Jessi (musician)

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Jessi (musician, 2016, cropped).jpg
Jessi at the December 2016 KBS Entertainment Awards
Jessica Hyun-ju Ho

(1988-12-17) December 17, 1988 (age 31)
Other namesJessica H.O
EducationKorea Kent Foreign School
  • Singer-songwriter
  • Rapper
Musical career
Years active2005–present
Associated acts
Korean name
Revised RomanizationHo Hyeon-ju
McCune–ReischauerHo Hyŏn-ju
Stage name
Revised RomanizationJesi

Jessica Hyun-ju Ho (born December 17, 1988), better known by her stage name Jessi, is a Korean-American rapper, singer, and songwriter based in South Korea. She was born in New York, raised in New Jersey, and moved to South Korea at the age of 15.[1]


2003—2014: Early career and Lucky J[edit]

In 2003, Jessi successfully auditioned for Doremi Media and moved to South Korea at age 15.[2] She released her debut single album Get Up in 2005 and performed the title song "Get Up" on the TV series Music Bank. In 2006 the hip hop group Uptown featured her in their album Testimony, replacing their original vocalist Yoon Mi-rae.[3] Jessi's second single album, entitled "The Rebirth", was released in January 2009. After the release, she took a break from music, and left Korea to return to America.[4]

In 2014, after a 5-year hiatus, Jessi returned as a member of hip-hop trio Lucky J with rapper J'Kyun and vocalist J-Yo.[5] Lucky J debuted with the digital single "Can You Hear Me" under YMC Entertainment in July of that year.[6] A month after their debut, Lucky J made an appearance in Mnet's music competition program, Immortal Songs 2.

2015—present: Television roles and P-Nation[edit]

From January to March 2015, Jessi was part of the first season of Unpretty Rapstar, a spin-off of the program Show Me The Money.[7] Unpretty Rapstar is a female rapper survival program, where contestants compete for the chance to be featured on tracks in a compilation album. Jessi was chosen as the second-place winner of the show by audience vote.[8] After her appearance on Unpretty Rapstar, Jessi was featured in JYP's single "Who's Your Mama?" and its music video, which were both released in April 2015.[9] The track topped all nine major music charts in Korea as soon as it was released.[10] Throughout 2015, Jessi appeared as a guest in various popular variety shows, including Running Man and Happy Together.[11][12] She released her first ever solo rap single, "Ssenunni", on September 15.[13] Jessi's first live performance in the US was held on October 16. She performed at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles with hip-hop duo Mighty Mouth as her opening act.[14] When Unpretty Rapstar 2 aired, Jessi appeared in several episodes as a mentor. She and Cheetah, the winner of the previous season, were featured in Unpretty Rapstar 2 tracks produced by Verbal Jint.[15] In December 2015, Jessi performed her song "Ssenunni" at the Mnet Asian Music Awards.[16]

In 2016, Jessi starred as one of the permanent members in season 1 of popular Korean variety show, Sister's Slam Dunk.[17] In 2017, Jessi released another rap single, "Gucci" from her first mini-album, entitled Un2verse, both of which released on July 13.[18][19] In 2018, Jessi starred on Yo! MTV Raps. The show aired on MTV Asia on July 6.[20] On the same day, she released a single titled "Down".[21] According to Soompi, AOMG producer Gray took part in producing the track.[22] Her contract with YMC Entertainment ended in October 2018, and in January 2019 she signed under PSY's record label P Nation.

Personal life[edit]

Jessi attended Korea Kent Foreign School along with Girls' Generation members Tiffany and Jessica Jung. Former CSJH The Grace member and current solo singer Stephanie Kim also attended the same school. Jessi successfully passed an S.M. Entertainment audition, the same company her three classmates were all under. However, she chose not to become part of the label, as she believed its approach to music did not match her style.[23] Before Jessi went on temporary hiatus from the music industry, she struggled to become accustomed to Korean culture.[4] She did not find immediate success after her debut, and was sometimes forced to sleep in saunas when she did not have enough money for a place to stay.[24]

In 2013, during her break from the music industry, a controversy about Jessi's involvement in an alleged assault surfaced.[25] The professed victim soon dropped the charges against the singer, and the investigation was closed.[26]


Extended plays[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Sales

Un2verse 31 4

Single albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Sales
Get Up
  • Released: December 1, 2005
  • Label: Doremi Records
  • Format: CD, digital download
Track listing
  1. W.T.H
  2. Missin' U (Korean Ver.)
  3. Get Up
  4. 1-2 Step (Korean Ver.)
  5. Give It All
  6. Missin' U (English Ver.)
  7. All I Need... 1-2 Step (English Ver.)
  8. The Christmas Song
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

Live albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Sales
Kill Bill 2nd Live: Jessi
  • Released: February 22, 2019
  • Label: Soribada
  • Format: CD, digital download
Track listing
  1. 굳이 (Gucci) (Live)
  2. 젖어’S (Wet) (Live) (Feat. Flowsik)
  3. Spirit Animal (Live)
  4. Down (Live)
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.


