KCON NY 2019 ‘M! Countdown’ day 1 recap

Tackling the great expectations of moving to maybe the most famous concert venue in the world, Madison Square Garden, was a big ask ahead of the five groups preparing for day 1 of KCON NY 2019. Each of them were more than qualified to perform there on their own merits but the beauty of a concert like KCON is how they play off of each other. Either by the order of their sets or through collaborations, these pairings can offer up interesting new perspectives on their work. On this day, they strived for a delicate sense of balance.

Opening this night was down to the now veteran of KCON, Kevin Woo, was on hand to introduce the night of concerts at Madison Square Garden. The former U-Kiss member was his usual bubbly and soft self; he tends to be a perfect MC thanks to this quality. He feels more like a friend than some random professional, so it was a true pleasure to be able to see him make the move back to performing after MCing for so long. He performed his two solo tracks, “Over You” and “Ride Along.” They are fittingly bright and breezy for his voice and look, but he’s straying into lyrical territory that doesn’t fit. The player image of “Ride Along” didn’t feel genuine, and that’s something that can come across strongly on such a big platform.

One thing Kevin has that definitely does come across, whether he likes it or not, is that he is a potent reminder of how far K-pop has come. Around since 2009, Kevin has seen almost all of K-pop’s major flirtations with breaking into the west. This gave the night interesting bookends, with Kevin himself, a member of a group all but forgotten to the world, and headliners Nu’est, a group who through an unprecedented resurgence live on amidst K-pop’s most world renowned time. They feel like they’re from the same era and yet remain very much in the zeitgeist.


Also on KultScene: INSIDE KCON NY 2019

The starkness of what comes in between those two was immediately apparent when Ateez took to the stage. They along with other fresh faced boy group The Boyz opened the night with dance performances to contemporary American pop tracks. True to form, Ateez went hard on Skrillex’s remix of Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode.” As would be seen later on in the night, Ateez have a very particular style of controlled chaos while on stage. They use typically strong boy group moves in very angular and aggressive ways. It’s a style of dance that goes so well with the surprising ways in which they are growing so rapidly. It is in the very literal sense, breathtaking but also almost obstructive of the group at the heart of these dances.

In a smart move to counter this, The Boyz took a much more unusual approach by performing to teen phenom Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy.” Watching the 13 members walk like runway models to the cartoony synth run or move possessed along with Eilish’s distant vocals were moments totally singular over the whole weekend. Choosing to dance to these two melodies rather than the beat gives the performers themselves great personality. It’s an effective and simple way of making a dance feel like a story. Something they clearly learned from fellow large-membered group Seventeen.

 

As new as these two groups are they can’t compare to the absolute babies of the weekend, TXT. They were not to be held back, however, as coming along with a five track mini-album filled with gems meant they were more than qualified to be here. No one over the whole weekend would bring as exuberant a charm as they did. Decked in schoolboy uniforms, they jumped right into debut single “Crown.” The unabashed giant synths of it are probably the most infectious sounds of the year so far. It’s the kind of sound many might use to describe K-pop as a whole, so as an opener it was perfect. They took some time from there to talk and perform a short version of ballad “Your Summer.” It was energy well saved as they took a breathless last 10 minutes to blast through “Blue Orangeade” and “Cat and Dog.”

It’s hard to choose one thing that makes TXT so good but it’s just as hard to not say their choreography. It may be early days but it’s difficult to think of a group who handles such a small amount of members so well on stage since SHINee. The way they feed off each other is so important to the way they move, as if they need each other’s permission to go to the next part. They displayed a level of choreographic ingenuity that would not be topped until the weekend’s closers.

“Cat and Dog” will also go down as a great track of KCON 2019. As a song itself it expertly combines the cuter aspects of TXT with the more popular hip-hop sounds of most boy groups these days. It’s silly, brash, and best of all, earnest. This in turn makes it also an excellent bridging point from them into the next group Ateez.

As a further balancing act before that though, IZ*ONE came out with “Highlight.” “Highlight” is their most mature sounding song yet. Its stripped back R&B is helped by a pair of running synths and a trap beat, on top of which the girls eke out an elegant vocal. This gracefulness carries on in the dance as they hold up their hands and barely sway their hips, calling “look at me” in the chorus.

 

Not wanting to disrupt this flow too much, Ateez opened with the melancholic electro of “Aurora” and the decidedly dated tropical house of “Wave.” Ateez are burdened by the fact that every concept they’ve tackled so far has been a clear derivation of other groups. Particularly with these openers —you can’t give yourself a name when people are thinking of the groups who have done this before and better. Of course, even their next and final two tracks suffer from similar problems. This suffering only happens on track though, taken to the stage is a different story.

Closing with the heart-stopping duo of “Say My Name” and “Halla Halla,” Ateez made sure they wouldn’t be forgotten. The group left absolutely nothing on that stage; their sweat is now a permanent fixture of Madison Square Garden. It felt like they never had to stop, and could keep destroying the stage for the rest of the night. The chaos was still controlled but they were almost ready to let it go. It was a stunning display of control when they seemed to not want it at all. There’s aggression in K-pop dances, but nothing ever came close to feeling violent until rapper Mingi jumped over someone and seemed to headbutt the air. A funny but in some ways alarming moment.

The Boyz kept a serious air to the night but still calmed things down, as they began their set with “No Air.” Although a fitting follow up to what Ateez had brought, it felt lacklustre and even anonymous alongside them. This was put to bed immediately though, as the boyish charm and confidence of “Right Here” filled the place with glee. “Right Here” is one of those rare songs that starts off as if it’s already at top gear and yet at every turn still manages to find something small to lift it further. Making it not only a great song but an exceptional live experience. Also it was a smart move to put in the middle of their set, as closer “Bloom Bloom” is a lesser but still fun track that carried on the great energy of “Right Here.”

Needing to slow things a bit after that explosive one-two punch, Baekho and Minhyun of Nu’est came on for a cover of Adam Levine’s “Lost Stars.” Slowing things down was all this performance could really off as it’s not a good enough or well known enough song to otherwise justify inclusion. Certainly not with the potential vocal abilities of the two men singing it.

 


Also on KultScene: K-POP UNMUTED: THE DANCE EPISODE

Nothing can really inject life into night quite like a Twice knock off, though. IZ*ONE were next up with just that on recent b-side “Airplane.” The cute vitality of the track and the girls more than made up for “Lost Stars,” as well as giving the night its tempo back. Unfortunately, they undid all of this right after as they played two games that took up at least 10 minutes. It would be ok if the games were fun but, it was clear that most of the audience were not paying attention after the first two or three minutes.

In fairness to IZ*ONE, they have the songs to once again reignite things. They ended with a brisk quartet of singles “Violeta,” “La Vie en Rose,” and Produce 48 tracks “Rumour” and “Pick Me.” Despite the cute image many might of them have, all of IZ*ONE’s tracks have major punch to them. This is emphasised really well live, as the bass in the choruses of “Violeta” and “La Vie en Rose” hit hard, but the melodies are never lost. No one carries this idea as well as Lee Chaeyeon. Their main dancer was one of the true highlights to watch over the whole weekend, earning her the nickname, the goddess of wind, with power and grace always together and never at odds.

 

There is no better group to headline this night and to unite all the ideas that have come up than Nu’est. Newly back to full strength as former Wanna One member Minhyun returned earlier in the year. Nu’est have been hard to pin down as a group thanks to changes like this, but they have consistently shown an unquestionable level of stability in sound and performance. They brilliantly mix the harder aspects of the dubstep and hip-hop that pervades their work with a slower sensuality in how they actually navigate these influences. Even up to their latest single “Bet Bet,” which they opened with, this continues. The battle between the ruthlessness of JR and Baekho, and the softer falsettos of Minhyun and Ren are on full show here. Aron sits in the middle somewhere, filling in gaps so as the others don’t quite lose themselves.

