Popular K-pop girl group 2NE1 has been saying “I am the Best” since 2011, and American actress Emma Stone happens to agree.
During a recent interview on “Conan,” Emma Stone dished on her love for K-pop and cited 2NE1’s iconic single as one of her favorites.
“It’s a global phenomenon,” exclaimed the 26-year-old actress.
“I like a song called ‘I am the Best,’ which I’m not going to try to say in Korean, but it’s incredible. It’s an older song too. I’m way behind the times.” But perhaps it’s not an accident the 2011 single has caught her attention. Last year, 2NE1 not only received attention for their record-breaking album “Crush,” but “I am the Best” experienced a resurgence as well.
“I am the Best” became a hot topic after it was included in Microsoft’s global commercial for the Surface Pro 3. Its popularity even penetrated American radio stations in New York and Boston. Reportedly, the 2NE1 single was reportedly played 24 times on WBMP New York and 14 times on WODS Boston in the week ending Oct. 19 of last year. “I feel like I’ve been singing that song for years, in the mirror,” teased Conan O’Brien.
After 2NE1 appeared on American television shows like “The Bachelor” and “America’s Next Top Model,” the group has gone on hiatus as lead rapper Lee “CL” Chaerin prepares for her American solo debut. Later in the summer, CL is expected take her live stages stateside.
Organized by Diplo’s record label Mad Decent, Mad Decent Block Party focuses on global pop and dance music. In 2015, 22 concerts across 19 cities have been announced in North America, and CL will appear in three performances in August and September. “CL will be appearing for a total of three times, on August 9 in New York’s Brooklyn, on Sept. 11 in California’s Berkley and Sept. 19 in Los Angeles,” confirmed YG-Life.
Check out Emma Stone discussing 2NE1’s “I am the Best” below:
To close out Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, Skrillex brought out a slew of special guests including Justin Bieber, Diplo, Diddy, Kiesza along with newcomers Kai and K-pop singer/rapper CL. While it was undoubtedly a huge stage for all the artists involved, a remarkable musical moment happened during the 2NE1 member’s six-minute appearance that no one would have likely imagined happening even at the height of “Gangnam Style” mania.
CL first hit the stage to perform her verse from “Dirty Vibe,” the Skrillex/Diplo collaboration that features fellow K-pop superstar G-Dragon, off the dubstep prince’s 2014 Recess album — an expected choice. But after the “Dirty Vibe” snippet, fans heard the unmistakable Puff Daddy beat from 1997 hit “It’s All About the Benjamins.” But what came next wasn’t Diddy rapping, but CL rapping…in Korean:
The 24-year-old whipped out the verses to her solo K-pop banger “MTBD” — an cut off from 2NE1’s record-breaking Crush album — over the ’90s beat, rapping completely in Korean for the massive Miami crowd. All while Skrillex, Diplo and even Sir Diddy himself watched and supported from the booth.
It was a breakthrough moment for Korean music thanks to an artist who is massive in Asia (2NE1 boasts to have sold more than 30 million singles, appeared on the Forbes Korea Celebrity 40 list and staged multiple tours across the continent), but is relatively unknown stateside, but worked to hard to collaborate and prove herself among some of music’s biggest talents. Last fall, news broke that CL had teamed with Scooter Braun, who would manage a full-fledged solo debut in America with Diplo, Skrillex, Blood Diamonds and more all on board. If this performance is any indication, we won’t be getting any type of “Westernized” CL, but one that retains her individual state of badass-ery and can fit comfortably inside the U.S. scene whether she’s singing in English or Korean. Key word being: comfortably.
When PSY’s “Gangnam Style” broke through in America, the general public wondered if K-pop was on the verge of making a western crossover. Meanwhile, longtime K-pop fans wondered if the sun glass-clad superstar had done a disservice to the scene so that it wouldn’t ever be taken seriously by a non-Asian audience. If PSY popped up as a special Ultra guest, it would have undoubtedly been a chance for the tens of thousands of crowdgoers to do the horsey dance together — fun, but probably not any type of legitimate musical co-sign that indicates Korean music making a place at a future U.S. fest. But CL performing Korean music in the final hour of a major U.S. festival? That’s cool and game changing.
Could upcoming girl group Sonamoo surpass one of K-pop’s leading girl groups? Some appear to think so.
On December 28, TS Entertainment’s new girl group Sonamoo unveiled their debut track “Déjà vu” and its accompanying music video. Around the same time, a quote appeared on Korean website pann.nate.com proclaiming that Sonamoo is the “hip-hop girl group that will surpass 2NE1.”
Given 2NE1’s popularity, it is no surprise that the headline immediately went viral on social media with strong reactions from K-pop and 2NE1 fans. “Dear Sonamoo, before trying to surpass 2NE1, why don’t you try to fix yourselves first and discover individuality,” commented White Jack on Twitter. “Y’all look the same to me.”
While some believe this to be a marketing tactic by Sonamoo’s record label, others claim the statement was simply started by an Internet user, also known as netizen in K-pop culture. “Sonamoo is being hated for stupid reasons,” wrote Girlgroup Confession on Sunday. “The girls and TS Entertainment never said they would surpass 2NE1. A stupid netizen did.” According to allkpop, Sonamoo consists of Sumin, Minjae, D.ana, Nahyun, Euijin, High.D and Newsun. Their mini-album is also titled “Déjà vu” and consists of six tracks.
Meanwhile, 2NE1 has had a year of high achievements, including ranking number 11 on Billboard’s year-end World Albums chart, the first time a K-pop act has had an entry on the chart since its inception in 1995. 2NE1’s record-breaking 2014 album “Crush” has also been listed on Rolling Stone’s 20 Best Pop Albums of 2014 and Fuse’s 40 Best Albums of 2014. 2NE1’s leader CL is expected to make her American debut in early 2015. In addition to possible collaborations with Skrillex and Diplo, CL’s debut will be overseen by manager Scooter Braun, famous for managing Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.
The girl group ends a year of accolades by breaking one more record.
After breaking multiple chart records earlier this year, 2NE1 cap off 2014 with one more boundary-pushing victory. The girl group’s Crush album ranks at No. 11 on Billboard’s year-end World Albums chart. It’s the first time a K-pop act has notched an entry on the annual ranking that was first introduced in 1995.
Released in February, Crush became K-pop’s highest-charting album while also earning the best first-week sales for a release. The set hit No. 61 on the Billboard 200 — 2NE1’s first entry on the chart.
In addition to being named Billboard’s No. 1 K-pop album of 2014, Crush also made it onto Rolling Stone’s 20 Best Pop Albums of 2014 and Fuse’s 40 Best Albums of 2014 lists.
In 2014, 2NE1 has found a remarkable amount of Stateside recognition. This included their Korean single “I Am the Best” garnering U.S. radio play (“I Am the Best” was previously released on a 2011 EP), topping Billboard’s World Digital Songs chart, a sync in a Microsoft commercial, a feature in NYLON magazine, appearances on The Bachelor and America’s Next Top Model, plus ranking as one of two acts representing K-pop’s best showing yet on the year-end World Albums Artists chart.
As 2NE1’s international brand seems stronger than ever, leader CL is confirmed to be working on a full-fledged U.S. debut overseen by Scooter Braun.
2NE1 performed the album’s title track and lead single “Come Back Home” on the year-end award show SBS Gayo Daejun without member Park Bom. Check out that performance below: