CL (rapper)

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CL HelloBitches Profile 200px.jpg
Promotional shoot for "Hello Bitches" in 2015
Lee Chae-rin

(1991-02-26) February 26, 1991 (age 30)
Seoul, South Korea
NationalitySouth Korean
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active2007–present
Musical career
OriginSeoul, South Korea
Associated acts
Korean name
Revised RomanizationI Chae-rin
McCune–ReischauerI Ch'ae-rin

Lee Chae-rin (born February 26, 1991),[1] better known by her stage name CL, is a South Korean rapper, singer and songwriter.[2] Born in Seoul, South Korea, she spent much of her early life in Japan and France.[3] CL trained at JYP Entertainment before joining YG Entertainment at the age of fifteen and debuted as a member of the girl group 2NE1 in 2009.[4] The group went on to become one of South Korea's most popular and best-selling girl groups worldwide.[5] She made her solo debut with the single "The Baddest Female" on May 28, 2013.

Following 2NE1's hiatus at the turn of 2015, CL pursued a solo career with the release of the singles "Hello Bitches" (2015) and "Lifted" (2016). The latter single led CL to become the first female Korean solo artist to place onto the Billboard Hot 100, and the third Korean act to do so overall. In November 2016, YG announced the disbandment of 2NE1 after nearly two years of hiatus, and CL subsequently remained under the label until December 2019. Shortly after leaving YG, she released her solo EP project In the Name of Love (2019), consisting of previously unreleased tracks written during the three years since her previous single "Lifted".[6]


1991–2008: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Lee Chae-rin was born in Seoul, South Korea, but spent most of her childhood living in Paris, Tsukuba, and Tokyo. When she was 13, she moved to Paris alone where she studied for two years.[7] Lee got an audition with YG Entertainment when she was 15.[3][7] Her first feature on a song recording was Big Bang's "Intro (Hot Issue)" in 2007. Later that year, Lee performed for the first time on stage at Seoul Broadcasting System's Gayo Daejeon alongside her label mates.[citation needed] Her first credited appearance in a song was in 2008, with Uhm Jung-hwa's "DJ," in which she rapped.[8]

2009–2013: Debut with 2NE1 and solo career beginnings[edit]

Lee took on the stage name 'CL' and was placed as the leader and main rapper of 2NE1, alongside Bom, Sandara Park and Minzy. The group then collaborated with label-mates Big Bang for the song "Lollipop" before officially debuting on SBS's The Music Trend on May 17, 2009 where they performed "Fire". 2NE1 achieved significant success with the number-one single "I Don't Care" from their first extended play, 2NE1, which won them the "Song of the Year" award at the 2009 Mnet Asian Music Awards, making them the first rookie group to win a daesang in the same year of debut.

CL in June 2013

In August 2009, she collaborated with label-mates G-Dragon and Teddy Park of 1TYM for the single "The Leaders", featured on G-Dragon's first solo album, Heartbreaker. The same month, after the group finished with "I Don't Care" promotions, CL collaborated with fellow member Minzy for "Please Don't Go," which charted at number six on the Gaon Chart by the end of November.[9] Her first solo single, "The Baddest Female", was released on May 28, 2013.[10] For 2NE1's second album Crush, CL wrote the lyrics and co-composed the music for the tracks "Crush", "If I Were You", and "Baby I Miss You". She also wrote the lyrics for her solo track "MTBD", as well as the track "Scream".[11]

2014–2018: Stand-alone singles and featured appearances[edit]

In October 2014, it was announced that CL was planning to debut as a solo artist the following year in the United States, teaming up with Scooter Braun as her manager.[12] In May 2015, she featured in Diplo's single "Doctor Pepper", alongside Riff Raff and OG Maco.[13] In November 2015, CL released her first single "Hello Bitches", as a teaser for her upcoming EP Lifted.[14][15] She was also featured on labelmate Psy's single Daddy. The song debuted at number 97 on the Billboard Hot 100 earning her first entry on the chart.[16] The single, "Lifted" was released on August 19, 2016.[17] The song appeared in the Top 30 of iTunes' Hip-Hop/Rap chart within three hours of being released, peaking at number 21.[18] Time noted her as the "future of Kpop in America".[19] It debuted on 94 on the Hot 100 earning her first entry as a solo artist and second overall making her the first female South Korean act to appear on the chart.[20] On October 29, 2016, CL kicked off her first North American tour, the Hello Bitches Tour, in New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom, and concluded in Toronto on November 14.[21]