From there it was pure joy. “Love Paint” was the best song of the weekend, “Segno” so sweet and uplifting, and closing duo “Look” and “R.L.T.L (One Morning),” an exemplary rendition of the dubstep, dance music work they do. The only problem was that they were one song short. “R.L.T.L” was a good song to end on but only if we had known beforehand. As it was it felt like the perfect setup for “Overcome” to drive us home. But as soon as they finished, the lights went up and the other groups started to come out to say goodbye. There was definitely a slight feeling of being cheated. This was something their labelmates Seventeen would learn from though.

From Kevin Woo through Nu’est all the way to TXT, K-pop has been through too much to recount. KCON is always good at trying to tell this story of K-pop in a few hours and this night was no exception. The flow of every group’s set and the transitions between them felt natural and propulsive. Everyone had their place and performed it to the best of their abilities.

All photo credits to KCON USA

Were you at KCON NY 2019? What did you make of the performances? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

K-pop idol fashion trends for spring 2019

From K-pop groups successfully breaking into the western markets to beauty companies expanding their shade ranges for inclusion, last year was a stand out moment for all things Hallyu. It’s only right for fashion to be next. Korean idols are claiming their seats at the fashion table. Whether it’s turning heads at fashion week or collaborating with designers, idols have proven that being fashionable is a priority in K-pop.

Spring 2019 is here showing confidence is going to be the key to this year. Our favorite idols are exploring new sounds and re imagining the most popular trends of the season.

Neon & Pastels

Apink 'Percent' album teaser

These two trends dominated past seasons individually. Neon covered every moment of fall 2018; street wear, statement pieces, shoes all took their shot. The trend was also an essential part of music video backdrops and costumes. Now, neon remains on trend with an emphasis on greens, pinks, and oranges.  

Pastels are complementing neon this season to refine how daunting the latter can be.

This year pantone color-schemes mix and match the two offering ideas for jaw-dropping, on-trend monochromatic looks. When it comes to spring 2019, monochrome is making a bold statement by including past trends.


Also on KultScene: PARK BOM ‘SPRING (FEAT. SANDARA PARK)’ SONG REVIEW

Earthy Neutrals

In contrast to neons and pastels, earth tones are taking over spring. It’s simple but captivating, going against the Spring’s expected vibrancy. Neutrals aren’t making the biggest splash on-screen, but they are popular off-screen. Earth tones are an alternative for the warm days ahead for those not quite ready or wanting to make such a bold statement.

Neckties

Neckties seem a bit old-fashioned, but they add structure to any trend. There’s something timeless about them. They can be small and paired with a brooch for western vibes or big vibrant to set off a retro look. Most would grab a light scarf of spring, but neckties shake up the traditional.

Puffed Shoulders

‘90s nostalgia took its reign in 2018, but the ‘80s are claiming this year. Shoulder pads are making a refined comeback. They’ve become a popular trend for giving an illusion for broader shoulders. The trend is taking night looks to a new level.  

Craft Work

Andy Warhol’s Pop Art revolution transformed the way fashion is perceived causing the movement to be an integral part of craft work. The trend’s unconventional take grabbed attention on the runway.  Since then, everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to Jeremy Scott and beyond reference pop art in their collections.

Craft work is versatile. Crochet and lace are cool, effortless ways the trend is worn. Its simpleness is ideal for spring’s mild temperatures. Woven accessories, threaded embroidery, and eye-popping accents are options for those not entirely committed to the trend. The best part about craft work is its never ending possibilities.

Print Overload

Prints are making their rounds this spring with no mercy. This season the trend is going beyond stripes, polka dots and animal prints. Abstract prints paired with plaid or checkered prints are popular with our favorite idols.

Mixing prints is the base the trend. Don’t be afraid to pair animal prints with stripes. The bolder the better. There is power in wearing mixed prints.

Suits

There is power in a well-tailored suit. But this season, suits aren’t center around being formal, they are deconstructed and relaxed. Sports jackets and blazers are mixed and matched with clean or distressed jeans, while slacks are given more edge with bright sweaters. Idols add a little razzle dazzle with prints, neons and last fall’s trend of sequins.


