You see a lot of American influence in the Korean music industry and it’s exceedingly obvious in hip hop and rap. It is not uncommon to see idol rappers and professed hip hop groups slip into cultural appropriation, embracing a style, demeanor, or language that they just don’t get. They cannot possibly understand. I am positive that many of these artists and performers are doing what their stylists and management are telling them to do…as per contract, and that some are more about cultural appreciation over appropriation, but it all just feels a little bit icky.
This is absolutely NOT the case with Jessi. She is, without a doubt, what she is.
Jessi has a long and storied history in the Kpop and Khip hop world. This lovely woman was born in New York and raised in New Jersey. She, I am comfortable in saying, knows her way around the lifestyle a little better than your average raised-by-the-company idol. After passing an audition at 15 years old, she moved to South Korea and debuted as a solo artist. She released a couple of albums over a few years before taking some time, five years to be exact (a lifetime for a musical artist), back in the States. Refreshed and still driven, she joined a hip hop trio called Lucky J and took part in the show Unpretty Rapstar. Now as a solo artist, she is releasing bad ass music to an audience starving for a chick to show ‘em how it’s done.
She is unapologetically a Jersey girl. She is tough. She is sexy. She owns herself. This woman has a whiskey drinker’s voice and a stare that could cut a man. The whole Running Man cast was more than a little intimidated by her. BUT, when you see her interacting with her fans or speaking to an interviewer, she is incredibly sweet and endearing. The responsibility she feels to her supporters is palpable.
Plus, her music makes me feel cool when I driving my hatchback around the suburbs.