Alongside Shaiana, she featured on Lil Yachty's song "Surrender", an exclusive track off of the Target deluxe edition of his album Teenage Emotions, released on May 26, 2017.[citation needed] CL also recorded an original single titled "No Better Feelin'" for the My Little Pony: The Movie soundtrack, released on September 22, 2017.[22] On January 4, 2018, she was reported to make her Hollywood debut as an actress in Peter Berg's film Mile 22 that stars Mark Wahlberg.[23] On February 25, 2018, CL performed at the 2018 Winter Olympics closing ceremony at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, performing parts from "The Baddest Female" and the 2NE1 global hit "I Am the Best".[24] At the closing ceremony, she met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, First Lady Kim Jung-sook, Exo, and Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump.[25]

CL at the 2018 Winter Olympics closing ceremony in Pyeongchang County.

2019–present: Departure from YG Entertainment, In the Name of Love and Alpha[edit]

On April 1, 2019, Forbes included CL in their 30 Under 30 Asia 2019 list for Entertainment & Sports, which comprises 30 influential people under 30 years old who have made substantial impact in their respective fields.[26] Later that year, on November 8, YG Entertainment announced that CL did not renew her contract with the company and would be leaving the label.[27] On December 4, soon after leaving YG, she began releasing previously unreleased tracks for her digital solo EP project In the Name of Love for three consecutive weeks.[28]

On September 12, 2020, CL announced that she had been working on a new album that would be released later that year. Two days later, she released the music video for the song "Post Up", which would serve as the intro track for her upcoming album.[29] On October 29, she released two singles—"+Hwa+" and "+5 Star+"—which were co-written by former labelmate Tablo.[30] At the same time, CL announced that her first full-length album Alpha would be released on November 30.[31][32] However, on November 16, she announced that she had decided to postpone the album release until early 2021, stating that while preparing the album she had developed new ideas for the music and she wished the finished album to be the best it could possibly be.[33]

On February 26, 2021, CL released a single titled "Wish You Were Here", which coincided with her 30th birthday. The song was released as a tribute to her mother, Hong Yoo-ra, who had died on January 23, 2021 of a heart attack.[34][35]

Musical style and influences[edit]

CL cites 1TYM leader Teddy Park, who produced much of 2NE1's music, as an influence and inspiration, as well as Madonna, Queen, and Lauryn Hill.[3][36]


Year Title Role Notes
2017 Mile 22 Queen


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details

Extended plays[edit]

Title Details
In the Name of Love
  • Released: December 17, 2019
  • Label: SuneV, Kakao M
  • Formats: Digital download, streaming


As lead artist[edit]

Title Year Peak positions Sales Album

"Please Don't Go"
(with Minzy)
2009 * * N/A To Anyone
"The Baddest Female"
(나쁜 기집애)
2013 4 3 Non-album single
2014 15 9 Crush
"Doctor Pepper"
(with Diplo, Riff Raff, and OG Maco)
2015 47 N/A Non-album singles
"Hello Bitches" 21
"Lifted" 2016 94 N/A
"Rewind" 2019 4 In the Name of Love
"Done" 154 3
"Paradox" [A] 7
"I Quit" 9
"One and Only" 13
"Thnx" 16
"Hwa" 2020 [B] 3 Alpha
"5 Star" 13
"Wish You Were Here" 2021 [C] Non-album single
"—" denotes recordings which were not released in that country or failed to chart.
"*" denotes charts which did not exist at the time of release.

Promotional single[edit]

Title Year Peak positions Sales Album

"Post Up" 2020 N/A Alpha
"—" denotes recordings which were not released in that country or failed to chart.
"*" denotes charts which did not exist at the time of release.