Also on KultScene: K-POP UNMUTED: MARCH 2019 ROUNDUP

Chic Accessories

Elegance, whimsical and retro are making quite the impression when it comes to accessories among idols. Gloves are a current styling favorites along with ’80s inspired headbands. Refined accessories are a great contrast to spring’s flamboyant trends.

Spring has endless trends and our favorite idols are dominating them on look at a time. What fashion trends are you excited to try this spring? Let us know what your favorite K-pop trend for spring in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

K-Pop Unmuted: Girl Group Invasion

On Episode 40 of KultScene’s K-pop Unmuted, hosts Alexis Hodoyan, Stephen Knight, and Joe Palmer discuss the 2019 girl group invasion of the US, Europe, and beyond. We talk about recent tours by Oh My Girl and Red Velvet, and upcoming tours by BlackPink, Sunmi, and others. And if that’s not enough girl group music, our picks include Itzy’s “Dolla Dolla,” Dreamcatcher’s “Piri,” and NeonPunch’s “Tic Toc.”

You can listen to this episode, and previous ones, of KultScene’s K-Pop Unmuted on SoundcloudiTunesGoogle Play Music, and Stitcher.

Let us know what you think of K-pop’s Girl Group Invasion of the west in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

K-Pop Unmuted: Goodbye Fiestar

On Episode 30 of KultScene’s K-pop Unmuted, Tamar Herman, Joe Palmer, and Stephen Knight discuss the career of perennially-underrated girl group FIESTAR. And in our Unmuted K-pop Picks we talk about Kim Sunggyu’s “Shine,’ (G)I-DLE’s “LATATA,” and FAVORITE’s “Where are you from?”

You can listen to this episode, and previous ones, of KultScene’s K-Pop Unmuted on SoundcloudiTunesGoogle Play Music, and Stitcher.

Let us know your thoughts on FIESTAR and their disbandment in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

5 reasons to go to Hyuna’s North American tour


When first asked to write something to get people excited about Hyuna’s upcoming North American tour, I thought “what’s the point in that? Who wouldn’t already be excited to see Hyuna?” It took me while to accept that some people may not be as excited as me. After that realised that it’s really just a good excuse to write about Hyuna, a woman whom I think to be a singular K-pop artist. Few idols had carved out such a successful solo career outside of their groups quite like her. Best of all, she did it with a confidence that few others can attest to. That’s only a tiny part of the reason you should go see her, though. Let’s take a look at some more and remember as well her great career.

“It’s all because I’m the best”

Has K-pop ever topped “Bubble Pop?” Probably not. Hyuna certainly hasn’t. That’s not to say her output since her debut has been weak, of course. “Bubble Pop” is just the greatest.

Her career after it has been sharpened with every release. She has seemingly found her sound in the bass heavy electro rap of “Roll Deep” and “How’s This?” Those songs are at best, growers. I came to enjoy them for purely dance reasons after a number of listens. Performed live they’ll bring the energy but her qualities lie elsewhere.

The song that started that sound for her, “Red,” is her best after “Bubble Pop.” The brash fun of Hyuna repeatedly saying her name and the obtuse lyrics make it the best Hyuna experience. The not-even-trying-to-be-cute “Ice Cream” is a more hypnotic song; its synths whipping around the beat with a refreshing elasticity. It also contains a vocal range that Hyuna is capable of, but uses less often these days. Although, she did on recent b-side “Morning Glory,” a breezy slow jam with wonderful details. There’s a diversity to Hyuna’s discography that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Songs like this and “Unripe Apple” and “Get Out of My House” show a more vulnerable side to the seemingly all powerful queen that Hyuna is. Her image does her a disservice, and there’s nowhere better than on stage to make this right.


