10 Things We Learned From A 10-Minute Chat With ONEFOUR + Their New Single ‘Natural Habitat’
J Emz talks going international and upcoming Melbs show.
Words by Harry Webber May 20, 2024

Sometimes you’ve gotta make the most of what you get… We got 10 mins over a dodgy wifi connection (mine) with J Emz, the unofficial leader of Aussie drill group ONEFOUR. And given that they he doesn’t do too many interviews, we grabbed at the opportunity with both hands.

It felt like for many years, despite their millions of streams and respect within the rap community, ONFOUR existed outside of industry in a “too-dangerous-to-touch” pile. The media couldn’t make sense of their rapid ascension, parents clutched pearls at the mere mention of their name, and infamously, the NSW Police Force would not allow them to play shows.

In the past twelve months, largely thanks to their Against All Odds Netflixz doco and ARIA nomination, ONEFOUR’s profile has grown massively. They’ve been on national news programs promoting the doco, performed at Listen Out and in Bali, and started to build a global audience.


Today’s release ‘Natural Habitat’ is emblematic of the duality of modern-day ONEFOUR: they’re still rapping about the violent reality and continued struggles facing young men in their Western Sydney home of Mt Druitt, only the beats and production have been cleaned up and taken to the next level. The streets are meeting the mainstream and the results are is this elevated, raw drill sound.


Now, with their debut Melbourne show at Rising Festival looming, they’re even doing press junkets… Here’s what we learned from 10 mins with J Emz (other than the fact you should turn video off on a Zoom call to improve stream).

The documentary opened up doors for them as performers:

“If I could say anything changed, it’d be our shows. We’ve been able to perform a lot more. We were able to do the Listen Out tour last year in Sydney. So, if anything, it’s the shows, the live performance, we’ve been able to perform a bit more. We haven’t been able to perform this year in Australia yet, so we’ll see what that holds.”


ONEFOUR loved playing in Bali.

“We were actually a bit nervous because we didn’t know how we’ll go with ticket sales. Obviously, you’re in another country and you’ve got to test the waters. And it was a crazy turnout. We actually did pretty well and put on a good show. It was bloody hot over there though, I’ll tell you that.”

Outside of music, they keep it pretty chill.

“In my free time I’ll probably go to the gym, try to get a couple of workouts going, or spend time with my girl, spend time with the guys, probably play cards and that. But I don’t really get much free time nowadays and that’s kind of how I like it. I can’t speak for other boys though. I’m sure Spenny likes to spend time with his kids or something like that.”

‘Natural Habitat’ is all about feeling at home, whether it be musically or geographically.

“It’s like a drill based song, so when it comes to the genre, we’re in our natural habitat, that type of music comes easy, as well as the environment we had to grow up in. That lifestyle comes easy as well. Well, it’s easy for us to handle…. It was just a highly anticipated song and we felt like it was the right time to get it out for the fans.”

They’d never heard of Chase & Status prior to collaborating with them.

“Before I even got any knowledge of who Chase and Status were, no disrespect to their name or nothing, but I didn’t really know much about drum and bass and the influence they had in the UK, so they reached out and they wanted to get in the studio with us and I thought, you know what? Let’s just check the vibes and see how it goes. And we ended up coming up with that. And now, obviously, being locked in with them, they’re good peoples, you know? I’ve become a fan of their music and their work, so I was glad to. I’m excited to perform that one live with them, hopefully, when they come back in November.”

They can hear the international audiences calling.

“Obviously, as a musician and artist, you want to try and break barriers and reach heights with your music. So the international level is definitely something that we want to, you know? There’s definitely a stage we want to be on. I feel like we tell a unique story about Australians and we share an insight of what people around the world don’t see of Australia but can still relate to – people overseas can relate to the same struggles.”

They have their sights set on the UK.

“I’ve personally slowly been dipping in and out of the US. But I’ve been trying to get into the UK. We’re still working on some things though with immigration and that. But that’s definitely a goal, to be able just to go over there and tap in with the artists over there. I feel like there’s a lot of uncharted waters that we can take advantage of over there. There’s a lot of artists willing to tap in. I just need to get into the country.”


They have wise words for up and coming rappers.

“Advice for young rappers is, I always say it all the time, but it’s the same thing, it’s just staying down and staying focused, and you’ll eventually get to where you want be, you know? And it doesn’t come easy. Everything’s always 10 times harder than what you imagine it to be or how you have it planned to be. So stay down for that rocky road and stay prepared that it’s not going to be an easy journey.”

They’re RFA fans.

“I’ve really been fucking with the RFA group coming out of Sydney, coming out of Mt Druitt Some young cats.”


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If you haven’t got tickets to their Melbourne show, you should get on it ASAP.

I’m just excited because it’s, well, our first headline Melbourne show, so it’s going to be a crazy night. We, me and Spenny, are looking forward to putting on a good show for our fans out there. And it’s been highly anticipated. So, yeah, I’m ready to run that.

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