Block B (Hangul: 블락비) is a South Korean boy group created by Cho PD under his label Brand New Stardom, who after a controversy, moved to a new label Seven Seasons. On April 15, 2011, they made their debut on KBS Music Bank with their promotional single, "Freeze!" ("그대로 멈춰라!"). The group consists of seven members: Zico (Woo Jiho), Lee Taeil, B-Bomb (Lee Minhyuk), Ahn Jaehyo, U-Kwon (Kim Yukwon), Park Kyung, and P.O (Pyo Jihoon). The members of Block B have dancing, rapping, composing, and singing experience. Block B is short for the term Blockbuster. The group has its roots in hip hop but has branched out into different genres.
In February 2011, Cho PD announced that he would be spending $1.4 million USD to create a seven-member hip hop group under his "Creating Korea's Eminem Project". He added that this septet had been mentored by other hip hop artists, including Verbal Jint, Skull, and Rhymer, and announced their debut to be in April 2011. The group garnered interest both domestically and internationally prior to their debut single, titled Do You Wanna B? which consists of three tracks.
On April 13, 2011, their debut music video for "Freeze!" was released. "Freeze!" was banned by the Commission of Youth Protection because the organization felt that it was too sexy for Korean television. As a result of the ban, the song could not be sold to minors under the age of 19, and the video could not be aired before 10 PM. On April 15, 2011, Block B made their live debut on KBS Music Bank. The group followed up with another track, "Wanna B."
Block B made several appearances on both radio and variety shows, including Younha's Starry Night and 100 Points Out of 100.
Their first mini album New Kids on the Block was released on June 23, 2011.
On June 22, 2011, the first episode of MTV's eight-episode series Match Up! was aired featuring Block B and B1A4. The first episode revealed Block B's music video for their mini album's title track, "Tell Them". The show was designed to allow both groups to show off their musical talents and personalities through weekly missions and behind-the-scenes footage. On October 16, 2011 MTV started airing a series of specials for the Match Up series that followed Block B as they promoted in Japan.
2012: Welcome to the Block, Controversy With Thailand and Block B Returns:
It was announced in early January that Block B would make their return with a new mini album titled Welcome to the Block. On January 13 a trailer for the album was released and soon after on January 27, a fifteen second preview of their new single "Nalina" ("Go Crazy") was revealed. A second teaser was also revealed three days later.
On February 1, "Nalina" was unveiled to the public and Welcome to the Block was deemed an "all kill" on various music sites, however, two songs from the album ("LOL" and "Did You or Did You Not") were banned as inappropriate for minors by The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF) and KBS.
In February 2012 Block B came under fire for a mistranslation of a video from an interview that had taken place in Thailand a month earlier. In response, the members issued letters of apology and released a video on their record company's YouTube channel. As result of this incident, leader of Block B, Zico, also shaved his head to demonstrate his remorse.
Block B returned in October - eight months after their last comeback - with their first full length album, Blockbuster. For this album, the group moved away from their usual hip-hop sound to incorporate many different music styles. Most of the songs on the album were written or produced by the members. The title track "Nillili Mambo" was well received and ranked number 10 on the "Billboard World Albums Chart."
Block B released a statement saying, "We're thankful to everyone who loved us endlessly even after a long wait. We worked hard to prepare for this album, so we hope more people enjoy it together. We're going to work hard to keep making good music." On November 30 Block B performed for the first time in the MAMA awards at the red carpet pre-show event in the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre with their song "Nillili Mambo."
Block B performed "All of the Lights" with Alexandra Burke as part of a special stage from H-Artistry in Malaysia November 3. Block B's leader Zico performed for a special hip-hop stage called "Beats Rock The World," along with artistes Dynamic Duo, Double K, Davichi and Loco.
2013: Lawsuit against Stardom Entertainment and Suicide of Ex-CEO:
On January 3 it was reported that Block B had filed a suit against their agency to ask for their exclusive contract to be nullified.
According to media reports, the Block B members filed against Stardom at the Seoul Central District Court, stating, "During the signing of the exclusive contract, it was promised that in addition to providing proper training opportunity and facilities, we would be paid on every 25th of the following month... However, the agency has not paid us for nearly one year since April of 2011." (It's not clear whether it is 2011 or 2012 since the quote in the article states that it is nearly a year, but April 2011 would be well over a year).
"It started last year in March when one member's contract was ended and his portion of the pay was calculated... Appearance fees from events as well as pay from SBS drama 'Phantom's OST, MBC drama 'Golden Time' OST, and funds collected from the inauguration of our Japanese fan site's fan club, and more for a total of 10 things, have been omitted."