Also on KultScene: Weekly K-pop Faves: Jan. 9-15

“Red is Hyuna, Hyuna is Yeah”

Hyuna didn’t get to where she is now in her solo career purely thanks to her looks and music. She has something that few idols can match up to without help of choreography or strong vocals. When Hyuna is on stage, no matter who else is there, she owns it. Her stage presence runs through her whole performance, be it dancing or not. It’s thanks to a confidence she brings in being sexy. Sometimes we see sexy as just another concept in K-pop, something a group can try out to see if it sells. With Hyuna, it’s almost a lifestyle. Her performances and music are all based around it, and this shines through when it comes to being on stage. She really came into her own with the promotions of “Red.” It is, after all, a song about how great and sexy she is. Hyuna picks her moments, glaring down cameras or interacting lovingly with the audience. She holds off singing, or lip synching at times, to give herself a break, knowing that everyone watching understands that it’s not easy to continually sing while dancing. Breaking through the facade, we see someone who was born to be on a stage.

 

“There’s no meaning, They’re just dancing”

Listen to any Hyuna song and it’s obvious dance is going to be important. She is supreme, to say the least. There are few idols who carry such an ease of movement with moves like hers. Her every moment on stage is filled with clear enjoyment. A regular criticism has been that she has turned to sexy choreography too often now. Which is true, but it fails to look at her choreography as a whole. She has gotten sexier, but has simultaneously been getting more intense as well. Watch her perform the endless body rolls of “Roll Deep” and the incessant shaking of “How’s This?” and tell me that’s merely sexy.


Also on KultScene: WJSN, April, & MIXX: K-Pop girls trying to take 2017

“When I stand next to you, I’m a trouble maker”

This is really wishful thinking, but something we probably all thought about. The recent shake up at Cube Entertainment left her and Hyunseung without their flagship groups (4minute and Beast). But as many noticed, both Hyuna and Hyunseung are the only members remaining in the company. So a Trouble Maker comeback has to happen, right? That does seem likely given their success, yet we really are dreaming if we think they could appear on this tour. I want to dream for a moment, though, just to remember how great they were. Co-eds may be getting a revival now with K.A.R.D seemingly gathering buzz, but Trouble Maker are co-ed at its peak. Watching Hyuna and Hyunseung feels like you’re being told a story. They move together so closely and sensually that I can’t help but think it’s all real. Nothing would be more exciting than to see them once again burn up the stage. Also, it’s way more possible than my real dream for this tour, a Dazzling Red reunion.

 

“What’s wrong with going out late at night?”

Literally nothing, Hyuna, and there never will be. The best possible reason to see Hyuna is because it will be a party. Those who think she’s too trashy for their taste are missing out on a K-pop concert that won’t be like the rest. Catch her in these cities:

February 22: Vancouver @ Hard Rock Casino
February 24: Toronto @ Danforth Music Hall
February 26: Montreal @ L’Olympia de Montreal
March 1: Chicago @ VIC Theatre
March 3: New York @ The Town Hall
March 6: Dallas @ Granada Theatre
March 9: San Francisco @ Regency Ballroom
March 10: Los Angeles @ The NOVO

Are you excited to see Hyuna in the US? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

5 Female K-Pop Acts Taking On Sexism

IU, Stellar, Yezi, EXID, Sunny Hill 5 Female K-Pop Acts Taking On Sexism
With one of the most influential K-pop music videos ever featuring nine girls dressing up like mannequins, swooning over a boy, and never being seen as women but dolls, it’s no surprise that the industry is struggling to claim a strong feminist identity and just overflowing with love songs disguised as feminist anthems instead, along with songs that are downright sexist (I’m looking at you, JYP). There’s no Spice Girls girl power in K-pop, and all of the best pro-girl anthems discuss how girls are amazing rather than address serious issues facing women around the world. But as K-pop grows and more artists come into their own, there’s a subtle changing going on, with several female K-pop acts taking on Sexism through their music and video concepts.

In a variety of different ways, ranging from taking on workplace sexual harassment or the infantilization of women, all of these ladies are doing their best to shun the old-school idea that women, and K-pop, are just filled with sugar and spice.

1. EXID

This K-pop quintet is one of the most vocally talented girl groups out there today, but shot to fame after a video of one members’ gyrating dance went viral. Only after the video of Hani’s movements was viewed millions of times by South Koreans did EXID receive the proper attention for their song “Up & Down.” And the group’s been learning from this ever since. Follow-up track “Ah Yeah” is EXID’s answer to people only discovering them because of their dance.

