Lee Ye-ji (born August 26, 1994), better known by her stage name Yezi, is a South Korean rapper and singer. She debuted as a member of South Korean girl group Fiestar in 2012. Yezi was a semi-finalist on Unpretty Rapstar 2 in 2015, during which she released several singles. Her debut solo maxi single, Foresight Dream, was released on January 28, 2016.
Yezi was born in Gangneung, Gangwon Province and grew up there. She was a student at Kang Won-rae Dance School and learned dancing from Clon. She traveled four hours to Seoul every weekend to perform as a backup dancer for singers such as Park Mi-kyung and Hong Kyung-min. Her parents were originally against her working in the entertainment industry, but changed their minds when they saw how much Yezi was advancing, and she moved to Seoul in her second year of middle school.
Yezi auditioned at LOEN Entertainment after one of their trainees saw her videos posted on Cyworld. The videos were the two most popular on the social network at the time, and showed Yezi singing and dancing. Yezi became interested in rap while listening to rapper Yoon Mi-rae. After training at LOEN for three years, she debuted in the new girl group Fiestar in August 2012.
In September 2015, it was announced that Yezi was part of the lineup of Mnet’s Unpretty Rapstar 2. The show is the second season of the television series, Unpretty Rapstar, a competition for female rappers. She was initially disliked by viewers because she kept asking others to repeat themselves; it was later revealed she told Mnet staff her hearing is “not that good”. She then criticized the show’s producers in her freestyle rap, which was edited out and not broadcast. Yezi became popular with viewers after her bold performance of “Crazy Dog” in the third episode. She was eliminated in episode eight, but returned for the semi-final after winning a revival round.
Two of Yezi’s performances were released as singles during the show: “Solo (Remix)” (featuring Jay Park and Loco) and “Listen Up” (featuring Hanhae). Both songs charted on the Gaon Digital Chart, at numbers 16 and 27, respectively. Yezi was not well known as a member of Fiestar, and had significantly more public recognition after Unpretty Rapstar. She stated: “Before the show, people were like ‘I think I saw her somewhere’, but now people recognize me immediately, even if I’m not wearing my performance clothes.” Her fans appreciated her “fierce” rapping style and “bad girl” image.
Yezi pre-released a new version of “Crazy Dog” on December 11, 2015. It was produced by Rhymer of Brand New Music and features San E, one of the judges on Unpretty Rapstar. Her debut maxi single, Foresight Dream, was released on January 28, 2016. It was produced by Rhymer and has four songs, including “Cider”, which was promoted on various music shows. Another song, “Sse Sse Sse”, features fellow contestants Gilme, KittiB and Ahn Soo-min.
On 23 December 2015, Yezi released a promotional single titled “Z-Noid” for the game Counter-Strike Online and also filmed a music video.
On 7 July 2016, Yezi also featured on the soundtrack for Wanted (South Korean TV series) in a song titled “Shadow” alongside Jung Chae-yeon.On 8 September, she released a single which called “Chase” with singer Babylon. Its Jazz version was released at 12 noon on the same day.
On 24 May 2017, Yezi released her third single Anck Su Namum. This album marked her first producer credit since debut for an album of her own, accompanied by her usual composition and writing credit. Shinsadong Tiger is the co-producer of this album.