Joji & Yebi Labs Cap of an Amazing Day 1 at 88rising’s Head In The Clouds Festival Thought+Photos: Yebi Labs & Joji at 88 Rising's Head In The Clouds 8/20/22
LOS ANGELES, CA–
“…As the night’s last performance, tens of thousands of fans were waiting for the debut of Joji’s DJ alias, Yebi Labs. Born George Kusunoki Miller, Joji is known for his trip-hop and lo-fi music that blends elements of trap, folk, electronic, and R&B. He began his career on YouTube under the aliases DizastaMusic, TVFilthyFrank, and TooDamnFilthy. Miller’s videos consisted of shock humor, rap songs, swearing, rants, extreme challenges, and ukulele performances, but he eventually retired from YouTube in 2017 to pursue music, focusing on more serious and depressing themes. With his first studio album, Ballads 1, Joji became the first Asian-born artist to reach #1 on Billboard’s top R&B and hip-hop charts in November 2018.
Usually known for his downtempo, melancholic, sad boy music, fans did not know what to expect from Yebi Labs. I thought Yebi Labs would be similar to his past performances at the Boiler Room– him playing on a keyboard, mixing his music live, and singing a couple of covers. However, Yebi Labs blew any expectations I had out of the water, reminding me of Joji’s roots as Filthy Frank– comedic, shocking, and overall, random.
The DJ mix contained a mix of Joji’s hits like “Daylight,” “Pretty Boy,” and “Your Man,” as well as the club hits from Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, and Disturbed. What also added to the energy was the amazing visuals– a compilation of memes, strobe lights, and pyrotechnics– and the crowd ate it up. And let’s not forget when Joji would yell “BITCH” or “YEAH” spontaneously.
The icing on the cake for me was the “Glimpse of Us” hardstyle remix Joji played towards the end of his DJ set. The intense force of the bass in my ears posed a stark contrast to the heartbreaking lyrics, which made the energy all the more exciting.
Joji closed off the night by performing a couple of songs, like “Will He” and “Yeah Right.” In all honesty, he hasn’t been super verbally interactive with the crowd beside a period where he threw he threw miscellaneous household merchandise. However, he communicated to his audience through his meaningful lyrics and captivating aura, so it was a wonderful performance nonetheless. As Joji ended his performance with his classic “Slow Dancing in the Dark,” fans were chanting his name and throwing underwear, roses, and stuffed animals on stage. No matter how Joji performs, as a DJ or himself, he’s able to command the stage and bring audiences together.
Overall, Yebi Labs made a successful debut, and it was a great way to close off day one of Head In the Clouds.”