2NE1

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2NE1
Left to right: Dara, CL, Bom and Minzy
Left to right: Dara, CL, Bom and Minzy
Background information
OriginSeoul, South Korea
Genres
Years active2009 (2009)–2016 (2016)[1]
Labels
Associated acts
Websiteyg-2ne1.com
Past members

2NE1 (Korean투애니원; RRtuaeniwon, IPA: [tʰu.ɛ.ni.wʌn]) was a South Korean girl group formed by YG Entertainment that was active between 2009 and 2016. The group consisted of four members: Bom, CL, Dara, and Minzy. Known for breaking the girl group stereotype in K-pop, experimentation across musical styles, their fashion and live performances, 2NE1 was considered one of the most successful and influential South Korean girl groups during their career.[2][3][4] Their discography and live performances have caught the attention of numerous publications worldwide, including The New York Times, who named 2NE1's New Evolution Global Tour stop at the Prudential Center in New Jersey as one of the "Best Concerts of 2012". 2NE1 has reportedly sold a cumulative total of over 66.5 million records, which would make them one of the best-selling girl groups of all time.[5][6]

The group was first unveiled to the South Korean public in March 2009, after appearing alongside labelmate Big Bang on the promotional single "Lollipop". 2NE1 rose to fame with the release of their debut eponymous extended play 2NE1 (2009), which produced the lead singles "Fire" and "I Don't Care". Both singles instantly received positive reception, bringing the group to national attention and achieved success in both South Korea and other parts of Asia. "I Don't Care" received the Song of the Year award at the 2009 Mnet Asian Music Awards, making them the first idol group to receive a daesang award in the same year of their debut. Throughout their career, 2NE1 amassed prominent digital sales and garnered nine number-one hits on the Gaon Digital Chart— the most among any idol group at the time, which include "Go Away", "I Am the Best", "I Love You", and "Come Back Home".

2NE1 followed up their debut EP with the release of their first studio-album To Anyone (2010) and 2011 sophomore EP, the latter of which produced the four chart-topping singles "Don't Cry", "Lonely", "I Am the Best" and "Ugly". Following their 2012 single "I Love You", the group embarked on their New Evolution Global Tour, which made stops in 11 cities in seven countries in Asia and North America, and set a milestone in the industry for being the first world tour for a K-pop girl group.[7] Their critically successful final studio album Crush in 2014 became the highest charting K-pop album on the Billboard 200 for more than two years, peaking at number sixty-one.[8]

The quartet also conducted a parallel career in Japan, first releasing Nolza (2011) and following up with the studio albums Collection (2012) and the Japanese version of Crush (2014). Following a long hiatus, Minzy announced her departure from the group in April 2016,[9] while the remaining members officially disbanded that November.[1] Their final single "Goodbye" was released on January 21, 2017.

History[edit]

2009–2010: Early work, debut and commercial success[edit]

2NE1 in the 6th Asia Song Festival 2009

2NE1 was first mentioned by South Korean press in late 2008. Both Spica's Bohyung and Fiestar's Linzy were trainees alongside the 2NE1 members, but they were eliminated before the group's debut.[10] In early 2009, YG Entertainment formally announced the group would consist of four members and would debut in May of that year.[11] The company stated the group had trained for four years and that their debut album would contain songs produced by 1TYM's leader Teddy Park.[11][12][13] The group's name was initially announced as "21" but due to the discovery of a singer with the same name, the group was quickly renamed "2NE1".[14] The name, when pronounced in Korean to approximate English as "To Anyone" or (US) "Twenty One", combines the phrases "21st century" and "New Evolution".[15]

2NE1's first extended play (EP) 2NE1 (2009) was preceded by two singles, the first of which, "Lollipop", was recorded with label mate Big Bang and released on March 27, 2009, to promote the LG Cyon phone.[11] Though a music video was filmed,[16] "Lollipop" was not promoted because of its product advertisement affiliation, which caused issues with the network chart eligibility.[17] The second single, "Fire", was written and produced by 1TYM's Teddy Park.[18] It was released that May and includes elements of hip-hop and reggae.[19] Two versions of the video for "Fire" were produced—a "space" version and a "street" version.[20] Within the first 24 hours of release, both of the videos received over one million views.[21] The song "Fire" and "2NE1" became popular online search terms.[22] The final single, "I Don't Care", was released alongside their first eponymous EP in July.[23] Promotional activities quickly followed to demonstrate a softer, more feminine image of the group to contrast the edgier image previously portrayed in "Fire".[23][24] "I Don't Care" became the most-downloaded song of that month, and was later named music portal Bugs most downloaded song of the year. It led the chart with four of the group's other songs in the top 100, making 2NE1 the act with the most Bugs top 100 songs in 2009.[25] In January 2010, the song was ranked number-one on Cyworld's year-end popularity chart, thus becoming the third consecutive track by a YG group to rank at the top of the annual list.[26]