As a lead artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Sales Album
KOR Hot.
US World
"Life Is Good" (인생은 즐거워) 2009 N/A The Rebirth
"Unpretty Dreams" 2015 11 Compilation Album Unpretty Rapstar Semi Final
"I Want to Be Me" (나이고 싶어) 31 Non-album singles
"Ssenunni" (쎈언니) 29
"Raise Your Heels" (뒷꿈치 들어)
(featuring Dok2)
"Excessive Love" (살찐 사랑) 2016 65
"Don't Make Me Cry" (울리지마) 2017 85
"Gucci" 99 9 Un2verse
"Down" 2018 N/A Non-album singles
"Who Dat B" 2019 68 8
"Drip" (featuring Jay Park) 16
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


Title Year Peak chart positions Sales Album
"I'll Be There"
(with The Nuts)
2007 N/A Platonic Syndrome: White Romance Vol.1
"My Type"
(with Cheetah feat. Kangnam)
2015 2 Unpretty Rapstar Compilation
"Kwaejina Ching Ching Nane" (쾌지나 칭칭나네)
(with Kim Young-im & Crispi Crunch)
2016 N/A Non-album singles
"K.B.B" (가위바위보)
(with Microdot, Dumbfoundead & Lyricks)
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

As a featured artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Sales Album
US World
"How Much Is Your Love" (얼마짜리 사랑)
(Wheesung & Bumkey feat. Jessi of Lucky J)
2014 15 Non-album singles
"No No No"
(Pharoh feat. Jessi)
"Bonnie & Clyde"
(Vasco feat. C-Luv & Jessi)
2015 Code Name : 211
"Who's Your Mama?" (어머님이 누구니)
(Park Jin-young feat. Jessi)
1 12 Non-album single
"I Deserve It"
(San E feat. Jessi, Illinnit & i11evn)
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
"Just Like You"
(Primary feat. Yankie & Jessi)
73 2
"Something I Can Do" (내가 할 수 있는 건)
(Black Nut feat. Jessi)
12 Show Me the Money 4 Episode 5
"Me, Myself & I"
(Heize feat. Wheesung & Jessi)
19 Unpretty Rapstar 2
(Turbo feat. K.Will, Jessi)
54 Again
"Never Enough"
(Double K feat. Jessi)
2016 N/A Non-album single
"Hangover" (술김에)
(Baechigi feat. Jessi)
66 Regression
"Crazy Guy" (미친놈)
(#Gun feat. Jessi)
5 Show Me the Money 5 Episode 9
"Talkin Bout"
(Microdot feat. Jessi)
N/A +64
"BeBopaLula" (삐빠빠룰라)
(Tae Jin-ah feat. Jessi)
Non-album singles
"We Are Young" (위하여)
(G2 feat. Jessi)
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Soundtrack appearances[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Sales Album
"Engraved" (각인) 2015 N/A Glamorous Temptation OST
"Why Do You" (너는 왜)
(with Hanhae of Phantom)
2016 Two Yoo Project Sugar Man OST
"My Romeo" Cinderella with Four Knights OST
"A match (Kill Bill)" (성냥 한 개비 (킬빌))
(featuring Double K)
2019 Target : Billboard - Kill Bill
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.



Year Title Network Episode Notes
2015 Unpretty Rapstar Mnet All Contestant (runner-up)
Real Men 3 MBC Cast member
King of Mask Singer MBC Episode 35 Contestant (with the stage name "Miss Korea")
2016 Sister's Slam Dunk KBS2 All Cast member
Duet Song Festival MBC Episodes 1, 2 Contestant with Kim Seok-goo
2017 High School Rapper Mnet All Judge
2018 King of Mask Singer MBC Episode 162 Contestant (as Laundry Fairy)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2016 8th Style Icon Asia Awesome Swagger Herself Won
Cable TV Awards Cable Star Awards – Best Singer Won
15th KBS Entertainment Awards Best Newcomer in Variety Show Nominated



