Local Current Blog

Kehlani announces First Avenue show in Lexii Alijai’s memory; cause of St. Paul rapper’s death revealed as accidental overdose

Lexii Alijai performs at Soundset in 2016. (Emmet Kowler for MPR)

Fans around the world continue to mourn Lexii Alijai, the St. Paul rapper who died on New Year’s Day at age 21. Kehlani, the music star who most prominently collaborated with Alijai, has announced a First Avenue show in the rapper’s memory. The cause of the artist’s death, it’s now been revealed, was an accidental overdose.

The Star Tribune reports that the Hennepin County Medical Examiner has released an autopsy report confirming that Alijai’s death at the Loews Minneapolis Hotel was “due to mixed fentanyl and ethanol toxicity.” Fentanyl, as Minnesota music fans are painfully aware, is a synthetic opioid implicated in the death of Prince — as well as other musicians including Tom Petty and former Wilco member Jay Bennett. Rolling Stone calls the prevalence of fentanyl a “crisis” in the music community, part of America’s broader opioid crisis.

Kehlani’s performance at First Avenue will benefit a recording arts scholarship fund established in Alijai’s honor. It’s a rare opportunity to see the star in such a relatively small club setting: later this spring she’ll be playing stadiums and arenas as an opener for megastar Justin Bieber, with whom she recently collaborated on the track “Get Me.” Additional “special guests” will join Kehlani in the Mainroom on Feb. 19.