Fans of popular K-pop boy group, iKON can finally see their favourite idols perform as the now six-member group have confirmed their comeback on 6 February with their EP titled, i DECIDE. 2019 was a rough year for K-pop, despite the genre gaining momentum internationally. Locally, there were multiple scandals that plagued the idol world. In particular, YG Entertainment, one of the biggest talent agencies in K-pop. The company was the mastermind behind iconic K-pop groups such as Big Bang, 2NE1, Blackpink… and of course, iKON.
The controversies led to the departure of the leader of iKON, B.I, who was caught in an alleged drug scandal. B.I was also an integral part of the K-pop boy group, beyond his leadership roles, as he played a heavy hand in the songwriting process.
iKON, now made up of Bobby, Jinhwan, Ju-ne, Yunhyeong, Donghyuk and Chanwoo, were initially supposed to have made their comeback last year. Unfortunately, the dates have been consistently pushed back. Today, the talent agency released a statement addressing fans’ concerns regarding iKON’s return.
In the statement, YG Entertainment explained why iKON’s mini-album, i DECIDE which “was recorded in early 2019 with the aim to be released in mid-2019” will be released only on 6 February. They stated, “Due to the sudden departure of B.I, who was the team’s leader and producer, in the middle of last year, the release of their new music was postponed indefinitely.” They explained that they were torn between excluding all the songs that B.I had produced or taking out his rap verses from all the songs. Both would delay the group’s comeback tremendously.
“After long discussion, the members and agency decided on using both.
As the existing tracks were not written by B.I alone and are joint products with YG’s internal producers, and they are songs filled with the iKON members’ efforts and affection during the preparation period, we decided to use them with adjustments. Also encouraging the other members to participate in composition, we added a new song by another member who participated as a composer for the first time through this album.”– YG Entertainment
Unfortunately, YG Entertainment’s statement angered fans of iKON as it seems as if the company was blaming everything on B.I’s departure. This led to hashtags like #STOPBLAMINGHANBIN (B.I’s real name) to trend worldwide.
Hanbin was kicked out in FOUR HOURS. This wasn’t some long winded thing. He was gone by day one. Day one and 8 months later, y’all have to use his music and that’s somehow his fault too? #STOPBLAMINGHANBIN— 🌵 hanbin out talented 🌵 (@imgoldenhoney) January 29, 2020
You have the whole production teams to redo the project but made iKON go on endless tour the whole year.— 스태이위드한빈 (@staywithhanbin_) January 29, 2020
It’s been almost 8 months since you kicked Hanbin out yet you still put the blame on him, please have some shame @ygent_official
Let our boy live his life.#STOPBLAMINGHANBIN
B.I leaving the group had a massive impact on not just the group dynamics, but also the sound of iKON as well as leaving a hole in the hearts of fans all over the world. YG Entertainment wrapped up the statement by apologising to fans and vowing to manage the group better in future, saying, “Although it is belated, YG will not hold back on giving and investing everything possible to protect the remaining six iKON members. We will work to repay with gratitude and consider the feelings of fans who always show support and love.”
Hence, the silver lining will come on 6 February when i DECIDE is finally released.
In the mean time, YG Entertainment has released video teasers leading up to the group’s comeback. The cinematic minute-long video featured rapper, Bobby, delivering a sombre monologue entirely in English. Check out the full video below: