According to OSEN=손남원 기자iKON is going to make their debut on Sep. 15th…

Ikon Yg

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iKON is YG’s brand-new hip hop boy group with a solid fandom, in no small part because of the group’s selection process and the popularity of each of its members, such as BOBBY and B.I.

It was a coincidence to confirm the news about iKON. At the beginning of this week, I sent a series of text messages to YANG HYUN SUK, YG’s main producer, after hearing about Hyukoh joining HIGHGRND. And I managed to have an interview with him on the phone, and was confirmed that iKON will make their debut. At the time of the interview, Mr. Yang was on a business trip to New York, and I asked him whether iKON or WINNER will be the next YG artist to release new songs.

Papa YG and Will Smith

“I have been very busy recently because BIGBANG is scheduled to release new songs every month until Sep. 1st,” said Mr. Yang. “It is very, very challenging to film two music videos every month. So I had to make sure that there will be no schedule conflicts between iKON and BIGBANG. And iKON will make their debut on Sep. 15th.”

“iKON is a hip hop boy group that we are producing after BIGBANG, so I want to do everything I can in launching them,” he said. “Actually, iKON and WINNER each presented me with 50 songs they wrote. Now, BIGBANG can produce songs that can be released to the public right away, now that it has been 9 years since they made their debut. And even they said on TV that I often rejected their new songs until only a few years ago.”

WINNER and iKON still have a long way to go. I have rejected 100 of their songs in total, and they are working on several of them. I think this kind of process will help these two groups continue their careers as musicians for a long time, like BIGBANG is doing. So far, I have placed the greatest emphasis on training the artists to be able to write and produce the songs they’re going to sing. This is what iKON and WINNER should differentiate themselves from other boy groups. I think it is beautiful if a designer can tailor and design the clothes he’s going to wear.”

Mr. Yang also talked about HIGHGRND, an independent hip hop label established by a YG artist TABLO, saying,

Papa YG

“The role of YG is providing necessary support for HIGHGRND. We should not, and do not have any intention to interfere with business operation or music of the label.”

In fact, YG, which was established by Mr. Yang in 1997, is Korea’s first hip hop label. “These days, it occurs to me that I could have created a lot better music back in 1997-98, when I was producing JINUSEAN and One Time, if I had had the kind of infrastructure and conditions that YG now has,” he said.

“And this is why I have decided to provide full support for TABLO’s HIGHGRND.”

“This may not be confined to entertainment business, but for the first 6-7 years, YG had many difficulties because of a lack of experience and capital. I managed to successfully produce JINUSEAN, ONE TIME and SE7EN, but I was always worried about paying salaries to the employees. So I want to provide support for YG artists who are interested and competent in entertainment business, so that they won’t face difficulties like I did when I established YG. It is my dream and my goal to help them focus solely on music and grow their labels on their own.”

And his first task at hand in this regard is HIGHGRND. It has drawn a lot of attention when it was made public on July 21st that Hyukoh, an indie group that has become largely popular after appearing in MBC’s “Infinite Challenge,” signed with the label.

The members of Hyukoh include Oh Hyuk (vocalist), Lim Dong-gun (bass player), Lim Hyun-je (guitarist) and Lee In-woo (drummer). The band has their distinctive style of music and fashion, as shown in their songs “Wi Ing Wi Ing” and “Warigari.” They have been famous among many celebrities and indie music fans, and now they have become popular across the country.


One of the biggest reasons why Hyukoh decided to join HIGHGRND is said to be that Hyukoh and TABLO like each other’s music very much. TABLO has been introducing Hyukoh’s music on his radio program, and recently, they worked together for a concert. Hyukoh decided to join HIGHGRND after realizing that TABLO and they share some common musical grounds.

TABLO is expected to become a good partner for Hyukoh who respects the band’s creativity and independence. Starting as an underground artist, he has been leading EPIK HIGH for 12 years and has been working with singer songwriters such as Naul, Lee Sora and a rock band called Nell.

Mr. Yang said that he was very happy to hear that Hyukoh joined HIGHGRND. “As I said earlier, the role of YG is providing necessary support for the label,” he said. “What kind of music its artists will create and how to run the company is all up to HIGHGRND. It has taken 18 years for me to establish and grow YG. And I’m sure that independent labels will grow at a much faster pace. HIGHGRND marks the beginning of that trend, and I hope that YG will be able to help other artists establish their own labels, thereby contributing to improving the conditions of underground and indie music.”
This article comes from Osen and YG Life.

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