a forward-thinking modern twist; bridging the gap between her influences and the more current sound of today.
It comes at an exciting time for JessB, with a strong promise for Australian cross-over as our scene blossoms on its own. Before that happens, however, dive into Bump Bump below and better get to know the rapper while you're at it:
Tell us about yourself?
I am a rapper from Auckland, New Zealand.
What’s the vibe music-wise?
I am definitely drawn to a sound that has a bounce or a groove to it. I like to dance myself, and I want my music to make people dance. The themes range hugely. I always say that I am a multi-faceted human being and I want this to be reflected in my music. So I rap about all the things that are going on in my life from my political / world views, relationships and even just life as a young woman and having fun.
What are your production and writing processes like?
I don’t produce my own music (a skill I am starting to develop though!) but I can work in a range of different ways. Sometimes a producer will send me a beat and I will write to it at home before I get into a studio, other times I will work in the studio with a producer to create something from scratch. Both ways can work for me!
Can you tell us about your latest single, Bump Bump?
This single is the first single from my forthcoming EP, scheduled for release in July. It is a fun party track featuring another Auckland artist Church, who is half of the duo Church & AP. We made this song in the studio together. I wanted my first step back into releasing music after a year off to be a light-hearted one.
Any tour dates coming up?
I plan to tour my EP once it comes out later in the year and play in Australia.
What does 2019 have in store for you?
Lots of new music! And hopefully lots of shows, I would love to continue to perform overseas.
Where can we find more of your music?
Follow JessB: FACEBOOK