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March 21, 2023

Interview with JK-47

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If you’re a hip hop fan in Australia, you should by now know the name JK-47. He’s the 2020 Triple J Unearthed Artist of the Year, he did a jaw-dropping Like A Version where he put a fantastic twist on ‘Changes’ by 2Pac and tonight you will see him at Sydney’s Stadium Australia ahead of the final game of the Origin series. He is a talented artist who is a force to be reckoned with.

Seven spoke to JK-47, a Minjungbal Cudgenburra man, from his home at Kingscliff and talked to him about being a rapper and his upcoming Bluesfest set.

About your name – is JK-47 a play on AK 47 – the gun?

Yeah. When I was younger and started rapping other rappers called me a weapon and I thought, like the AK-47. But now it’s changed, because now I feel it’s a spiritual warfare about what’s in your mind. So, I like to think of myself as a weapon people can use – the music can be used as a weapon to fight negative thinking.

You released an album last year – how has that gone for you?

It’s been great. I was kind of having a battle with myself – whether people would like it or not, because of all the controversial issues about these times of change, and how people do want to stand with First Nations now, and how it hasn’t always been like that… but someone said to me, ‘Look, you’ve got to drop that, because it’s going to be so important’.

You’ve been doing this for ten years now – do you feel the local hip hop and rap scene has changed in that time?

Yeah, 100 per cent. When I grew up, the rap music I was listening to was gangsta rap. Everyone was wanting to be a gangster and stuff like that. It’s just about what you relate to. My mum never liked us listening to that, but I listened to it anyway. I also listened to Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley and others.

But, I had to get back to the roots, look further back before the gangsters and everything, like when it was just hip hop, yeah. You know, when there was a bit more positivity, and less negativity, and less violence and stuff like that – more support.

What do your elders think about your work?

Elders from Fingal and the area where I grew up are all proud of me and say ‘Good on you for spreading the word, spreading the message, telling the story.’ That’s what matters, as long as I’m getting recognition from real ones – my aunties, my uncles, my family people – who really know what’s up.

How do you feel about performing at Bluesfest this year?

Good. I will be doing songs from the album and I’ve got new stuff. I’ll be playing some unreleased music that I’m getting ready to drop, so a bit of both.

JK-47 is just one of the great acts on at Bluesfest in October this year. Tix from www.bluesfest.com.au

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