“Where do you live? Do you live alone?” is the first extremely creepy thing that a listener hears while listening to “Ah Yeah.” The music video addresses sexual harassment in the workplace and the sexualization of young women in Korea, with an English-language teacher being purposely mistaken as a porn star and a video of the members dancing blurred out and receiving a 19+ rating — a dig at the Korean music industry’s imperceivable rules for music video ratings.

The most important message of “Ah Yeah” female mannequins wear sashes saying “no more” over their breasts and genitalia. While girl groups like Twice, Oh My Girl, and GFRIEND are making waves for their urban, chic, sweet, etc. images, “Ah Yeah” is attacking the K-pop industry and taking a stance against the very sexualization that landed them where they are today.


Also on KultScene: Zico’s Singles Ranked Worst to Best

2. IU

The so-called princess of K-pop made it big with songs like “Good Day” and “You and I,” but it was last year’s “Twenty-Three” that showed IU for who she really is: A woman coming into her own. And that got her in a lot of trouble.

The trouble surrounding another song off of the same album aside, “Twenty-Three” is the first time that IU addresses her maturing from a girl to a woman, and it’s something that many Koreans weren’t ready to hear. Her music video, which features IU as an Alice In Wonderland-sort caught between the whimsy of youth and the responsibilities and desires of being an adult, was accused of being a Lolita-inspired concept that infantilized IU. Rather than focusing on the honest take on her general maturity and sexual awakening that IU struggles with in “Twenty-Three,” IU’s haters threw the woman under a bus and she became persona non-grata to many domestically, despite the artistry of the album and missed the point entirely.

3. Stellar

Where to start with Stellar? The girl group has made a name for themselves angling to get attention with overly sexual dances and performance outfits, while at the same time mocking all the people who are hating on them for doing just that. Songs like “Vibrato” features the women of Stellar locked in boxes, compared to Barbie, and overall under the lense of the industry that hates them for being the sexual women they really are. Vaginal and menstrual imagery permeate the video, as if daring people to ignore the fact that Stellar is made up of women with human needs.

Their latest track, “Sting,” takes Stellar once again under the lense, but this time as the victims of Internet hate. Korean netizens (Internet commenters), symbolized by computer mouse icons, are notorious for their attitude, and “Sting” takes Stellar’s fight against the double standard; because they’re female K-pop artists, showing skin and revelling in sexuality is frowned upon while male idol groups are praised as being manly for showing off their body.

The song is about a woman questioning her relationship, but the music video makes it clear that this is Stellar and they’re doing what they want despite the double standard. Sexy or innocent, vocally impressive or recycled pop, Stellar knows that they’ll never win. They’re too much woman for K-pop, but they’ll still keep doing what they want anyway.


Also on KultScene: 5 Mangas That Need To Be Made Into K-Dramas

4. Sunny Hill

One of the most underratedly social-aware acts in K-pop is Loen Entertainment’s Sunny Hill, a once-coed group turned into a female quartet. While they’ve never garnered major fame or acclaim for their songs, Sunny Hill’s songs consistently blast convention and argue for people doing things the way they want. “Is The White Horse Coming?” breaks down the obsession with dating based on wealth, looks, and education over personality and love, comparing dating in modern day Korea (filled with blind dates and matchmakers) to the meat market.

Meanwhile “Darling of All Hearts” begins as a single girl’s guide to being alone, but then turns into a country-inspired anthem for anyone who is happy being on their own, throwing aside pop culture’s (and Korea’s) idea of women never being able to manage without a man to fulfill her. With a folksy-pop style that seems to contrast with their progressive message, Sunny Hill is one of the most socially aware K-pop groups around today. (So hopefully they’ll release something new soon!)

5. Yezi

Yezi, a member of the girl group Fiestar, made it big during last year’s season of Mnet’s “Unpretty Rapstar,” garnering fans left and right. Her single, released during the competition, depicts Yezi as a “Mad Dog,” who goes on the offense to the men who sexualize her and the women who try to devalue her. While other songs from 2015 mentioned in this list are about women coming into their own, Yezi’s is the only one that goes on the attack so adamantly, questioning everything about the K-pop industry and Korea’s overall attitude towards woman.

