No-nonsense rapper Jessy Moss didn't find inspiration from the mean streets of the East or West Coast, but from dealing with hardships while growing up in Australia. Born in England, Moss moved to Byron Bay, Australia, as an infant with her parents and her three older sisters. Her father's experience of having to raise four daughters with no car, no cash, and juggling two jobs in a foreign land eventually spawned "Chapters," a track from her debut album, Street Knuckles.
That's just one example of Moss' autobiographical approach to hip-hop. Although neither of her parents were musicians, they had plenty of records that expanded her blossoming mind, including LPs from Miles Davis and Muddy Waters. She started singing as a little girl and wrote short stories and lyrics in her journal. When she was 13 years old, Moss' parents divorced, and her mother left for the U.S.; she lived with her father for a while but eventually moved in with her friends to be closer to her school. Because there was nothing else to do, Moss would speak in rhyme with her pals, getting rid of boredom by drinking copious amounts of alcohol and listening to rap music from the Beastie Boys and Mobb Deep. She began to freestyle at parties but was unable to record much because of the lack of equipment.
After graduating from high school, Moss worked in London bars and removing trash from rock festivals. While visiting her mother in San Pedro, CA, Moss sang with a group on-stage at a club. She returned to Australia, and a producer who was in the audience in San Pedro asked her if she could fly back to America and record background vocals on his latest project. That landed an internship at Total Access Recording Studios. Moss worked with Cypress Hill and the Long Beach Dub Allstars while developing her own material. Her connections helped her create a buzz in the industry, and she was signed to DreamWorks, releasing Street Knuckles in 2003. ~ Michael Sutton