Concert review: Gen-Z rapper Lee Young-ji covers JJ Lin at first Singapore show

In the hands of a lesser artiste, such an unexpected surprise might be the biggest highlight of the show, but Lee is a bombastic performer who brought swagger and style to the Capitol Theatre.

Lee won not just one, but two rap competitions. She debuted at 17 as the winner of the third season of High School Rapper (2019), a hip-hop competition reality show for teenagers, and also won season 11 of Show Me The Money, a rap competition for rookie and established hip-hop artistes. There is no question Lee can spit bars. 

Watching her live makes one appreciate her talents more. Her rhythm and speed on declarative raps like I Am Lee Young Ji and Witch are impeccable, but what is more impressive is her infectious energy and incredible stamina from start to end.

She grooved, twerked and flipped her hair around as she vibed with her songs. She can dance as well, showing off her moves in several numbers, including the recent hit Smoke – a song that started a viral TikTok dance challenge even among K-pop idols.

Many of her numbers feature other artistes, but flying solo was no issue for her. She sang South Korea-based American rapper and mentor Jay Park’s portions in songs such as Day & Night and Blue Check.

She also knew how to keep her audience engaged. Rap and hip-hop songs are not easy to sing along to, but Lee often got the audience to sing the catchiest line of a song’s chorus with her before she launched into a proper performance of the same song. This hyped up the crowd and also gave them a chance to rehearse singing along with her. 

At one point, Lee even sought confident audience members who could stand in for hip-hop star pH-1 on the number Not Sorry. A female fan from Malaysia was eventually picked to rap his verse during the performance and did an admirable job.

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