As previously reported, the St. Paul rapper and singer Lexii Alijai died on Wednesday, news that shocked her many fans and friends.
Though only 21, the artist born Alexis Alijai Lynch had been an increasingly promising factor in music for over five years already, locally and beyond. In addition to her original solo material and collaborations with big names like Oakland singer Kehlani, Lexii’s catalog also included remixes of hip-hop classics like Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones, Pt. 2” and Jay-Z’s “Song Cry,” as well as newer street hits like Jimmy Wopo’s “Elm Street” and Meek Mill’s “We Ball.”
Below is a sampling of songs that begins -- and only begins -- to illustrate different aspects of Lexii’s artistry.
“Shook Ones, Pt. 2 (Remix)”
In 2014, Alijai released her debut mixtape, Super Sweet 16’s, selecting a number of unimpeachable classic instrumentals to display her pure, already impressive rapping skills. One standout from the tape was her take on Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones, Pt. 2,” whose beat historically has been a proving ground for upcoming MCs to show their abilities. Needless to say, Lexii hit the mark.
Kehlani Ft. Lexii Alijai - “Jealous”
With her verse on Kehlani’s eventually Grammy-nominated You Should Be Here, Alijai’s stock skyrocketed. The song was the first public display of what would become a close, lasting friendship between Alijai and the Oakland singer, and while not released as a single, it remains one of the most popular cuts from You Should Be Here. The two also performed the track together when Kehlani performed at Myth in 2017.
An almost ever-present theme in Lexii’s music was her satisfaction -- or dissatisfaction -- with the state of her romantic life. It was subject matter that she approached with maturity and honesty, and she was never more frank than on the bluntly titled “Love Sucks.”
Another standout from Alijai’s 2017 album, Growing Pains, was this reworking of Outkast’s chart-topping Stankoniasingle “Ms. Jackson.” She rewrote the original concept from a female perspective, assuring the mom of an ex-boyfriend that she would resent neither mother nor son, despite the relationship failing to work out.
“Broken Telephone (Ft. KayCyy Pluto)”
One of Lexii’s go-to collaborators was fellow St. Paulite KayCyy Pluto (or just KayCyy), with whom she recorded a number of songs; the two even did a joint interview on Go 95.3 in 2017 as a kind of unofficial duo. This piano-based rap-R&B ballad was their most-streamed collaboration.
Alijai was relatively quiet in 2019, but she did release one of her most honest singles in the form of “Anthony.” It was the latest song Lexii formally released during her life; unheard material is expected to be released posthumously.