Yaeji Essentials

Yaeji Essentials

Yaeji makes stylish club cuts whose unflappable coolness masks a deep well of complicated feelings. Born Kathy Yaeji Lee in 1993 New York, the future artist grew up between Atlanta, Seoul, and Long Island. Her early releases channeled that peripatetic upbringing in songs—like a 2016 cover of Mall Grab’s “Guap” and a 2017 cover of Drake’s “Passionfruit”—that mixed house, hip-hop, and ambient into an unusual and unclassifiable blend. She’s got a knack for low-key hooks that punch above their weight, like the murmured refrain of “Raingurl” or the mantra-like repetitions of “WAKING UP DOWN,” and a penchant for bilingual lyrics that convey inner conflicts in playful, even mischievous terms. When she wrote 2023’s With A Hammer, she settled on a sledgehammer as the metaphor for her quest, she told Apple Music: “Anger is one feeling, but just like music, we have the power to translate our emotions as humans, and all of that felt like alchemy to me.”

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