Then…there was 2NE1…
If you’ve been reading up to this point, then you know that ever since 2006, I’ve been firmly in the camp of YG Entertainment thanks to Big Bang. I witnessed their debut, I saw their adversity and watched as they continued to improve and breakthrough with mainstream success following the release of “Lies” in 2007.
By 2009, it’s safe to say Big Bang was now the top dog in S. Korea’s music scene. DBSK was still around, 2pm was up-and-coming, and Super Junior had just released a monster hit in “Sorry Sorry…” But Big Bang had established themselves as champions when they destroyed the stage in 2008’s year-end showdown.
So when YG announced the debut of an up-and-coming sister group…everyone was on the edge of their seats. YG had other female artists in their retinue like Big Mama, Gummy, and Lexy…but the agency wasn’t known for their female acts. I think everyone was wondering what YG would produce. Not to mention there was already widespread speculation that this group would merely be a female version of Big Bang. But still…would that a bad thing?
On March 27, 2009, the world was introduced to four energetic and wildly charismatic females when YG released “Lollipop”. It was brilliant. It’s like YG heard the rumors of 2NE1 merely being a girl version of Big Bang and was like…“so what are you gonna do about it.”
To be honest though…I wasn’t particularly blown away by their contributions in that song. I liked it because of Big Bang’s vocals. Taeyang, Daesung, and Seungri killed it. Not to mention, we were starting to get a glimpse of the producer, Teddy Park’s signature sound that would ultimately play the biggest role in 2NE1’s success. But despite my lackluster approval…I knew it. I knew 2NE1 would be superstars, not because they were with YG, not because they were following in Big Bang’s wake…but because of their lead vocalists who’s voice could’ve crushed the competition if she appeared on “American Idol” or “The Voice.”
Park Bom was her name. And before I heard of 2NE1, I had already heard of Park Bom. Any Big Bang fan would’ve. It was her voice that sang the chorus of one of Big Bang’s early hits, “We Belong Together.”