After only releasing single “Yesterday” in the year of 2017, Block B has announced they are returning to the K-Pop scene with a new mini-album on November 7. The group has not promoted since “Toy” was released in April 2016. Regardless of the sparse releases, the boys have been making a splash on the Hallyu Wave since 2011.
Block B has been around longer than a good chunk of your faves, having entered the K-Pop scene back in 2011 under the label of “Korea’s Eminem Project,” given to them by Cho Joonghoon, a.k.a. Cho PD. Their debut music video “Freeze!” was banned for being deemed “too sexy for Korean television,” which was only the start of issues for the group.
For better or for worse, Block B found themselves a hot topic in 2012 when they were involved in a scandal during an interview in Thailand. Aside from the seemingly dismissive and goofy actions of the members, leader ZICO made a comment about a recent flood that many Thai fans found offensive. The interview blew up to the point where even 2PM members chimed in their displeasure, as Nickhun is of Thai origin. Notable hip-hop legend Tiger JK also spoke up, creating even more bad press for the group. In response, they ended up releasing an apology video, and ZICO shaved his head to demonstrate his remorse.
Things only seemed to get worse from there. In 2013 the members filed a lawsuit against their agency, Stardom, claiming that the agency had not been providing financial compensation to the members since 2011. Unfortunately, just two years later, we see the same pattern with TS Entertainment’s group B.A.P, perhaps suggesting a recurring problem within the industry. In a twist fit for the plot of a K-Drama, the CEO of Stardom committed suicide during the period of the trial, shocking fans and industry members alike.
Finding a Solid Foundation
After the constant barrage of unbelievable scandals and the conclusion of the trial, Block B negotiated to move agencies from Stardom over to their current label, Seven Seasons, in the fall of 2013. The group then continued promotions, releasing hit “Very Good” with impressive cinematics. “Jackpot” and “HER” followed in 2014, where the group found success and placed number two on the Gaon album chart upon release. “Very Good” gave the group their first music show win on Inkigayo, but “HER” is what launched the group into regular music show wins.
2015 saw the rise of sub-unit Block B Bastarz, composed of members B-Bomb, U-Kwon and P.O. “Zero for Conduct” became an incredibly popular hit, even to the point that it was used in the drama Fight My Way that aired earlier this year. The mini-album Zero for Conduct hit peak chart position at three, making Block B a household name.
While it’s true that Block B has not seen as much commercial success as the likes of EXO or BTS, they have gained quite a bit of notoriety since entering the K-Pop scene and have successfully navigated some pretty terrible scandals that could have run anyone’s career into the ground. Still, despite sparse releases in comparison to other groups, the public always seems to be anticipating what Block B will provide next, and fans show their support for how far those boys have come. I have no doubt that the boys will once again deliver a quality comeback to all patiently waiting fans.