Youngji Brought the Party to the Bay Area at K-PLAY! FEST

Rapper Youngji took the stage at K-PLAY! Fest Bay Area 2023 to a full house of enthusiastic attendees. She made a powerful entrance with the perfect introduction song: “I Am Lee Youngji.” Bringing up the crowd’s energy, she yelled, “If you know my name, then fucking say it!” to which the audience chanted her name along with the chorus. Slipping into the groovy vibes of “Day & Night,” Youngji put her husky vocals on full display. It was immediately clear the performer was at home on stage, leisurely making her way to back and forth across the stage with a casual confidence. There’s a reason why she was crowned winner of not one, but two music competition shows, High School Rapper 3 and Show Me the Money 11, and it showed.

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Musical performance aside, her ability to charm the crowd the whole show through in English, not her native language, was commendable. “I learn English from TikTok,” she said, before flexing her grasp of Gen Z lingo. “Are you a K-pop stan? My stan?” When the audience responded with a resounding yes, she shouted with satisfaction, “That’s right, besties!” To the excitement of concertgoers, she launched into a slew of tracks she performed on Show Me The Money, including “We,” “Blue Check,” “Not Sorry,” and “Witch.” Youngji took care to introduce each song and teach the chorus lyrics, but the crowd seemed to already know everything to her pleasure. She flowed smoothly on the beat, whether she’s singing or rapping, with the effortlessness of a natural performer. Although one might not want to be Youngji’s opponent in a rap battle, fans were thrilled when she would lock eyes with audience members and spit tough lines with raw intensity, while throwing in a middle finger on occasion. Stocking up on water bottles, she cooled the crowd down with water during “Not Sorry” and showed off her infectious energy and sultry dance moves in “Witch.”

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Cheekily announcing the next song was her last, Youngji pretended to leave the stage, so the audience could “do the thing” and call for an encore. Not leaving for long, she moonwalked back on stage to perform her Show Me the Money winning song, “Deja Vu.” In her one-hour set, Youngji gave the crowd a top-notch performance, filled with powerful vocal delivery, big attitude and winning charm. The performance showcased some of Youngji’s best hits, giving listeners a taste of her music and leaving them wanting for more. Although the audience earnestly chanted for another encore, the performer had to make her way off the stage and promised to return with another show in the future. Based on the buzzing energy of this showcase, a full-length Youngji concert would definitely not be one to miss.

Mai Nguyen

Editor-in-Chief at Asia Pacific Arts.
Feel free to send me a note on Twitter to @hellomailee.

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