articleK-Pop

From 2NE1’s forced disbandment to Big Bang’s comeback after controversies, what remains for YG’s legacy?

Big Bang’s comeback news is making YG fans think of 2NE1.

YG Entertainment (hereinafter referred to as YG) continues to make reckless moves. Following the forced disbandment of the group 2NE1, the company announced Big Bang’s upcoming comeback.

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According to YG on February 7, Big Bang (G-Dragon, Taeyang, TOP, Daesung) will release a new song this spring. It was reported that the group has finished recording and will shoot a music video soon. This marks the release of Big Bang‘s new song for the first time in more than four years since the single “Flower Road” released in March 2018.

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TOP will terminate his exclusive contract with YG in line with Big Bang’s comeback. His relationship with YG will end, but he will remain as a member of Big Bang in the future.

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YG praised Big Bang as a true artist group and a leader in K-pop in an official press release earlier in the day. “Big Bang members joined the military one by one and had a long four-year hiatus. As such, expectations and responses from many global fans are expected to be explosive,” said the company.

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Big Bang has proved itself to be a K-pop representative group with numerous hit songs such as “Last Farewell,” “Day By Day,” “FANTASIC BABY,” “BANG BANG BANG,” and “FXXK IT.” Many K-pop juniors cited Big Bang as their role models.

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However, the status of the Big Bang at this point has changed. From the drug smoking scandal of G-Dragon and TOP to the controversy over illegal prostitution entertainment facilities in Daesung’s building, the so-called Burning Sun controversy (sex trafficking, prostitution, sexual violence, 9 specific economic crimes), business embezzlement, habitual gambling, and assault. The only crime-free member is Taeyang.

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As a result, the group’s series of controversies had a significant adverse effect on the overall image of K-pop even during the long hiatus of Big Bang. The agency also covered up for Big Bang because it was their history and a big source of revenue, although it is impossible not to know Big Bang‘s wrong actions and the strong criticism from the public.

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In addition, YG labels those who have undermined the status of K-pop as “a group of true artists” and “the leader of K-pop.” There are still fans who consume goods and support Big Bang despite its members’ criminal acts, showing their willingness to increase the group’s sales even at the risk of criticism. YG‘s current status is so upsetting that the title of K-pop’s representative agency is no longer considered worthy. 

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YG‘s wrongdoing six years ago was also re-examined due to the push for Big Bang’s comeback. 2NE1, including leader CL, Sandara Park, Park Bom, and Gong Minzy, enjoyed huge success with the release of smash hits such as “Fire,” “I Don’t Care,” “It Hurts,” “Follow Me,” “Clap Your Hands,” “You And I,” “Lonely,” “I Miss You,” “I’m the best”, “Come Back Home,” “Gotta Be You”,… Together with Big Bang, 2NE1 was known as YG‘s two top groups during the 2nd generation of K-pop. However, 2NE1 suddenly announced their disbandment in November 2016.

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At the time, YG said in an official press release, “In May 2016, 2NE1’s exclusive contract expired and Gong Minzy will no longer be under YG. After long discussions with the rest of the members, YG decided to officially disband 2NE1. 2NE1 has been YG’s representative girl group for the past 7 years, so the disappointment and sadness is hard to put into words, but we have come to the decision that it would be best to not continue their activities.”

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However, in an interview last year, Gong Minzy and CL created a stir by revealing that they found out through an article that 2NE1 was disbanding and it was heartbreaking to them. It turns out that YG’s official statement that they decided to disband 2NE1 after consulting with the members was untrue. 

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A popular opinion is that what YG did is rude to both the singers who have been with them for 7 years and the fans who have always supported and waited for the group. It was belatedly known in 2014 that Park Bom received a suspension of arrest for smuggling unlicensed drugs (amphetamine) from the U.S. in 2010. Considering that it was realistically difficult for YG to continue 2NE1’s activities with Park Bom, the company still drew fierce criticism for deceiving the artists, fans, and the public with a false position.

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At that time, the final decision maker was Yang Hyun-suk, who recently stepped down from his duties as YG’s chief producer due to a series of unsavory controversies such as gambling on a billion-dollar expedition. Many netizens are wondering why YG, the company that claimed the disbandment of 2NE1 was an inevitable decision, was so generous to the unprecedented “problematic group Big Bang.

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