On 'EP2', Yaeji Embarks on a Cultural Exploration
    • TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 07, 2017

    • Posted by: Rachael Morrow

    After the banger track "Drink I'm Sippin On" received over two million views on Youtube, there is no doubt this EP will have a similar reception (Hell, it already is). The New York-based artist and producer Yaeji, aka Kathy Yaeji Lee, champions her Korean-American heritage in all of her work. She molds her music into a fascinating exploration of cultural experiences, provoking more than just dancing from her listeners.

    EP2 is short, but by no means lacking in substance. Her tracks are intoxicating, loaded with heavy house beats and bubbly vocals, all dissecting various aspects of electronic music. Yaeji's ability to intertwine the classic house bass with an intimate lyrical voice is what sets her apart from the growing mass of house producers.

    The opening track "Feelings Change" begins with a slow electronic synth, creating whispers beneath her slow, deliberate lyrics. Her voice is almost monotone, with large pauses in between words, enhancing their significance. There is a boredom to her voice that gives the track an intrigue, accompanied with the foggy synth to add layers of mystery. The line "I've missed all my chances to be so honest" reads as a distorted confession. Her monotonous recital of "doing so fine" alludes to the concept of lying about mental health, where we attempt to convince ourselves and those around us, that we have it all figured out. This is reflected in the closing track "Passionfruit," where she examines the remnants of a relationship, and the obvious issues facing them both.

    The second track, "Raingurl" takes a complete tonal shift, becoming the feminist dance anthem of the EP. This song embodies Yaeji's distinct sound, similar to tracks from her self-titled debut album released earlier this year. The song tackles concepts of feminism, specifically the struggles of women's senses of freedom under societal restrictions. This exploration paired with the infectious beats and her conversational vocals, gives the track a unique sharpness.

    This is further explored in the track "After That" where the majority of her lyrics are Korean. It is rare to find an artist that appeals to a western audience with majority foreign language lyrics, but Yaeji manages to communicate her culture to a typically unreceptive audience. This specific ability is what makes her work groundbreaking, as she continues to bridge the gap between cultures musically.

    An extremely introspective work, EP2 is the perfect combination of house, trap, rap, and quirky humor. Yaeji uses her perspective to create work that reflects on her personal exploration with culture, mental health, and gender. A brilliant stand alone EP that is setting the tone for her future projects.

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