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2NE1: K-pop with a very Real Edge

Unlike numerous K-pop bands with an electronic feel, 2NE1 doesn’t try to project a bubbly image. Instead, they project a genuine edgy image that has a certain element of reality to it. Even with their first song, which was actually used by LG to promote a cell phone, carried with an illustration that isn’t like a lot of other bands. 2NE1 along with Big Bang are pictured in full candy raver outfits on the cover of Lollipop.

That’s not to say that they’re simply slaves to fashion. 2NE1 is a real group that’s in touch with fans. In the world of Hallyu popular culture, the band is a hot commodity. They represent a group of talent that many promoters around the world would like to sign. The individual members have also expressed a very eclectic group of influences. These influences are every bit as international as the venues that want to book 2NE1.

The lead vocalist, Park Bom, calls a pair of American singers her main influences. Dara said the same of Uhm Jung-hwa, who might be one of the most important members of the Korean Wave movement as a whole. Minzy, who happens to be the youngest member at age 17, said that she was most influenced by Michael Jackson. However, she may very well have very different influences as well. Born Gong Min-ji, Minzy is the granddaughter of famous folk dancer Kong Ok-jin. That’s certainly an interesting place for a performer who was once termed as a hip-hop warrior to come from.

As international as they are, it makes sense that 2NE1 now has expansion efforts in several other countries. They have a promotion going with will.i.am of the Black Eye Peas. The United States release has no set date. 2NE1 has seen some success in Thailand, where they released the single “Don’t Stop the Music.” This release was seen as a gift to Thai fans of the group. Tragically, the Tohoku Earthquake has put the promise of a Japanese debut on the backburner. However, they have said that they will tour that nation whenever it is stable.