Rapper J-MILLA returns with new single “Nicest ft Thir13een” proving – once again – that he is ‘the one to watch’

According to research, the average human attention span is just 8.25 seconds. At the same time, more than 100k songs a day are published on the World Wide Web.

This overwhelming statistic is something the music business has been wrestling with for some time. If so much new content lands on the Internet every day, how can artists who are not the Beyoncés or Drakes of the world yet ensure their tracks are heard?

J-MILLA seems to have cracked this code. He just keeps dropping banger after banger. So fans have no choice but to play them in full and on repeat.


Northern Territory (NT)-based artists are having a moment.

Apart from iconic musicians, like Gurrumul or Djalu Gurruwiwi, who brought the First Nations music closer to wider audiences, there’s been heaps of new talent coming from that remote part of Australia in recent years. Rapper Baker Boy, indie rockers King Stingray, and singer-songwriter Emily Wurramara are just a few names you should know.

But it’s the hip-hop scene that has been the most interesting to watch, in my opinion. And it’s precisely because of artists like J-MILLA.

Born in Darwin, he faced the intergenerational trauma pathway from the start, like many other Aboriginal families. Losing himself in music and storytelling was what got him through. And it was this part of his culture that he clung to.

When he was just 12, J’s mother won a scholarship for him to Scotch College in Adelaide to give her eldest son a better chance at life. So the youngster moved to the capital of South Australia, where he is now a proud resident and calls the place home.

“Adelaide gave me the chance to break the cycle – I feel blessed by the things that are happening for me here”, he admits.

J-MILLA has been wowing fans across the country since 2019 when he released his debut single, “Juice”. But it was the song “Unlock the System” from 2020 that shone a light on his extraordinary storytelling skills and solidified his role as a fierce advocate for justice for First Nations people in Australia.

The track was the artist’s response to hearing the tragic news of Kumanjayi Walker, an Aboriginal man killed during an arrest attempt. J wrote the track and pledged to donate the earnings to the victim’s family.

As a result, the song received a lot of traction in the country and was strongly supported by the ABC radio station triple J.

Since that groundbreaking release, the artist has shared more successful singles, including “Ball And Chain” – a collaboration with Xavier Rudd.

J’s lyrical content swings between deep societal commentary and bangin’ club vibes. He uses this passion for a powerful narrative as a weapon to maintain a healthy mental state for himself and his siblings. (On a side note, his younger brother, Yung Milla, is a rapper, too.)

To date, J has performed at several prestigious events, including the NIMAs (National Indigenous Music Awards), Bass in the Grass, Darwin Festival, The Garma Festival of Traditional Cultures, and the closing day of the 2021 Adelaide Festival at an event called “Hip Hop Finale”, along with Ziggy RamoJK-47 and Jimblah.

All the releases and performances up to date have scored the now 24-year-old rapper several important accolades, like being “hand-picked” for the BIGSOUND50 in 2020, winning the NT Music Awards Youth Song of the Year in 2022, or achieving recognition as NT’s No. 10 Most Powerful Social Media Influencer in 2023.

And on that last note, with the combined social media figures sitting at over 200k followers, Happy Mag summarised the rising star’s achievements in one sentence: “See you at the top, J-MILLA.”

The young hip-hop artist was quite busy in the last few years. Fortunately for him, when Covid had most people in lockdown, he was relatively free to roam due to Darwin being “the loosest place on earth.” So J honed his live show by playing over 30 gigs between 2020 – 2022, mainly at remote Aboriginal community festivals.

“Nicest ft Thir13een” is J-MILLA’s first release in 18 months. And boy, was it worth the wait!

The young hip-hop artist has found his sound for this next chapter.

The highly infectious track’s got it all: a catchy synth intro, a melodic hook (courtesy of a UK-based singer Thir13een), bold and cheeky lyrics, and J’s dope vocal delivery that reminds me of Jay-Z’s best years. J’s unabashed and unmedicated ADHD energy brings everyone along for one bouncy ride. 

The song talks about silencing the haters with a smile and is full of good vibes and happy feels.

“Don’t give a damn if you don’t like us”, starts the hook. And this care-free attitude when you know your own worth and don’t need anybody to validate it is present throughout the whole track.

In fact, the sheer audacity of the lyrics and the masterful wordplay is what I love the most about this release. J effortlessly drops cultural references, spanning from “Coming in like a wrecking ball, swinging it like Miley Cyrus” to “I’m gonna be popping up, spreading around the whole world like a virus” in one verse. I dare you not to smile when you hear the whole thing.

Oh, and did I mention there’s a wack music video accompanying the release? It was filmed in and around Hilton Hotel in Darwin by emerging NT filmmaker Tully Hemsley. To make it even more fun, it features J’s real-life aunties as the white-privileged “Karens” and J’s inimitable ability to turn a frown upside down.

So what can I say? “Nicest ft Thir13een” is a banger. And it will surely take J-MILLA to the next level. Which is why I strongly encourage you to follow the artist’s advice from the lyrics and “stop sleeping on him.” Like right now.

Because – no matter what your attention span is – this and other releases by J-MILLA will always keep you entertained.

J-MILLA is currently curating and putting the finishing touches to his forthcoming debut album titled On My Soul, which will be out in September 2023. He’s also playing a few shows in the coming months, so make sure to follow him on his socials.

“Nicest ft Thir13een” was produced by J-WESS. It is distributed by Ditto Music and TikTok Australia. It will also be accompanied by a limited edition Digital Pressing via Serenade and a TikTok campaign.

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