Before Jessi became the badass solo rapper that we all know and love, she had also performed as part of a couple groups. Three years after moving to Korea, Jessi had joined the group Uptown in 2006. The group had been popular in the 90’s, but had fallen apart in 2000 when three of the members were arrested for drug charges. With new members, the group made a comeback in 2006, with Jessi filling the lead role, replacing Tasha Reid after she left the group (yes, Tasha. As in Yoon Mirae, another badass female artist and part of hiphop trio MFBTY). Jessi only joined the group through the release and promotions of their album Testimony and was no longer part of the group by the time they announced another major member change.
In 2009, after Jessi had finished her run with Uptown and released two solo albums, she took a five year hiatus and returned to the United States to spend time with her family. She completely dropped from the music scene until her return to Korea in 2014, when she resurfaced as part of a co-ed HipHop trio, Lucky J. The group was aptly named after the fact that all three members’ names began with a J.
The trio, consisting of Jessi, J’kyun, and J-yo released their first track ‘Can You Hear Me’ and because of her vocal skills, was asked to collaborate with several artists over the two year span the trio existed. As a group, the trio only released three songs. My personal favorite was their last song, No Love. Jessi’s unique vocals really shine in it. They parted ways in 2016, with each member focusing on solo careers.
If you get a chance, check out Jessi’s early works as part of either of these groups and see how much she has grown as an artist over the years. Each experience brought out a different dimension to her musical abilities and really enhanced who she is as an artist.