2NE1 filming the music video for "Can't Nobody" in 2010

Although group members recorded and released their own solo materials, 2NE1 performed a reggae version of "I Don't Care" on Inkigayo in September;[27] the reggae version became popular and it was released to digital outlets on September 3 as a digital single.[27] Buoyed by the success of their singles, sales of 2NE1 reached 100,000 copies by the end of the year.[28] 2NE1 later performed at the 6th Asia Song Festival, representing Korea alongside three other groups and winning the Asian Newcomer's award.[29]

In February 2010, 2NE1 released "Try to Follow Me" through digital outlets to promote the Samsung Corby cellphone with no prior announcement or promotion.[30] The song peaked at number one on the Gaon Digital Chart.[31] In mid-2010, 2NE1 traveled to Los Angeles and London to record English-language songs for an American debut album with music producer will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas. The group recorded 10 songs in their initial sessions.[32] On September 9, the group released their first full-length album To Anyone, which debuted at number seven on the Billboard World Album Chart.[33] Prior to its release, the album had received 120,000 preorders.[34] Four of To Anyone's twelve tracks were released as singles; the top-three hits "Clap Your Hands", "Can't Nobody", and "Go Away" were made available in conjunction with the album's release.[35] 2NE1 subsequently became the first in K-pop history to have all three title-tracks from a single album rank number one on different music programs, as well the first artist to rank atop the Inkigayo chart for 4 weeks in a row.[36][37] The fourth single from To Anyone, "It Hurts (Slow)", was released on October 31 and was a top-three hit.[38][39] On November 26, a fifth track called "Don't Stop the Music" was released; the song was recorded as a "special gift for Thai fans" and was also used in conjunction with the group's Yamaha Fiore endorsement.[40]

2011–2012: Japanese debut, international breakthrough, and first concert tours[edit]

On January 19, 2011, "Can't Nobody (English Version)" was released on the Japanese digital retailer Recochoku as a ringtone and ringback tone.[41] The following month, an accompanying music video was made available for download through iTunes Japan. The group's Japanese debut single "Go Away" was released as a ringtone on March 9,[42] and was later used as the theme song for the Japanese television program Mezamashi TV.[43] On March 16, 2NE1's first Korean EP 2NE1 was made available in Japan; promotional activities were canceled due to the Tōhoku Earthquake and tsunami.[44] 2NE1 debuted at number 24 on the Oricon charts, selling 3,860 copies in its first week of release.[45] Initial plans for their official Japanese debut on Music Station were postponed until later that year due to the earthquake,[46] though the group participated in the Naver "Pray for Japan" campaign alongside other Korean celebrities to raise funds for earthquake victims.[47]

2NE1 at a Nikon campaign ceremony in 2011

The group returned to South Korea and released their second EP 2NE1 (2011), which bore the number-one hits "Lonely", "I Am the Best" and "Ugly", as well as the top-three hit "Hate You".[48][49] In addition, Bom's solo single "Don't Cry" achieved number-one for two consecutive weeks. The EP itself was a major success, topping the Gaon Chart and selling over 108,000 copies.[50] Spin Magazine ranked the EP as the sixth best pop album of 2011, placing ahead of Coldplay, Ellie Goulding and Rihanna.[51] Following the end of promotions in August, 2NE1 held their first solo concert—titled the Nolza tour—at the Olympic Hall in Chamsil Olympic Park, Seoul. Originally scheduled for August 27 and 28, tickets for both dates were sold-out instantly; as a result, an additional show for August 26 was added due to high demand from fans.[52] The singles from their sophomore mini-album showed to be some of the most popular songs in South Korea during the year: three of the EP's singles placed within the top 10 on the year-end Gaon Digital Chart for 2011, with "Lonely" ranking at number 4, "Don't Cry" ranking at number 5, and "I Am the Best" landing at number 7.[53]

