Since emerging as a dynamic breath of fresh air in New Zealand’s hip hop scene back in 2017, JESSB has taken that early momentum and has whipped it up into a proper whirlwind; becoming a force to be reckoned with both at home and around the globe.
The early hype that surrounded Jess during the infancy of her career positioned the rapper as an artist throwing a renewed light on NZ hip hop. Her bars, rhythms and flow have been effortless from the jump; her confidence on the mic only matched by a natural knack for timing and sense of self. JESSB endeared herself to audiences early because of her genuine presence as a performer and the way each bar spat landed with impact.
Building a tight touring profile of achievements as both a headliners and selected support artist for the likes of Ladi6, SIX60, Lil Simz, Stormzy and YG, an artist like JESSB was always going to be on a path for success. Representing for a whole new generation and wave of local artists putting NZ hip hop back on the global map, JESSB is one of the movement’s proud champions – and audiences everywhere have started to notice.
Between 2018 and 2019, JESSB produced two striking projects in Bloom and New Views, while also finding time to tour and build an already flourishing international profile. Cultivating her sound and commanding the room wherever she found herself, Jess was able to take her music through Europe, North America and the U.K.. In Australia, the JESSB buzz reached another level during this time, with Jess building upon it with lauded performances at events like Splendour in the Grass, Laneway Festival and the Red Bull Music Festival.
Taking each achievement in her stride and using them as building blocks towards the next goal to be achieved, JESSB – as an artist – galvanised her strength as a rapper through high profile collaborations with the likes of Baker Boy, whose track ‘Meditjin’ scooped single and video awards at the National Indigenous Music Awards and also placement in the triple j Hottest 100 of 2020. Fostering the positive energy and attention surrounding her music in Australia, JESSB also reaped praise for her feature on G Flip’s Like A Version cover of ‘Lady Marmalade’, while also killing it on her own as part of triple j’s Bars Of Steel series.
In 2019, JESSB was awarded the MTV European Music Award for Best New Zealand Act, with more industry acclaim following suit. Strong support from platforms including Spotify and Apple, as well as tastemaker outlets alike propelled JESSB’s profile to a new level of recognition and renown – one she would continue to build on in 2020.
The release of JESSB’s 3 Nights in Amsterdam mixtape in 2020 demonstrated a new sense of elevation to the rapper’s sound. The fusion of expert production with influences from the realms of hip hop, dancehall and Afrobeat in creating something uniquely her own is prominent on the record and then some. Seven tracks of pure heat mark 3 Nights in Amsterdam and some of JESSB’s most confident and assured work to date.