Rapper JessB's music inspired by being a woman of colour in NZ

Kiwi hip-hop and rap artist JessB is quickly making a name for herself across the New Zealand music industry.

She's just released her latest EP, is gearing up to celebrate with her own bloc party - and with such a distinctive sound, there's no doubt she's breathing new life into the Auckland rap scene.

A born and raised Aucklander of Kenyan descent, JessB says she naturally gravitated towards the hip-hop genre.

"I was always able to relate to the people who were involved in hip-hop, I guess from the perspective of what I look like," she said.

JessB started writing raps for fun at school, and eventually decided to upload them to music-sharing platform Soundcloud.

Her unique style caught the attention of Kiwi hip-hop producer and artist P-Money.

"At the time it was crazy ... it was crazy that he thought I was alright, ya know? So it was very exciting."

That was the moment her music turned from hobby to career. JessB now credits a lot of her success to the power of the internet and social media.

"The ability to kinda be creative in your own way, and have people respond to that, is so beautiful," she said. "I think that the people are controlling a lot of the music industry now."

She still works with P-Money, who produced three tracks on her latest EP Bloom.

It's about exploring life as a woman of colour in New Zealand, and the EP's launch party on Thursday night has an all-female line up to match.

"I know some amazing male performers obviously, and I have much respect for them, but I also really, really want to see the women in the hip-hop industry and the music scene in general being lifted up."

And with already more RSVPs than venue space, they'll be sure to have the support behind them.

JessB's Block Party is being held on Friday night at Auckland's Galatos from 8pm.


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