  1. ^ After School Club (episode 178 featuring Jessi)
  2. ^ "The 10 Year Journey from Jessica H.O to Lucky J's Jessi". 7 February 2015.
  3. ^ "KBS World Radio K-POP News".
  4. ^ a b "[Interview] ′Unpretty Rapstar′ Jessi Spills on Why She Left Korea, Struggling with Korean Culture and More - Mwave". Archived from the original on 2016-06-27. Retrieved 2015-05-02.
  5. ^ "Jessica H.o. to start anew under YMC Entertainment's upcoming group Lucky J".
  6. ^ "Co-ed hip hop trio Lucky J kick off their activities with 'Can You Hear Me' MV".
  7. ^ "Mnet to Launch Korea's First-Ever Female Rapper Survival Show "Unpretty Rapstar" - Soompi".
  8. ^ "And the winner of 'Unpretty Rapstar' is....?".
  9. ^ "J.Y. Park Gives PSY a Run for His Money With Ode to Big Butts, 'Who's Your Mama?'".
  10. ^ "J.Y. Park's "Who's Your Mama" tops 7 charts in first place". 15 April 2015.
  11. ^ "유재석 "제시, 쌍꺼풀 수술 전이 훨씬 예뻐"".
  12. ^ {KBS Happy Together} Suzy, Jessi, Seo Woo & more! (2015.04.23) Archived 2015-05-24 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Jessi to Make a Hip Hop Comeback". soompi. Retrieved 2015-09-04.
  14. ^ "Go see Unpretty Rapstar's Jessi at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles on October 16th!".
  15. ^ "Sparks Fly Between Jessi and KittiB on "Unpretty Rapstar 2" - Soompi".
  16. ^ "Jessi Kills It At 2015 MAMAs With Her Performance Of 'Ssenunni' [VIDEO] - The latest kpop news and music - Officially Kmusic".
  17. ^ "Jessi, Tiffany, Min Hyo Rin, and more get together for a viewing party of their new variety show!". Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  18. ^ "Un2verse - EP by Jessi". 13 July 2017.
  19. ^ "Jessi – Un2verse - 1st Mini Album -".
  20. ^ "Meet the 12 artists in the spotlight for Yo! MTV Raps' return - MTV Asia". MTV Asia.
  21. ^ "Jessi Aims to Break South Korean Societal Norms & Gets 'Down' In New Music Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  22. ^ "July Comebacks And Releases Coming Your Way - Soompi".
  23. ^ "Jessi could have become a member of Girls' Generation?".
  24. ^ "Jessi on Her 'Tough Unni' Image, Difficulties After Debuting, and Not Paying Attention to Haters". Soompi. 2015-05-20. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  25. ^ "Singer Jessica H.o. accused of assaulting a woman".
  26. ^ "Ms. Choi drops charges against Jessica H.o. for the alleged assault".
  27. ^ Peak chart positions for the following albums in South Korea:
    • Un2verse: 2017년 29주차 Album Chart [Week 29 of 2017 Album Chart]. Gaon Chart (in Korean). Korea Music Content Industry Association. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  28. ^ "Jessi Chart History - World Albums". Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  29. ^ 2017년 07월 Album Chart [July 2017 Album Chart]. Gaon Music Chart (in Korean). Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  30. ^ 2005.12월 - 가요 음반 판매량 [Album sales for December 2005] (in Korean). Recording Industry Association of Korea. Archived from the original on February 25, 2006. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  31. ^ a b c d "Gaon Digital Chart". Archived from the original on 2017-03-09.
  32. ^ "Jessi Chart History - Billboard Korea K-Pop 100". Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  33. ^ a b "Jessi Chart History - World Digital Song Sales". Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  34. ^ Cumulative sales of "Unpretty Dreams":
  35. ^ "2015년 04월 Download Chart". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean).
  36. ^ "2015년 09월 Download Chart". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean).
  37. ^ "2015년 50주차 Download Chart". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean).
  38. ^ "2016년 12주차 Download Chart". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean).
  39. ^ "2017년 04주차 Download Chart". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean).
  40. ^ 2017년 28주차 Download Chart [Week 28 of 2017 Download Chart]. Gaon Music Chart (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  41. ^ "2015년 Download Chart". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean).
  42. ^ "2014년 36주차 Download Chart". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean).
  43. ^ Cumulative sales of "Who's Your Mama?":
  44. ^ "2015년 18주차 Download Chart". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean).
  45. ^ "2015년 34주차 Download Chart". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean).
  46. ^ Cumulative sales of "Something I Can Do":
  47. ^ Cumulative sales of "Me, Myself and I":
  48. ^ "2015년 53주차 Download Chart". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean).
  49. ^ "2016년 06월 Download Chart". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean).
  50. ^ Cumulative sales of "Crazy Guy":

External links[edit]