They added, "The CEO of the agency, Mr Lee, has also disappeared with the 70,000,000 KRW (~66,000 USD) that he collected from the members' parents."
On May 20, 2013, it was reported that Mr. Lee had committed suicide.
On June 7, 2013, the court ruled in favour of the company, saying "It's difficult to see the company not being able to pay the group as intentional. From the evidence provided so far, it is difficult to claim that the label purposely did not pay Block B. It is also difficult to say that the label did not provide proper facilities such as studios and dorms, and it is also difficult to say that they did not provide education and guidance. From written records, it cannot be said that Stardom Entertainment violated their management obligations. There is a possibility that the musical income of 430,000,000 KRW (approximately $385,000 USD) and the event income of 5,000,000 KRW (approximately $4,500 USD) was not properly taken care of. However, from just the evidence provided, it cannot be said that the label purposely kept the money from the members."
Block B issued a statement in response to the ruling, apologizing to fans and saying they would no longer be working with Stardom Entertainment. The group also said that they would be contesting the ruling, and were preparing independent promotions.
2013: Block B Comeback With New Label Seven Seasons:
On August 29, 2013, Block B announced that they had negotiated the transfer of their rights from Stardom to a new management company, Seven Seasons. A representative from Seven Seasons said that the group was planning to release a new album in October.
Seven Seasons created a YouTube channel in which they uploaded Block B videos. On August 31, 2013, Seven Seasons released U-kwon's teaser video, which featured him jogging through urban Seoul, with the question "Do you wanna B?" at the end. Following that was JaeHyo and P.O's teaser released on September 4, showing the two suiting up. That teaser also ended with the question: "Do you wanna B?"
On September 17, 2013, Block B announced their pre-released single via Seven Seasons' YouTube channel. The single "Be the Light" featured Taeil's singing voice with a short clip of their MV accompanying it. The full video was released September 22, 2013. The song reached #14 on the Gaon digital chart in the first week of its release.
Block B released their next mini-album, Very Good, with five songs, on October 2. The group also released a video of the title song, along with a "Maximum Close Up Version" on October 7 and a "Dance Like BB Version" on October 15. They held a comeback showcase October 3 at Korea University Hwajeong Gym in Seoul.
Very Good debuted at #1 on the Gaon album chart, while the singles "Very Good," "When Where What How," and "Nice Day" debuted at #6, #20, and #26, respectively, on the Gaon digital single charts. The album also debuted at #6 on the Billboard world album chart.
2014: International Tours, Blockbuster Concert, and Album Releases:
Block B starred in their own reality show, entitled Five Minutes Before Chaos (개판5분전), which premiered April 10 on Mnet. In early April Block B announced that they would release a new album entitled Jackpot. The video for the album's title track, "Jackpot" was released April 15, while the album itself was scheduled to be released April 17. Although the physical album was released, the group's comeback was canceled following the capsizing of a South Korean ferry carrying more than 400 people.
Block B held their first Korean concert series in May. Block B's first concert in Olympic Park's Olympic Hall was sold out. Block B also held concerts on May 17 and 18 in Seoul, and May 23 and 24 in Busan. Block B presented showcases in New York, Miami, and Washington D.C. in June through the concert organizer Jazzy Group.
On July 11, Seven Seasons announced that Block B would release a new mini-album, entitled H.E.R, on July 24. Six days later, Seven Seasons released Jackpot digitally for the first time as part of the lead up to the release of H.E.R, as well as a "Behind version" of the "Jackpot" video. "Jackpot" ranked number ten on the Gaon digital singles chart the first week of its release.
"H.E.R" was released on July 24 with an accompanying music video. The song debuted at number three on the Gaon digital singles chart, while the singles "Jackpot," "Extraordinary Woman," Hold Me Now," and "Very Good (Rough Ver.)" debuted at #5, #16, #28, and #80, respectively. The album debuted at #6 on the Billboard world album chart and #2 on the Gaon album chart.
Date of Birth
Lee Tae Il
September 24, 1990 (age 23)
Lee Min Hyuk
December 14, 1990 (age 23)
Ahn Jae Hyo
December 23, 1990 (age 23)
Kim Yu Kwon
April 9, 1992 (age 22)
July 8, 1992 (age 22)
Woo Ji Ho
September 14, 1992 (age 21)
Pyo Ji Hoon
February 2, 1993 (age 21)