The group kicked off the Japanese leg of their Nolza tour on September 19 and 20 at Yokohama Arena, leading up to the release of the Japanese edition of their second EP 2NE1 (2011), where it was re-issued as Nolza on September 21, 2011. It went on to sell over 48,000 physical copies and claimed the number one position on the Oricon Albums Chart, becoming only the second South Korean girl group album to do so.[54] The Japanese-language versions of "I Am the Best", "Hate You", "Go Away", and "Lonely" were also released. That October, MTV's Iggy held a global competition in which 10 bands from all around the world competed in a voting competition for the title of "Best New Band".[55] With their song "I Am the Best", the group was awarded the title on November 10, 2011, making it their first American award.[56] 2NE1 traveled to and performed at New York City's Times Square in December to accept the honor, where the publication described them as "an unparalleled presence in today’s K-Pop scene".[57] At the end of 2011, 2NE1 was nominated for the Japan Record Award for "Best New Artist", losing to Japanese girl group Fairies.[58][59]

2NE1 at the YouTube K-pop Awards in November 2011

On March 28, 2012, 2NE1 released their first full-length Japanese album Collection along with their second Japanese single "Scream". The album includes Japanese versions of their Korean songs such as "Love Is Ouch", "Fire", and "I Don't Care", and a cover of Madonna's 1984 hit song "Like A Virgin". Multiple editions of the album were released, some of which include a DVD containing the group's Japanese and Korean music videos, according to Oricon's music website. The album peaked at number 5 on the Oricon Daily Chart and went on to sell over 32,000 copies in Japan.[60][54] Later that year, 2NE1 were invited to perform for the first time at 2012's Springroove festival in Japan alongside some top American and Japanese hip hop artists. 2NE1 and the subgroup GD & TOP had been invited to play at the festival the previous year but it was canceled due to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster that occurred.[61] 2NE1 also collaborated with Japanese hip-hop group M-Flo for the song "She's So (Outta Control)", which is included on M-Flo's sixth studio album Square One. "She's So (Outta Control)" was released as the leading track from the album two weeks before its release on February 29, 2012.[62] "She's So (Outta Control)" reached number 43 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 chart.[63]

In recognition of their unique music, fashion style and contributions in the global spread of Hallyu, they were chosen by Cheil Communications in April to speak at the world's largest advertising event, the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in France, in June to discuss the rise of the Korean wave for international advertising and communication experts. In a survey conducted by the Paris office of the Korea Tourism Organization, 2NE1 were voted as the favorite K-pop girl group among French Hallyu fans with nearly 65% of the vote.[64] The group subsequently concluded their Japanese promotions by performing at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards Japan, which took place on June 23 at the Makuhari Messe, where 2NE1 won the "Best New Artist Video" award for their song "I Am the Best".[65] A non-album single "I Love You" was released in their home country on July 5, 2012, topping the Gaon Digital Chart and becoming their sixth number-one single.[66]

At the end of that month, 2NE1 embarked on their first worldwide concert tour and second overall, titled the New Evolution Global Tour. It saw 16 shows in various countries throughout Asia and North America from July to December, and was named the industry's first world tour by a K-pop girl group.[7] Following the group's Los Angeles concert, 2NE1 become the first South Korean girl group to be listed on the Billboard Current Box Score listing, ranking at number 29 and grossed over $650,000 from the show in ticket sales alone. Black Eyed Peas members Will.i.am and Apl.de.ap[67] and chairman of Interscope Records Jimmy Iovine attended the show, and the venue presented 2NE1 a commemorative plaque of recognition for being the first sold-out performance from an Asian act.[68] Shortly after the conclusion of the tour, 2NE1 along with Big Bang made MTV Style's list of "Best Band Style of 2012"; the two YG Entertainment groups were the only Asian acts to appear on the list of 10, which included several western groups including One Direction, The Wanted, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Destiny's Child, Fun, and No Doubt.[69]

2013–2014: Collaborations, worldwide recognition, and world tour[edit]