The rapper is at her best while questioning those who belittle her for staying an idol while she knows it’s the only way to fame, and then attacking them for seeing her just as an image to pleasure themselves with. Literally. “Jacking off while watching my breast shot gifs,” she raps, “gripping a rag in one hand, typing on the keyboard with the other, no matter how much you diss me, you can’t console yourself.”

On the other hand, SanE’s lackluster rap that calls Yezi a “bitch” even with “permission” derails the song’s message. Especially given that he ignorantly states that equality of the sexes is being able to insult one another. The song, thematically, could’ve stood on its own without the male rapper. However, given that Yezi is still not that famous, it’s understandable why San E was involved.

Which is exactly what Yezi did in her follow up, the recently released “Cider.” Going on the offense once again, Yezi let’s it all out, calling out all the haters who looked down on her for aggressive, seemingly anti-feminine attitude on “Unpretty Rapstar.” The gloves are off, and this K-pop fierce rapstar lives up to her name.

What’s your favorite K-pop dig against sexism? Share your picks and thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

K-Pop Idols And The Formidable American Debut

CL joins a line of K-Pop idols who have decided to enter the American music market, but the history of idols in the United States isn’t something that the 2NE1 leader will want to necessary emulate. The most talked about idols to have attempted to enter the American market to date are Rain, BoA, Se7en, Girls’ Generation, SPICA, and The Wonder Girls. Their efforts have done much for Korean music in the US, but the popularity that Korean idols find in many countries didn’t transfer over, and no Korean idols became superstars in Hollywood.

K-Pop made national headlines with the explosion of Psy’s Gangnam Style, the success of which Psy himself admits was a complete accident. In comparison, the other attempts to break into the US were hardly accidents, and were met with varying levels of success.

Rain

In one of the more bizarre debuts into the American entertainment industry, Rain gained national attention after beating out Stephen Colbert for the number one spot on a reader-ranked Time 100 Poll in 2007. Rain had already appeared on Time’s 2006 World 100 Most Influential People list following his immense popularity in Asia, and on CNN’s TalkAsia in 2005. But Stephen Colbert took Rain’s win personally, and his Comedy Central audience soon learned a little bit about Rain.

Rain continued being ranked on Times’ lists for the next few years, and had a short guest appearance on the Colbert Report where the two had a dance off.

Even though he gained fame in Asia first as a singer before becoming an actor, Rain made his formal debut in the U.S. as an actor, taking roles in Speed Racer in 2008 and Ninja Assassin in 2009. He even won MTV’s Biggest Badass Award for his role in the latter film.

Rain stopped all of his American activities due to military service, but appeared in August 2014’s The Prince with Bruce Willis and John Cusack. The film was poorly received and Rain has yet to announce future plans to act in the United States. However, following Lee Byung Hyun, Rain is one of Korea’s most impressive action exports to Hollywood.

Success Rate: 80% — He’s still active, and if he lands the right role, Rain could do really well in Hollywood as an action star.

BoA

BoA and Rain are best of the top solo idols that Korea has seen, both known for their singing and dancing, and both headed to the United States. BoA tried entering the American market through an album release in 2008, with the English language album BoA. The album included singles Eat You Up, Energetic, and I Did It For Love, as well as Look Who’s Talking, which was originally partially written and recorded by Britney Spears but never publicly released. The album and songs appeared on Billboard charts in the United states, as well as several foreign charts.

BoA performed at MTV Studios in Times Square and appeared at the 2008 Jingle Ball. She also performed at the 2009 San Francisco Pride Festival, where Solange Knowles also performed. The singer also starred in the movie Make Your Move, alongside Dancing With The Stars’ Derek Hough. The movie was released in 2014, after several years in post production. BoA hasn’t really pursued the American industry in some time, instead choosing to focus on Korea and Japan.

