“iKON IS COMING TO TOWN“ iKONIC (iKON‘s fandom name) or not, if you’re familiar with iKON‘s, “Anthem” then you know this is not a drill. Under YG Entertainment, the South Korean boy group made their U.S. debut at SXSW‘s Korea Spotlight in Austin, Texas this Spring.
The seven-member group consists of two rappers, B.I and Bobby and five vocalists, Jinhwan, Junhoe, Yunhyeong, Donghyuk and Chanwoo. Before officially debuting, they were already in formation and quickly became popular back in 2013 and 204, in the reality shows, WIN: Who is Next and Mix & Match. Following their success after Mix & Match, with more than 15,000 fans applying to attend the final performance of the show, iKON went on with holding fan meetings in Korea, Japan and China with a record of 50,000 Chinese fans applying for one of the 2,000 tickets to a fan meeting in Beijing. Not only were they holding fan meetings, they performed as the opening act at BIGBANG‘s Japan Dome Tour in December of 2014. In January of 2015, Billboard ranked the group as one of the “Top 5 K-Pop Artists to Watch in 2015“, the only group on the list that had not debuted yet. Not a bad start off for a rookie group that hadn’t officially debuted.
Their official debut was September 15, 2015 and premiered with their ‘pre-single’ “My Type” that was released with a music video that exceeded 1.7 million views on Youtube within 24 hours.With this single alone, iKON received their first win on MBC’s Music Core only eleven days after debuting and not even making their first official live appearance. The group quickly rose to fame with so many people being intrigued by the hip-hop idols, it was reported they were trending on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging website, and were searched 1.3 billion times. Their first debut concert which took place at the Seoul Olympic Gymnastics Arena, sold out 13,000 tickets and broadcasted live through Naver‘s V App and streamed by over 500,000 viewers. Embarking on a series of Japanese fan meetings titled, “iKontact” with over 26,000 fans in attendance in the four cities which the fan meetings were held, the group received the MelOn All-Kill Popularity award and had sold over 82,000 copies of Debut Half Album – Welcome Back. With so much love and admiration for iKON overseas in countries like Japan, it’s not surprising that ther Japanese debut was so successful. They released a Japanese version of their album Welcome Back which sold over 61,000 copies in the first week of the release and charting third on the Oricon Weekly chart earning the Best New Artist Award and New Artist Award in 58th Japan Record Award.
They have those mellowed out vibes, but truth be told, iKON has this thing where you’re never fully sure of what direction they will take when it comes to songs, which is why it’s no surprise why they’re so popular and can attract any kind of audience, young or old. Known for mixing different styles with a hip-hop feel, the versatile group is right up your alley if you can vibe with hard-hitting tracks and switching over to a softer, more mellow sound like “Love Scenario”; a song so popular, it has become an anthem to children as they can be seen in some viral videos singing along. That single alone has gained much attention and brought skyrocketing success to the boys with over 250 million views on Youtube. The group’s leader, B.I has since commented on the very popular song stating, “Apparently, the melody to ‘Love Scenario‘ is similar to children’s songs. I wrote this song while having fun, so I think that itself included a childlike innocence to it. I worked on the song with a childlike mind, so I think young children were able to connect with that.” While topping the Billboard Korea K-Pop 100 for weeks with Love Scenario, they returned with another single “Rubber Band“. This single seemingly to be influenced by Love Scenario and having a rhythmic alt-R&B track that featured summery instrumentals, sharp beats and vivid synths to pass for an almost playful vibe.
If playful songs don’t suit your taste, “Killing Me“, another single released just five months after “Rubber Band“, was more of an erratic track built around the idea of being haunted by a past love. With a lingering beat and angst-filled verses, it surprisingly turns into a dance track with an antic beat and anguished synths. It’s a lot more dramatic with cultivated vocals and passionate raps.
iKON most recently performed at The Moody Theatre on March 13, 2019. The show started at 8 P.M., please wait to read our exclusive interview with them as well as our ‘Korea Spotlight’ recap!
Edited by: Allie Norado
Written by: Kristen Latrelle