2NE1's hologram pavilion at Everland in 2013

On March 14, 2013, 2NE1 released the English-language single "Take the World On", which is a collaboration with American singer will.i.am. The song had previously been used in a commercial for the Intel Ultrabook computer.[70][71] On March 21, in an interview with Elle, CL confirmed the group had not yet planned an album for the United States but wanted to produce more songs in English.[72] A second collaboration with will.i.am brought forth "Gettin' Dumb", which this time included his bandmate apl.de.ap. The song appears on will.i.am's second album #willpower, which was released on April 23, 2013.[73] 2NE1's next singles were not tied to an album: the chart-topping reggae-themed "Falling in Love" was released on July 8, 2013.[74] On July 22, the song was voted by readers as MTV Iggy's "Song of the Summer", where the publication wrote, "reggae and hip hop are just the right combination, making it the most suitable song for the summer to hear on the beach".[75] On August 7, the second non-album single "Do You Love Me" was released, and became a top three hit. In October, it was announced that 2NE1 were appointed honorary ambassadors for the Korea Brand & Entertainment Expo 2013 in London, England.[76] The group's third and final standalone single of 2013 was released on November 21—the electropop-infused ballad "Missing You". The song topped Gaon Digital Chart[77] and garnered more than one million digital downloads by the end of the following year.[78]

"For this album, we pretty much locked ourselves up in the studio and gave it 100%. We've also grown a lot as women since our first album, and you'll be able to hear that on this record. Also, since I wrote a lot of the music, it's even more personal to us than our previous records."

–CL discussing the musicality behind their second Korean studio album Crush[79]

In January 2014, 2NE1 appeared in an episode of The Bachelor and later appeared in the finale of America's Next Top Model, which was filmed in South Korea.[80][81] The following month, 2NE1 released their second Korean-language studio album Crush (2014).[82][83] The singles "Come Back Home" and "Gotta Be You" were released at the same time; "Come Back Home" peaked at number one on the Gaon Digital Chart for two consecutive weeks and marked the group's ninth and final number-one single in South Korea, extending their lead at the time for the most number-one singles on Gaon among idol groups.[84] Furthermore, the rest of the songs on the record also experienced success on the charts; 9 out of the 10 tracks off of Crush placed within the top 20 positions on the weekly comprehensive chart for two weeks.[85] Internationally, Crush sold 10,000 copies in America and peaked at #61 on Billboard 200, simultaneously setting a new U.S record for "Highest Charting and Best Selling K-pop Album", beating out fellow idol groups Girls' Generation and Big Bang.[86] After breaking chart records for Crush, the Los Angeles Times acknowledged the album as "doing more important work than crossing over ― it's ushering in K-pop’s future, in America and everywhere."[87] The music video for "Gotta Be You" was released on May 21 and served to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the group's debut.[88] On June 25, 2014, 2NE1 released the Japanese edition of Crush, which went on to chart at number four on the Oricon Daily Album Chart.[60]

All Or Nothing World Tour in Singapore, 2014

Following the release of Crush, the group held their third concert tour, titled the All Or Nothing World Tour. It included stops in numerous countries and territories across Asia, including China, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Japan, and Malaysia. From March to October, they performed a total of twenty concerts across 16 cities, totaling more than 180,000 attendees.[89][90][91]

The group received worldwide recognition at the end of 2014; Crush appeared on several publication's year-end lists and was the only record by an Asian artist to be selected for Fuse TV's "40 Best Albums of 2014",[92] as well as Rolling Stones Best Pop Albums of 2014—ranking alongside albums by Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and Maroon 5.[93] The album was further ranked first in Billboard magazine's list of "Best K-pop Albums" of the year.[94] Crush also placed eleventh in Billboard's year-end World Album chart, making it the chart's first entry by a K-pop group since its inception.[95][96] In August 2014, the group's 2011 single "I Am the Best" was featured in Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 commercial "Head to Head", which was broadcast across multiple territories worldwide.[97] The song subsequently became the first by a K-pop group to achieve the number-one position on the Billboard US World Digital Song Sales chart,[98] and received airplay on radio stations in New York and Boston, becoming one of the few non-English songs to have been played on American radios.[99] Due to the renewed popularity of the song, it was released in the US on December 10 by Capitol Records. Later that month, MTV Iggy included "Gotta Be You" in their list of top 14 global pop songs of 2014, and was further voted amongst readers as the best track off of the list, thereby making it MTV Iggy’s "Song of the Year".[100][101] On December 21, 2014, 2NE1 performed the songs "Crush" and "Come Back Home" at the 2014 SBS Gayo Daejeon,[102] and won the Best Female Group award.[103] In January of the following year, it was reported that 2NE1's earnings from the first half of 2014 totaled 27.5 billion (US$23.4 million), making them among the highest earning entertainers in South Korea.[104]

2015–2017: Hiatus and disbandment[edit]

In March 2015, 2NE1 were only one of the two Asian acts chosen as honorees at the 2015 YouTube Music Awards, where YouTube selected 50 of the biggest and emerging artists to watch in 2015 based on the greatest growth in YouTube views, subscribers and engagement over the past six months.[105] Following Bom's hiatus from the entertainment industry due to her drug scandal from the previous year, the other members of 2NE1 began exploring independent ventures throughout the rest of 2015, effectively sending the group into hiatus. Dara re-established her acting career by starring in web dramas such as Dr.Ian and We Broke Up, as well as KBS's Missing You. Minzy opened the Millennium Dance Academy.[106] CL embarked on a solo career in the United States with the release of her single "Hello Bitches". 2NE1's only group activity in 2015 was a surprise performance at the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards in Hong Kong. After CL's performance of her solo singles "The Baddest Female" and "Hello Bitches", all of 2NE1's members reunited to perform "Fire" and "I Am the Best".[107] The performance became the most-viewed MAMA performance by any girl group. It was applauded and as a result, Fuse named it one of the Best Performances of 2015, alongside artists such as Beyoncé and Madonna—making 2NE1 only one of the two non-western acts to have been mentioned by the publication.[108]

Despite not having made a comeback, 2NE1 was the 16th-most reblogged K-pop group on Tumblr for 2015[109] and Spotify mentioned both 2NE1 and CL in their "Year in Music" Twitter Campaign for achieving over one million listeners and being played for a "staggering" combined time of 165 years. The group also won China's 2016 Korea First Brand Grand Prize award for "Top 10 Most Anticipated K-Stars of 2016".[110] After more than a year of hiatus, YG Entertainment confirmed the departure of Minzy in April 2016, stating the group would continue as a trio.[9][111][112] Later that November, however, the company announced the disbandment of the group. CL and Dara remained signed as solo artists while Bom was released from her contract.[113] A last single titled "Goodbye" was released in January 2017 as a farewell to their fans;[88][114] inspired by a letter CL wrote to Minzy following her departure from the group.[115] The song topped the Billboard World Digital Songs chart.[116]

Artistry and image[edit]

Musical styles and influences[edit]

Known for musical experimentation, 2NE1 has assimilated various musical genres into their collective sound throughout their career, including hip-hop, R&B, electropop, reggae, and dancehall.[117] Their "ability to produce something fresh and out of the ordinary with every new release", as written by ABS-CBN, "has placed them in a league of their own."[2] Their debut single was marked as a catchy hip hop and electropop number that used instrumentations of twinkling synthesizers in addition to possessing "loads of attitude",[118] and was noted for its strong and sophisticated energy.[119] Their follow-up single "I Don't Care" deviated stylistically and let the group showcase a more feminine image of their multi-faced musicality.[120] The track combined a medium-tempo R&B melody with soft reggae styles, and set a new music trend in the country with the rise in popularity of reggae.[121]

2NE1's debut studio album To Anyone (2010) allowed the group to further explore a variety of music styles. "Go Away", the most successful promotional single from the album, was mainly classified as dance[122] while some tracks including "It Hurts (Slow)" were noted for its use of contemporary R&B, building upon the styles that were established in their debut record.[123] "Clap Your Hands" became known for its urban and hip hop concept while "Can't Nobody" was noted for its catchy hooks, big chorus and a fierce rap section.[118] Upon the release of the album, it was applauded for its production as well musical versatility; however, it was criticized for its over-reliance of autotune software. The group's 2011 self-titled second mini album was described as "a collision of electro-house, hip-hop, and pop-rock guitar", and was named by Spin as possibly the "year's most boldly thrilling recorded statement."[51] The electro house dance track "I Am the Best" was regarded as a "jaw-dropping, vibrant triumph of pure swagger and verve",[124] while "Lonely" was described as a complete 180-degree transformation from their usual music styles, and received praise for its acoustic sound as well as their raw vocals.[125]

