NZ hip hop star JessB’s national tour to promote her second EP New Views kicked off at Wellington’s Meow in a passionate and exuberant performance... received with gyrating bodies and open hearts. With the Auckland rapper joined by an all-round winning line-up of Vayne, MC Silva, and DJ half queen, the evening flowed as a delightful combo of bouncing hip-hop and infectious charisma.
Vayne opened the night with her sweetly flavoured trap bangers. Holding a lively swagger, catchy edge, and not shying away from a fat bassline, she had the crowd in an enthralled pulse. Though little more than a year on the scene, the Auckland-based rapper was taking off, with tracks such as wayway! coming across as totally anthemic in the sold-out venue. It was youthful energy and the crowd were totally in sync.
Silva MC practically stole the show with a full-throttle performance of her fabulous reggae and hip-hop concoction. Commanding the room, she dexterously flipped from punchy dubstep flow to bassy dancehall croon, holding back no punches with her colourful Carribean delivery. Those who were initially unfamiliar were suddenly helpless in their surrender to this spirited lady and her bumping vibrations.
JessB emerged bursting with energy and ready to take the already-buzzing audience to further heights: “we got forty-five minutes we gon fuck this s**t up”. From there the rapper proved her ascent in NZ music as well deserved, keeping the crowd in her pocket for a sharp and exhilarating finish to the night.
Booming bass met twists of guitar and snatches of brass amid crisp trap percussion, swinging from upbeat funkers to lowdown and unapologetically grimy hip-swingers. Vocals were tight and robust, reaching out to seize attention over the hefty production.
In a show highlight, Silva joined JessB on-stage to jointly perform the delirious banger Take It Down, bringing on a coordinated dancehall jig from the ecstatic crowd.
Seeing a night of solely female performers feels rare enough, but I’ve certainly never seen so many ladies in the audience; completely filling out the front rows and absolutely enraptured. At one point in JessB’s set, several were picked to join her on stage for a zealous shakedown of any body-part they so wished- and the room was in love! It was totally refreshing and showed the real significance of what was happening on stage: this was a moment for them.
JessB crowned the night with the stripped back and sizzling New Era. A celebration of the new times to come, it felt only fitting as we watched this able-bodied troupe bring in the bright future of Kiwi hip-hop.