Success Rate: 40% — BoA’s songs are as great as any of her Korean ones, but they didn’t gain the attention that they deserve. Make Your Move was not very well received.

The Wonder Girls

Perhaps the most daring, The Wonder Girls devoted themselves to an American debut. The girl group had reached success with addictive hits like Tell Me and Nobody, and JYP Entertainment decided that the five member group would do well in the U.S. The members released some of their songs in English and went on tour with The Jonas Brothers in 2009, acting as the opening act. The Wonder Girls became the first Korean group to have a song on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart when the English version of Nobody entered.

However, Sunmi left the group in the middle of American promotions, and Hyelim replaced her. The Wonder Girls then returned to Korea and released 2 Different Tears in English, Korean, and Chinese. The group then went back to the United States and had several concerts. After some more Asian activities, The Wonder Girls returned to the United States with The DJ Is Mine, and appeared in Teen Nick made-for-tv movie, The Wonder Girls. After releasing Like This in Korea and making a Japanese debut, The Wonder Girls returned to the U.S. in July 2012 with Like Money, featuring Akon. Despite the efforts, Like Money didn’t reach success in the US.

Success Rate: 60% — The Wonder Girls tried really hard, but broken up international activities meant that the group didn’t spend enough time in Korea, the U.S., Japan, or China. World domination would be nice, but The Wonder Girls overextended themselves and hurt their chances in both North America and Asia. the group released some great songs and did some amazing things, so it’s really unfortunate that they didn’t reach American fame.

Se7en

In 2007, Se7en announced that he would be heading into the U.S. market. However, after a collaboration with Fabolous, This Is My Year, was leaked, Se7en’s American debut showed signs of problems, even though Verizon Wireless helped sponsor some of his events. The singer held a showcase in New York City and released Girls feat. Lil’ Kim. The song charted on Billboard‘s World Chart, and the music video aired on BET on June 2nd, 2009.

Success Rate: 30% –He’s the first one to really have tested out the waters of what it would be like for an idol to try making it as a singer in the US, but his test didn’t turn out so well. Se7en gained a major company’s sponsorship, but after the song leak and Girls failed, he returned to Korea and went back to making music that is more suited for him. It’s likely that Se7en decided to cut his losses and head back to Asia.

Girls’ Generation

With two Korean-American members (now only one, after the departure of Jessica from the group), one of the most popular girl groups in South Korea and Asia couldn’t resist the temptation of the United States and Hollywood. Girls’ Generation signed with Universal Music Group in the U.S. in 2011, and the group promoted The Boys there the following year. Girls’ Generation became the first Korean group to appear on Late Night With David Letterman and Live! With Kelly.

Since then, Girls’ Generation has performed at KCON in the USA, and has regularly had songs appear on Billboard charts. Girls’ Generation TTS, the subgroup, has also charted.

Success Rate: 60% — Just like the Wonder Girls, Girls’ Generation gained a lot of hype, but the songs aren’t gaining traction outside of the K-Pop community. With Jessica’s removal from the group, they’re down an English-speaking member, making it less likely that they will attempt further major promotions in the U.S.

SPICA

The latest girl group to try it out in the United States is SPICA. SPICA released the power, inspiring song I Did It in 2014 and debuted it at KCON the same month. SPICA also performed on a local Los Angeles morning show, Good Morning LA, and held a showcase performance, which Kultscene covered.  The group then went back to Korea and it is unclear whether SPICA will return stateside.

Success Rate: 0-100%  — SPICA has the sound and style that could make it big in the United States, but if the group doesn’t come back, then I Did It will still be a great song, but nothing more. It’s too early to really say whether the group is a success, but I Did It is possibly the best attempt of a K-Pop group to sing a song in English.

CL is trying her hand at it next, and its unclear as to how she’ll compare to the other idols who have attempted to break into the U.S. market. The odds don’t appear to be in her favor, but another imported female rapper — Iggy Azalea- is one of the most popular rappers in the world right now, so what’s to stop CL from seeking success?

How do you think CL will fare in the U.S.? Should any of these idols give America another whirl? What other idols would you like to see try their hand in Hollywood?

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