In 2012, the group released the trot-infused Eurodance single "I Love You", where it was regarded as "a perfect summation of pop’s present and future", integrating both traditional as well as modern musical elements with pulsating synths and ghostly background vocals.[126] "Missing You" (2013) saw yet another diversion from the group's signature sound: the track was highlighted for its "rare band-format”—slowing down for the chorus in loose half time, all acoustic guitar, grand piano, and vocal harmony.[127] The musical styles of 2NE1's final studio album Crush (2014) was positively received following its release, with Fuse writing that "Crush proves 2NE1's knack for genre-melding from the start, opening with the title track that blends Indian tabla drums and switchboard-button buzzing, followed by the reggae/trap-hybrid single "Come Back Home."[128]

They have credited The Spice Girls and TLC as girl-group influences.[129] Each member has been described as individuality distinct in voice quality, image and fashion style.[130] Park Bom cited American singers Beyoncé and Mariah Carey as her main influences because of their strong vocals and powerful performances. She has listed hip hop and R&B as her favorite music genres.[131] Minzy cited singers Michael Jackson and Rihanna,[132] while the group's leader CL said producer Teddy Park, American entertainers Madonna and Lauryn Hill are her role models.[133] Dara states singer-actress Uhm Jung-hwa is her inspiration, and that she idolizes Regine Velasquez, a well-known Filipino singer. Dara also enjoys Britney Spears's style and music, citing her as a role model whose songs she often sang along with while growing up.[132]

Stage and fashion[edit]

2NE1 at MTV Daum Music Fest 2011

Since their debut with "Fire" in 2009, 2NE1 has attracted attention and praise for their bold styling, charisma and stage presence.[2][3] The group's first live performance of "Fire" on SBS's Inkigayo on May 17 was noted for their strong and sophisticated feel in addition to their "powerful charms".[134] Unusual for a rookie group, the performance recorded a broadcast rating of nearly 15% per minute; additionally, they received attention from overseas with Jimmy Iovine of Interscope Records and Perez Hilton expressing their fondness for the group.[135] Upon establishing a "hip hop" image with "Fire", the group adopted a change in concept following the release of their eponymous debut mini album. Their style for "Pretty Boy" utilized printed leopard pants while "I Don't Care" opted for simpler outfits including black and white ensembles, showcasing a more youthful choreography while at the same time offering a "unique charm".[136]

2NE1 has been noted for their outlandish and statement-making fashion throughout their career, and have been referred to as trendsetters and style icons.[137][138][139] The group's concerts often utilized over 100 custom-made sets of outfits that span from street style to modern chic to futurism, which have been called the '2NE1 Collection'.[139] Their style has been described by Harper's Bazaar Singapore as ranging anywhere from ultra punk, über glamorous, to unapologetically urban.[140] The "fiery, renegade concepts of 2NE1", as CR Fashion Book describes, "captured the essence of independence and rebellion," garnering the attention of numerous fashion brands globally.[141] In the group's music videos, performances, and photoshoots, the member's are often seen in Moschino, Alexander Wang, Balmain, Givenchy, Versace, KTZ, Jeremy Scott, Mary Katrantzou, etc.,[138][140] and have been credited as one of the major artists who have brought international fashion houses such as Givenchy and Balmain to the masses in Korea and made them huge.[142] In an interview in May 2015, fashion expert David Yi stated: "[2NE1] started wearing Hood By Air before anyone else did, same with Off-White and a lot of different brands we see at VFiles now. Now it's very trendy to wear these European brands and streetwear brands together."[142] The members are known for experimenting with hairstyles and colors;[143] for example, CL's "bull horn" hair and Dara's "Vegeta" hair became a hot topic among the media following the release of 2011's "I Am the Best".[144] Dara's "palm tree hair" that was first seen in 2009's "Lollipop" has been described as one of the definitive looks of 2000s K-pop.[145]

