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Tokimonsta

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Biography

Tokimonsta takes her name from "Toki," the Korean word for rabbit, and the hyperbolic hip-hop term "monsta." Similarly, Tokimonsta makes beats that are beastly enough in scope to compete with heavy-hitters like Flying Lotus and Daedelus. Born in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, Jennifer Lee's attention turned from classical piano lessons to making left-field recordings with an SP-404 and Fruityloops software. In college, as her love of hip-hop continued to blossom, she signed up for the Beat Cipher, a monthly open-mike night for beatmakers run by Project Blowed. Monthly performances there led to a meeting with Steven Ellison (aka Flying Lotus), and her progressive, textural beats secured her a spot on his Brainfeeder label. Although her loyalties remained with the hotbed of producers in that clique, she went outside L.A. to release her debut EP, 2009's Cosmic Intoxication, on the London imprint Ramp Recordings, and followed it with 2010's Midnight Menu for Listen Up Records, a subsidiary of the Japanese indie Art Union. Around this time, Lee was also active in several side projects, making music with a tropical flavor as Mama Toquilla and electro as Tokitron, and collaborating with Suzi Analogue as Analogue Monsta. In 2011 she released the Creature Dreams EP, back on Brainfeeder. Two years later she returned with Half Shadows on the Ultra label. The album featured guest appearances from rapper Kool Keith and the electronic duo MNDR. In 2014 she launched her own Young Art label with the EP Desiderium. In 2016 Lee issued FOVERE, featuring guests like Anderson .Paak, Jonny Pierce, and Kiya Lacey. That same year she was diagnosed with Moyamoya syndrome, which resulted in a loss of language and the ability to process sound. A pair of brain surgeries helped save the musician and she quickly followed with the release of Lune Rouge. The album included appearances by Selah Sue, MNDR, Isaiah Rashad, Joey Purp, Yuna, and more. ~ Jason Lymangrover
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