The track J-MILLA entered into Needle In The Hay is special for a number of reasons – and devastating for perhaps even more. Unlock The System was written following the death of 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker at the hands of policeman Zachary Rolfe in 2019.
Start to finish it’s a stunning listen, J-MILLA’s lyrics standing front and centre, brutally and eloquently detailing the injustices he and other Black Australians have felt at the hands of the law.
“When a wombat was killed man they made it a fuss/but let a cop shoot a brother they did never lock him up.”
The artist in question is a 22-year-old Mak Mak Marranungu man, born in Darwin. His lived experiences are key to his songwriting – from his recent single 60K+ referencing the 60,000 years Indigenous people have lived on Australia, to the fiery Unlock The System we’ve already covered.
His production is often subtle, always doing exactly what it needs to do and little else. J-MILLA’s lyrics and flow are undoubtedly the driving force of his music, but a simple beat and well-plucked samples keep the engine burning.
Still independent, J-MILLA has been spotlighted by triple j Unearthed, BIGSOUND, and TikTok – he performed as part of the network’s NAIDOC Week celebrations alongside Baker Boy, Sycco, Kee’ann, and others.
See you at the top, J-MILLA.
Needle In The Hay is a competition run by Happy Mag, giving one artist the chance to win 250 copies of their single on 7-inch vinyl. To enter or find out more, click here.
All Needle In The Hay entrants will receive a voucher to upload their first single for free for the first year to all major music platforms via Spinnup. Find out more here.