2NE1's concert tours are known for incorporating a variety of costumes, props, and effects to present unique stages,[146] and have been well received from both domestic and international media alike. Their three-day concert in Seoul on their 2011 Nolza tour was met with positive reception among the media, with journalists praising the exciting performance atmosphere as well as the members' individual strengths.[139][147] On their New Evolution Global Tour in 2012, the shows utilized an array of costume designs and incorporated stages that were transformed into a theme park, a club, a sporting arena, a fantasy world which incorporated use of giant inflatable props, conveyor belts, and a video wall simulating a rollercoaster.[57] In a review of the group's two-day concert at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena, SSTV praised the show's production as well as the live band, and asserted that "2NE1 properly showed the essence of performance."[148] AsiaOne called 2NE1 "ace live performers" who are also "trendsetting style icons in the eyes of devotees around the globe".[149] Following the group's New Jersey concert on August 17, The New York Times ranked the show as the second Best Concert of 2012.[150] Writing for Billboard, Jeff Benjamin stated, "A few short years ago, it would have been unthinkable that a Korean girl group would have been able to fill up an East Coast arena. But 2NE1 proved that they -- and K-Pop in general -- are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with".[7] August Brown of the Los Angeles Times called 2NE1 "every direction that pop culture is going – female, global, digital and danceable", and added that the group is "pop [in its] best ways – the music, the charisma and the gun-noir pyrotechnics all complement each other to create a bigger essence."[67]

Legacy[edit]

Recognized for revolutionizing the girl group image in K-pop, 2NE1 are widely known as a pioneer of the "girl crush" concept. Offering a contrast to the "sexy" or "cute" idol group stereotypes, 2NE1 has been referred to as the group that rewrote the history and brought the expansion of girl group characters in the industry.[151][152] 2NE1's bold and charismatic essence have often been highlighted by music journalists throughout their career; writing for Billboard, Tamar Herman stated that "The group's aggressive, fashion-forward persona combined with their relatable lyrics enabled the quartet to rise to the top of the K-pop world".[1] The publication ranked them among the top "K-pop Girl Groups of the Past Decade" in July 2017, noting how the "quartet dominated K-pop with their fierce charisma from day one" and stated that "2NE1's hard-hitting hip-pop styling launched a career that brought the act to astronomical heights, and paved the way for a more empowered side to K-pop girl groups."[3] The South China Morning Post wrote that their debut changed the female idol group stereotype, and labelled "Fire" as "an instant hit, solidifying their status as a super rookie group" and "over time, 2NE1 proved their artistry through their edgy visuals, out-of-the-box concepts, and their versatile sound, and have become one of the most influential powerhouses of K-pop."[153]

Upon the group winning the title for MTV Iggy's "Best New Band", MTV stated that "it's a sign of the times", referencing the symbolic point of "America opening its doors to pop music from around the world".[154] Atwood Magazine editor Kevin Young called the group one of K-pop's most internationally renown legacy acts, writing that "their innovative signature sound of hip-hop based beats mixed in with rock, pop, R&B, and even reggae propelled them to the forefront."[155] The group's work have been met with widespread recognition globally: Caitlin Kelley of Billboard called "I Am the Best" "one of the most iconic girl crush concepts on many levels".[156] Spin magazine deemed "I Am the Best" and "Ugly" the 3rd and 9th best K-pop songs of all-time, respectively;[157] both songs were additionally included in Stereogum's list of 20 Best K-Pop Music Videos, editor Tom Breihan opined that the former's video was the "greatest music video ever made".[158] Pitchfork listed "Missing You" as one of 20 Essential K-Pop Songs and referred to it "one of the most vocally rich and structurally distinctive singles Korea’s ever produced".[127] Billboard named "I Am the Best" and "I Love You" the 4th and 67th greatest K-pop songs of the 2010s, noting the group’s diverse discography and its ability to "transcen[d] linguistic barriers".[159] In Melon's list of Top 100 K-pop Masterpieces of all-time, "Fire" and "I Am the Best" were regarded by music industry professionals as some of the genre's defining girl group songs which "set fire" a "completely new attitude" of global K-pop.[160][161] British GQ observed 2NE1 as one of the industry's game-changers from the 2010s decade and wrote that the group "not only brought K-pop to the curious attention of the Western fashion and music media", but "became a visual blueprint for the genre's feisty 'girl crush' concept."[162]

The quartet have been called the "Queens of K-pop" by several media outlets for their contributions to the global spread of the Hallyu wave.[153][163][164] Following the group's disbandment in late 2016, the editor-in-chief of Idology called the group the artist who established a new image of Korean female idols and went the farthest to create a K-pop fandom abroad. Music critic Kim Yun-ha asserted that "the expression 'reminiscent of 2NE1' will remain as an eternal praise of K-pop revolutionaries".[152]

