JESSB SOUNDTRACKS PARTIES FROM AUCKLAND TO AUSTRALIA WITH 'BUMP BUMP'
Words by Christopher Kevin Au / Photography by Chris Loutfy
Auckland rapper Jess B has been hopping across the Tasman with greater frequency. She's been everywhere as of late, and is looking to expand her brand past New Zealand, with Australia acting as a prime starting point. And while much of the globe might view Australia and New Zealand as two peas in a pod, each country has its own slang, accent and aesthetic when it comes to their relatively autonomous hip-hop scenes. "I'm trying to start a little something out here," Jess says of her time down under. "I've been working pretty hard in New Zealand, so I just wanted to extend what I'm doing and take it as far as I can. So yeah, why not pop across the ditch?"
She's not opposed to moving out here, if it's "the right thing from a musical point of view," and co-signs Sydney emcee Kwame and Melbourne soul songstress Kaiit as local musicians that she likes and listens to. And the timing couldn't be better, with her latest single 'Bump Bump' currently doing the rounds. The track is a spirited tribute to her heroes like Missy Elliot and Snoop Dogg (both of whom are name-checked in the single) and centres around thumping throwback production that practically commands club play. It's a track that will evoke images of tall tees and fitted caps for some, with Jess' charismatic and collected flow taking centre stage.
"It's a fun party song. I haven't released any music for a year, so I didn't want to be doing anything too serious when I came back," she says. "It's just good vibes on a beat that is very much my vibe." The track also features Church Leon from the duo Church & AP, who appears on the 'Bump Bump' hook. "They have a single that went to Number. 1 on the hip-hop charts back home in New Zealand, so Church is a really dope artist," she says. And while the single is a homage to rap superstars of yesteryear, it's clear that Jess finds greatness in her current colleagues like Church; "It's the new wave at the moment that's been really inspiring. As a lot of artists back home are starting to make noise and gaining popularity internationally. I'm definitely in good company."
'Bump Bump' is the lead track to be taken from Jess' forthcoming project, which follows 2018's excellent Bloom EP. "I have few singles in the lead up to that, which should be dropping before the end of July, and then I am going to do a tour for the release of that," she says. "So that will hopefully include some Australian dates, but it's gonna be a bunch of New Zealand ones as well."