One of the reasons why 2NE1 disbanded is because Minzy – the girl group’s main dancer, lead vocalist, and youngest member – decided to leave YG Entertainment during her group’s ridiculously long, two-year hiatus.
Since YG singers, producers, song writers, etc. work under the strict restrictions of their “company” – which is run by brothers Yang Hyun-suk and Yang Min-suk (both of whom I’ll refer to as the “company” throughout this post) – they seldom see their ideas and dreams realized.
That’s why Minzy left YG, and why CL has either left the company or is most likely leaving the company soon. 2NE1’s members didn’t just suffer from their final group hiatus; they became tired of wishing for group and solo activities to happen (since everything from song and TV appearances have to be checked and approved by their bosses), and annoyed by the lack of support from their company whenever they were criticized (about their appearance, skills, behaviors, and thoughts).
Pt. I: Minzy
Minzy has always dreamt of having a solo career while still remaining a part of 2NE1. As time went by, however, she realized that the egocentric company she was under limited her from expanding her creativity and, therefore, made it impossible for her to pursue group and solo activities.
Unfortunately for 2NE1 and YG, yet luckily for her, she was able to pursue a solo career at another music company.
She didn’t just become a solo singer; she founded her own dance academy (Millennium Dance Academy), sings songs for dramas, appears more often in variety shows, and never stops improving her vocal and dance skills. She’s doing everything that she couldn’t do during her 9 years (from age 11 to 20) at YG Entertainment.
Creative freedom doesn’t exist in a lot of big music companies. BTS’ company, BigHit, is one of the special exceptions to that rule because BTS has always had an intimate bond with their CEO, “PD-nim” (producer), since the company’s small beginnings. Their CEO respects their creativity and hardwork by helping them out instead of dragging them around like children on leashes.
Minzy was one of the daring few “2nd gen. K-Pop” singers to move from a large, well-established, and successful company to a not-so-popular company. Her decision was risky, since she’s never publicly revealed her song-writing and song-producing abilities (if she had them). If she didn’t have them in the first place, then she knew that she needed to adapt to the music industry and solidify her name in the music scene.
It certainly wasn’t easy for Minzy to leave YG, but it also certainly wasn’t impossible either. She’s literally been to uncharted territories before when she experienced 2NE1’s unexpected international success. She knows she’s capable of pushing her boundaries and exceeding expectations. She knows that what made her and 2NE1 successful is the fact that she‘s not afraid to do the unprecedented and to write a life story that’s unlike any other K-Pop idols’ lives.
Ever since she and other notable K-Pop singers from the “2nd gen. era” found happiness in moving out of the “Big 3” companies to smaller managements, there has been an overwhelming amount of “3rd (current) gen. K-Pop” singers who don’t give a damn about their company’s name.
Some of them have been rejected from the “Big 3”. Some of them have been accepted to at least one of the “Big 3”, but faced rejection later. Some of them understand that getting accepted by at least one of the “Big 3” doesn’t guarantee success (since the “Big 3” is notorious for prolonged training, letting go of groups and singers that never got the chance to perform or have fans, delayed comebacks, and treating their employees as replaceable). And some of them value hardwork first, fame second.
One singer who made a name for herself after leaving one of the “Big 3” is Sunmi. She was originally a member of the Wonder Girls under the company JYP until the girl group disbanded. When she became a soloist at another company, K-Pop fans were shocked to see how she re-invented her idol image and how her hidden talents are finally getting recognition.
She and other current K-Pop singers didn’t necessarily follow Minzy’s footsteps, but Minzy can be credited for changing people’s attitudes towards K-Pop music companies.
Most K-Pop fans may not hear much about Minzy anymore, but at least she still has and gains fans who support her and 2NE1.
I’m proud of how much she has improved as a performer – her voice has matured so much, and there seems to be much more character to her dances now that she doesn’t really heavily rely on choreographed dances.
She will always be remembered for bringing more female power and freestyle in the K-Pop dance scene.
I hope y’all enjoy these videos of Minzy’s dances through the years!
Pt. II: CL
Unlike her former 2NE1 partners Minzy and Bom, she and Dara are the only group members who decided to stay with YG.
I’ve heard gossip about how Dara wanted to have more solo songs from YG, but she was and still is assigned to modeling and acting activities. It’s understandable why the idea of giving Dara more solo songs seems out of reach because of how she isn’t really a singer and how her first and only K-Pop solo song didn’t do so well in the charts.
While Dara seems to quietly accept the opportunities she still gets, CL is far from satisfied – and she’s been rebellious.
CL claims that she has been treated unfairly by YG because of how 200+ of her written and produced songs never made it to an album.
She also claimed that YG doesn’t care about helping her with performances and international promotions anymore.
When 2NE1 disbanded, CL seemed to be the member with “the upper-hand” – she has successfully written songs with YG’s producers, most of which are meant for 2NE1. 2NE1’s song “Ugly” was co-written by CL.
She even has amazing connections with international celebrities. She considers fashion designer Jeremy Scott a friend. She and will.i.am like each other so much that 2NE1 was featured in will.i.am’s album and The Black Eyed Peas performed with CL in South Korea. And somehow, she was able to collaborate with her label-mate, G-Dragon, and Skrillex on an English/Korean EDM song.
If she continues to stay in YG despite the adversities, then there may be a good chance that YG will reunite 2NE1.
If she decides to leave YG, then she certainly won’t say anything about that publicly so that she doesn’t severely damage her relationship with the company and ruin the chance of 2NE1 reuniting.
She has “covertly” expressed her desire to leave the company by liking and responding to social media comments about that.
I think it’s foolish of her to do that because her supporting trash talk towards YG is basically the same thing as her trash talking towards YG.
Some people say that CL should stop complaining to YG because the company needs to focus on supporting BLACKPINK – their new girl group. “Since CL already has years of training and experience under her belt, she should work harder to promote herself instead of wasting her energy on complaining,” they say.
As much as CL really wants to succeed as a solo artist, she’s a fish out of water. She was and can only be successful under 2NE1. Her solo songs and performances don’t really feel as special as 2NE1’s probably because 2NE1 was her muse for music, fashion, and everything.
To me, it’s highly unlikely that she’ll succeed in the Western music industry. She’s been in the K-Pop scene for a long ass time (9 years), and up until now she still hasn’t made a household name for herself outside of South Korea.
I wouldn’t be surprised if CL left the company already. YG can’t give her a solo career nor a 2NE1 back with her attitude towards the company and her projects.