Profile CL: From 2NE1 Leader to Global Superstar – A Look at Her Music Journey (2024 Updated)

Dive into the world of CL, the iconic leader of 2NE1! Explore her journey from K-Pop leader to global star, & discover her talents beyond rapping

Who is CL?

CL is known to the audience for her appearance with the music group 2NE1 and their hit songs. The female rapper impresses the audience with her strong personality and captivating rap voice. Not only that, but CL also leaves an impression on the audience with her unique “cool” fashion style.

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In 2021, CL was also recognized when she signed a contract with Satellite414 – the management company of Adele, Beyoncé, Dua Lipa, Duran Duran, and Simon Pegg.

Profile of the female rapper CL:

  • Real name: Lee Chae-rin (이채린)
  • Stage name: CL
  • Date of birth: 26/02/1991
  • Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
  • Occupation: Rapper, singer, songwriter
  • Music genres: K-pop, hip hop, reggae fusion, trap
  • Years active: 2007-present
  • Instagram: chaelincl
  • Twitter: CL
  • Youtube: CL Official Channel

The rapper CL was born in Seoul, South Korea. However, she is fluent in four different languages: Korean, Japanese, English, and French. Especially in English, she is very proficient in this language because she has spent time living abroad with her family for many years.

Before debuting with the music group 2NE1, CL was a promising trainee at JYP. Not only in music, but CL is also considered a Fashion Icon in South Korea. Her style has impressed fashion designers such as Jeremy Scott and Castel Bajac.

CL’s Career

The beginning of her career with the group 2NE1

Before debuting, CL and 2NE1 collaborated with the group Big Bang on “Lollipop.” By 2009, CL, along with three other members Bom, Dara, and Minzy, officially debuted on SBS’s The Music Trend.

In the same year, 2NE1 achieved much success with the chart-topping single “I Don’t Care” from their first mini-album. Alongside that was the Song of the Year award at the Mnet Asian Music Awards.


Also in 2019, she collaborated with her colleagues within the company, G-Dragon and Teddy Park (1TYM), for the single “The Leaders,” taken from G-Dragon’s first solo album.

During her tenure as the leader of 2NE1, CL and the group members created memorable, impactful songs that stirred the Kpop community with unique music, such as:

  • “I Am the Best”
  • “I Love You”
  • “Lonely”
  • “Fire”
  • “Come Back Home”

Besides, the singer also released her first solo single in May 2013 titled “The Baddest Female.” Her talent shone through as she wrote lyrics and co-composed songs like “Crush,” “If I Were You,” and “Baby I Miss You.” Even her solo tracks “MTBD” and “Scream” were penned by herself.

CL starts her solo career

In 2014, due to the temporary hiatus of the group 2NE1, its members began individual activities. CL, in particular, planned to debut as a solo artist in the United States. Therefore, she collaborated with Scooter Braun as her manager. In 2015, the artist released the single “Hello Bitches.”

By May 2016, YG and the other members decided to officially disband 2NE1. However, CL, the group leader, continued to sign a solo artist contract with YG Entertainment.

After the disbandment of 2NE1, CL continued her solo career with the release of the single “Lifted” in August 2016. This single made a significant impact as it appeared in the top 30 of the iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap chart within three hours of its release. Her talent was recognized by Time magazine, labeling her as the “future of K-pop in the United States.”

Departure from YG Entertainment and joining Konnect Entertainment

In 2019, CL officially did not renew her contract with YG. However, she continued to dedicate herself to her art. After leaving YG, CL released previously unreleased music products from the album “In The Name Of Love.”

Until July 2021, CL officially signed a management contract with Konnect Entertainment (a company founded by Kang Daniel) to manage her activities in South Korea. The singer also announced that she would release the album “Alpha” in October 2021.

CL begins to develop her career in the United States

According to the latest information, rapper CL has signed a contract with Satellite414. This is the management company of Adele, Beyoncé, Dua Lipa, Duran Duran, and Simon Pegg. The purpose of this agreement is to develop international activities for the female rapper. These are the initial steps for CL to start developing her career in the United States and Europe.

Dating News/ Rumors

During her career, CL has encountered numerous dating rumors.

Is CL dating Ash Stymest?

There have been many reports suggesting that CL once dated male model Ash Stymest. The male model appeared in 2NE1’s MV “Gotta Be You” released in 2014. Additionally, the two appeared to be quite comfortable and close with each other. This also fueled the rumors.

The rumor reached its peak when netizens noticed that Ash Stymest had CL’s name tattooed on his wrist in Korean characters. However, some fans argued that the male model was a hardcore fan of the female rapper, hence the tattoo.

Dating rumors with a graphic designer

In 2015, a series of evidence surfaced indicating that CL was dating a graphic designer known as Art Dealer, causing a stir in the Korean online community. The two were frequently spotted together at various locations. They both wore matching outfits and badges. Another piece of evidence pointed out that CL used the hashtag #purrrple, and the next day, Art Dealer used a similar hashtag #purple in his Instagram post.

Furthermore, during a show, Dara, a member of 2NE1, drew a picture of CL’s ideal boyfriend, which bore a striking resemblance to Art Dealer. However, neither of them has confirmed these rumors.

Controversies/ Scandals

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CL (2NE1) faced intense opposition for using the Quran in a song

It was thought that 2016 would be a peaceful year for CL, with her beloved single “Lifted” being well-received by audiences and her successful world tour. However, recently, CL found herself embroiled in a controversy related to religious issues.

The issue arose a few days ago when CL decided to perform the song “MTBD” (Mental Breakdown) during a concert in Los Angeles. The problem here is that this song contains a segment of music that sounds like a passage from the Quran (also known as the “Qur’an”). The Quran is a religious text of utmost importance and sanctity for those who follow Islam. This is why the use of the Quran in any form of entertainment is considered disrespectful to Islam.

CL (2NE1) sparked controversy by appearing in a fashion magazine wearing provocative attire

In 2022, CL posted three photos on her personal Instagram as part of a collaboration project with the UK magazine The Wow.

CL did not hesitate to wear daring outfits. The female rapper also struck provocative poses. Immediately, netizens engaged in fierce debate.

Many fans believe that CL’s photos have a strong artistic quality and are in line with her style, as well as Western standards. However, many netizens criticized the singer for being too revealing and inappropriate, not in line with the “traditional values” of a Korean idol.

Fun Facts

  • Multilingual Queen: CL is fluent in four languages: Korean, Japanese, English, and French. This comes in handy considering she spent parts of her childhood living in Japan and France.
  • Early Hustle: Before joining 2NE1, CL actually trained under JYP Entertainment, the agency behind groups like TWICE and ITZY. She even shared a dorm with Sohee, a member of Wonder Girls!
  • Clean Freak: While known for her fierce stage presence, CL is also a self-proclaimed “clean freak”. She was actually responsible for keeping the 2NE1 dorm tidy!
  • Unexpected Inspiration: One of CL’s musical inspirations is American rapper Lil’ Kim. She has cited her as a role model and influence on her own rapping style.
  • Movie Debut: In 2018, CL made her Hollywood debut in the action movie “Mile 22” alongside Mark Wahlberg. She played the character “Queen”!
  • Fashion Muse: CL has become a fashion icon, even serving as the muse for renowned designers like Jeremy Scott and Alexander Wang.
  • Bonus Fact: CL invented her own dance move called “The Roll Dab”. You can try searching for it online to see it in action!
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