HeeSun Lee isn't your average Hip Hop emcee. Put up for adoption in her native Korea at the age of four months, she was brought to America and raised by Chinese parents in a Christian home on Staten Island. As a teenager, she became a fan of Hip Hop acts ranging from Lauryn Hill and Will Smith to Tupac Shakur. All of Lee's diverse experiences have fused to create the illuminating backdrop for her sophomore CD "Stereotypes" (In My City Records) that releases on iTunes and other retail outlets on January 21, 2014. Lee's story is unique in that she credits not only her faith but also Hip Hop for saving her life. "Hip Hop saved me from a lot of things," she confesses. "My biggest struggle growing up was with my identity and it all correlates with being stereotyped and not knowing where I belonged because I was adopted."
Lee envisions the 16-track CD as a tool to evangelize while also examining society's stereotypes like the one that suggests that someone of Korean heritage lacks the spit skills to make it in Hip Hop. "I have had to constantly remind myself that I am legit," Lee says of the battle to win cred as an emcee. "Sometimes the stereotypes in this world are so big that they can even get to my own confidence. I may think I'm good, but I can just be playing myself if society is telling me this is not what I should be doing."
Any doubts about Lee's gifts vanish on the CD's opening track in which she fires off the verse, "Every day I'm on a mission now trying to save the lost. I'm never by myself, someone see me take the Cross, devil on my backside, watch me how I shake him off" with machine-gun rapidity. It's just a taste of Lee's deep commitment to the Hip Hop genre and her faith. That same zeal dominates her concert sets that she'll showcase at the Canyon Music Festival on Friday, January 24th and Saturday, January 26th on the campus of Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ. With a brilliant CD dropping and a career on the upswing, Lee ponders her life a decade from now. "Hopefully, I've won a Grammy," she laughs. "Not just to have a Grammy but because it helps my fan base grow so that more people don't have to look at Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks, and to let girls know there's another route."