Seoul-born and now New York-based producer Yaeji is the definition of an up-and-coming artist. Her sweet, melodic remix of Drake’s “Passionfruit,” is one you definitely need to hear.

Building a reputation for scorching, elevated DJ sets, Yaeji has been lighting up the indie underground with her trancy, hypnotic electronic pop, despite only having released a handful of singles and an EP. It’s thrilling to watch an actual musician coming up out of the ranks, budding from underground music communities.



soundcloudThis homespun intimacy is part of what made Drake so valuable and relatable when he was coming up, becoming the millennial rapper du jour, rising from working night shifts at Toronto’s Rite Aid to sleeping in a hammock next to Rihanna. Let’s be honest, Drake’s underdog, woe-is-me swagger has been a little harder to swallow since he’s become one of the biggest rappers on Earth. While his beats are still fire, his vocals are still smooth and seductive, we can’t help but be a little suspicious and a little critical of Drizzy.

On “Passionfruit,” Yaeji brings her signature balearic electro-pop to Drake’s New Age beats. Vocal melodies are harmonies are strung together like Christmas lights, throwing colorful puddles of light on the arctic Toronto sonicscape. It’s like a breath of spring in the depths of winter— Indian Summer for the soul, warm as a cotton-scented breeze and liquid butter sunshine.

There’s something encouraging about the inevitable progression of underground music. The old guard will fall away, becoming yesterday’s pop stars and rock royalty, only to have a new crop of hungry young artists and producers rise to steal the crown. While Drake may continue to slide into the mainstream hip-hop he once subverted, we have producers like Yaeji filling the gaping holes in our ears and playlists. We at We Are: The Guard tip our crown to Yaeji— long may she reign!

J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.