• J-MILLA's song 'Unlock the System' is a finalist in independent music competition Needle in the Hay. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The 22-year-old has been nominated for his song 'Unlock the System' that he wrote in response to the police-shooting death of Kumanjayi Walker.
Keira Jenkins

21 Jun 2021 - 5:58 PM  UPDATED 22 Jun 2021 - 12:14 PM

Mak Mak Marranungu rapper J-MILLA is one of 30 finalists for Australia's biggest independent song competition.

The Darwin-born 22-year-old, who is also known as Jay Nichaloff, is in the running for the prize for his track 'Unlock the System'.

The song was written in response to the death of Kumunajayi Walker in the remote NT community of Yuendumu in 2019. 

"I called it 'Unlock the System' because I think that grabs everyone's attention as soon as you read it," he told NITV News.

"I wrote it after what happened to brotherboy Kumanjayi Walker.

"It was a song for me to reach out to the community and send a message to let everyone know what's happening in the real world, in community, and just in Australia."

The trial of Zachary Rolfe, the Northern Territory Police officer who is charge with the murder of Mr Walker is set to get begin next month.

 J-MILLA said it's crucial to keep talking about these issues.

"As an Indigenous rapper I think it's important for me to speak on situations like this, especially, for those who can't or are unable to speak about it," he said.

"I know for a fact that it helps a lot of other First Nations mob in Australia - I get messages, and people when they see me.

"I do a whole lot of other music, the ones people respect me the most from is all these racism topics and political topics."

Needle in the Hay, run by Happy Mag received more than 2000 entries, and J-MILLA is one of 30 finalists

He said he feels honoured to have his song selected.

"I didn't really think that 'Unlock the System' got the recognition it deserved, not just for me, but for the message and the lyrics," J-MILLA said.

"To be honest to be a finalist, I feel so happy and blessed, like finally something is happening, you know."

The winners are set to be announced on Friday.

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