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Peak positions Album

"Hot Issue"
(Big Bang feat. CL)
2007 * Hot Issue
Uhm Jung-hwa feat. CL
2008 D.I.S.C.O
(YMGA feat. YG Family and DJ Wreckx)
Non-album single
"The Leaders"
(G-Dragon feat. CL and Teddy)
2009 Heartbreaker
Sandara Park feat. CL
To Anyone
"Dirty Vibe"
Skrillex feat. Diplo , G-Dragon, and CL
2014 Recess
Psy feat. CL
2015 1 1 Chiljip Psy-da
(Lil Yachty feat. CL and Shaiana)
2017 Teenage Emotions
(The Black Eyed Peas feat. CL)
2018 Masters of the Sun Vol. 1
"Cut It Up"
(PKCZ feat. CL and Afrojack)
2019 Non-album single
"Looooose Controlla"
(Kim Ximya feat. CL)
2020 Dog
"No Blueberries"
(DPR Ian feat. DPR Live, CL)
78 Non-album single
"Rosario" (Epik High featuring Zico & CL) 2021 11 11 Epik High is Here 上 (Part 1)
"—" denotes recordings which were not released in that country or failed to chart.
"*" denotes charts which did not exist at the time of release.

Soundtrack appearances[edit]

Title Year Album
"No Better Feelin'" 2017 My Little Pony: The Movie


Awards and nominations[edit]

Name of award ceremony, year presented, award category, nominee of award, and result of nomination
Award ceremony Year Category Nominee/work Result
Asian Pop Music Awards 2020 Most Outstanding Song of the Year "Hwa" Won
Mnet 20's Choice Awards 2013 20's Style Award Herself Won
Mnet Asian Music Awards Best Dance Performance (Female Solo) "The Baddest Female" Won
MYX Philippines Hottest Female Star of 2013 Herself Won
People's Choice Awards 2019 The Most Inspiring Asian Woman Won
SBS MTV Best of the Best 2013 Best Female Solo "The Baddest Female" Nominated
Seoul Music Awards 2013 Bonsang Award Nominated
Popularity Award Nominated
2019 R&B/Hip-Hop Award Herself Nominated
Style Icon Awards 2014 Top 10 Style Icons Nominated
2016 Nominated
YinYueTai V Chart Awards 2014 Top Female Artist (Korean) Won


  1. ^ "Paradox" did not enter the Gaon Digital Chart, but debuted and peaked at number 192 on the Gaon Download Chart.[44]
  2. ^ "Hwa" did not enter the Gaon Digital Chart, but debuted and peaked at number 151 on the Gaon Download Chart.[45]
  3. ^ "Wish You Were Here" did not enter the Gaon Digital Chart, but debuted and peaked at number 158 on the Gaon Download Chart.[46]