2NE1 has been a musical influence or inspiration for numerous artists including (G)I-dle,[165] Blackpink,[166][167] Lorde,[168] Jeremy Scott,[169] Mamamoo,[170] Diplo,[171] Chungha,[172] Ailee,[173] Jeon So-mi,[174] Oh My Girl's Seunghee,[175] Woo!ah!,[176] Choi Yoo-jung,[177] Secret Number,[178] Chocolat,[179] Dal Shabet,[180] Loona's Vivi,[181] Itzy's Lia,[182] Hot Issue's Hyeongshin,[183] Grimes,[184] and Swizz Beatz.[185] In an February 2021 interview with Allure, Key of idol group Shinee stated that as the style of the group's female fans would be influenced by the boyband, they would similarly draw inspiration from 2NE1, calling the blurring of femininity and masculinity a "symbolic moment". He stated that "I would look at what 2NE1 was wearing during a performance and be like, 'Oh, that looks really cool. I would wear that'".[186]

Endorsements[edit]

The group members used their images in a number of advertisements and promotional tie-ins. In 2009, they signed a modeling deal with Fila for a new commercial campaign.[187] In early May 2013, the website "2NE1Loves.com" was launched along with mysterious videos of the members.[188] The project was later revealed to be 2NE1 Loves Shinsegae, an endorsement for a department store and brand Chrome Hearts.[189] Their songs have been used in advertisements; "Lollipop" for the LG Cyon phone, "Follow Me" for the Samsung's Corby Folder,[30][11] and "Don't Stop the Music" for the Yamaha Fiore. "Go Away" was used as the theme song for the Japanese television program Mezamashi TV.[40][43] In the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and tsunami, 2NE1 lent their image to the Naver "Pray for Japan" campaign to help raise funds for victims.[47]

Members[edit]

Timeline[edit]

  • Red (vertical) indicates a release.

Awards and achievements[edit]

2NE1 has collected numerous awards and honors throughout their career. When the group debuted, their song "Fire" and the subsequent live performances received praise and were called unconventional, yet impressive. They won their first two awards on the weekly music show Inkigayo and won many more with their next singles on various music programs including Music Bank.[187] "Fire" also won them the Cyworld Song of the Month and Rookie of the Month awards for May 2009.[190] "I Don't Care" brought them similar success and recognition, and led 2NE1 to win the Song of the Year award at the 2009 Mnet Asian Music Awards, making 2NE1 the first idol group and music artist overall in South Korean history to receive a daesang award in the same year of debut.[191] The group went on to win numerous accolades at the Cyworld Digital Music Awards, including for Top Selling Artist, Best Rookie Group, Bonsang Award, and Song of the Year for “I Don't Care".[192] At the inaugural Melon Music Awards on December 16, the group was the only new act to be chosen for the Top 10 artists in South Korea and further won Best New Artist.[193]

2NE1 won the most accolades out of any group at the 2010 Mnet Asian Music Awards at The Venetian Macao, including two daesangs: "Artist of the Year" and "Album of the Year" for To Anyone,[194] as well as "Best Music Video" for "Can't Nobody" and "Best Female Group".[195][196] They were the first artist to collect all three grand daesang awards in the history of the Mnet Asian Music Awards.[197] At the 2nd Melon Music Awards on December 15, 2010, the group won three accolades, including the Album of the Year daesang.[198][199]

A year later, the group's second EP received the Album of the Year daesang at the 3rd Melon Music Awards, despite not having attended the ceremony. Having won two album daesangs for two consecutive years, 2NE1 holds the distinction as the only female act to have been awarded the prize twice to date.[198] At the 2011 Mnet Asian Music Awards on November 29, the group won Song of the Year for "I Am the Best", making the group once again the first artist to have won the grand prize more than once in the ceremony's history. "Lonely", in addition, received the Best Vocal Performance - Group award.[200] Following the ceremony, 2NE1 became noteworthy for being the artist with the most grand awards among any female act at MAMA, with a total of four grand prizes (two Song of the Years, one Album of the Year and one Artist of the Year).[201]

Discography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Concerts[edit]

Headlining[edit]

Other concerts[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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