  1. ^ Mark Russell (April 29, 2014). K-Pop Now!: The Korean Music Revolution. Tuttle Publishing. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-4629-1411-1.
  2. ^ "CL at Naver Music". Naver Music (in Korean). NHN Corp. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Park, Mi-ae (May 22, 2009). "CL, "데모 테이프 들고 무작정 YG 문 노크"" [CL, "knocked on the YG Entertainment door to hand in my demo tape"]. eDaily SPN (in Korean). eDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Female Big Bang to be Unveiled". KBS Global. March 25, 2009. Archived from the original on September 6, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  5. ^ "2NE1 on Breaking Chart Records, Turning 5 (Exclusive Video Interview)". Billboard. May 27, 2014. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  6. ^ "CL Leaves Longtime K-Pop Label: Report". Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "[CL] 1부. 새해 첫 날, 눈물 젖은 자장면 드셔보셨나요?". OSEN (in Korean). Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  8. ^ "Uhm Jung Hwa 2008 Mini Album – D.I.S.C.O". Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  9. ^ "Gaon Chart Search: CL" (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  10. ^ "The Baddest Female CL releases her solo debut MV". allkpop. May 28, 2013.
  11. ^ "K-Pop Superstar CL to Enter America With Scooter Braun", Billboard, October 16, 2014. Accessed October 13, 2015.
  12. ^ "2NE1's CL confirmed to make her U.S. debut as a solo artist".
  13. ^ "Diplo Featuring CL, RiFF RAFF & OG Maco "Doctor Pepper" Music Video".
  14. ^ "CL Preps Debut English EP 'Lifted' for Fall". Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  15. ^ "Diplo Talks K-Pop & New Songs Recorded With CL in 'Time' Interview". Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  16. ^ Murray, Gordon (December 23, 2020). "Psy Returns to Hot Dance/Electronic Songs & Hot 100 With 'Daddy". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  17. ^ "CL gets 'Lifted' in her newest solo MV! |". Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  18. ^ Herman, Tamar (August 18, 2016). "K-Pop Star CL Reaches New Heights on Debut Single 'Lifted'". Billboard.
  19. ^ "K-pop's Next Act". Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  20. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (December 23, 2020). "CL Enters the Hot 100 With Solo Single 'Lifted'". Billboard. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  21. ^ "CL will embark on solo tour of North America, called 'HELLO BITCHES TOUR 2016'". Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  22. ^ Herman, Tamar (September 15, 2017). "K-Pop Star CL Bringing 'No Better Feelin' to 'My Little Pony' Movie Soundtrack". Billboard. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  23. ^ "CL Makes Hollywood Debut in MILE 22, to be Released on August 17". Korean Film. July 10, 2018.
  24. ^ Herman, Tamar (February 25, 2018). "K-Pop Stars CL & EXO Impress at Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony". Billboard.
  25. ^ Trump, Ivanka (February 25, 2018). "The world witnessed the extraordinary stories and successes of hundreds of athletes at this year's #WinterOlympics. The Olympic Closing Ceremony was an amazing tribute to all those that competed at #PyeongChang2018!". @IvankaTrump. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  26. ^ "30 Under 30 Asia 2019: Entertainment & Sports". Forbes. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  27. ^ "씨엘, 결국 YG 떠난다…"전속계약 종료 합의..각별한 마음으로 응원"[공식입장]". Naver (in Korean). November 8, 2019. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  28. ^ Pauly, Alexandra (December 4, 2019). "CL Launches Merch for 'In the Name of Love'". Hypebae. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  29. ^ Gonsalves, Jenifer (September 13, 2020). "'Post Up': CL makes triumphant return as K-pop's 'baddest female,fans call her comeback's appetizer 'insane'". Meaww. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  30. ^ Lim, Cherrie (October 29, 2020). "CL releases two new singles, Epik High's Tablo revealed as one of the lyricists for '5 STAR'". Bandwagon. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  31. ^ Kim, YeEun (October 29, 2020). "CL Finally Drops Her Comeback Singles, "HWA" and "5 STAR"". Hypebae. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  32. ^ Rowley, Glenn (October 29, 2020). "CL Announces Debut Solo Album, Performs Infectious Single 'HWA' on 'Corden': Watch". Billboard. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  33. ^ "CL Postpones 'ALPHA' Album Release Date". HYPEBAE.
  34. ^ "[BREAKING] CL's mother passes away at 53". allkpop. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  35. ^ Kim, Soo-jin (February 26, 2021). "CL, 어머니 추모곡 'Wish You Were Here' 발표 [공식]". Money Today (in Korean). Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  36. ^ Park Yeong-ung (October 13, 2010). ""박봄은 비욘세?"..2NE1이 밝힌 롤모델은?" ["Park Bom and Beyoncé?" Who are 2NE1's role models?]. Star News (in Korean). MoneyToday. Retrieved November 14, 2010."CL style inspiration for Lil' Kim". The Fashion Law. Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  37. ^ Peak positions on the Gaon Digital Chart:
  38. ^ "CL Album & Song Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  39. ^ a b "CL Chart History: World Digital Song Sales". Billboard. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  40. ^ "Gaon Streaming Chart (see 170)" (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Archived from the original on February 28, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  41. ^ "EXO and CL See Sales and Social Leaps After Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony". Billboard. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  42. ^ "2014년 Download Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  43. ^ Cumulative sales by week for "Hello Bitches":
  44. ^ "2019년 49주차 Digital Chart". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean). Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  45. ^ "2019년 49주차 Digital Chart". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean). Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  46. ^ "2021년 10주차 Download Chart". Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  47. ^ Peak positions on the Gaon Digital Chart:

External links[edit]