Block B (Hangul: 블락비) is a South Korean boy group created by Cho PD, active since 2011. 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).
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, but banned by the Commission of Youth Protection because they felt that it was too sexy for Korean television. As a result, 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 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 2012 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 Billboard's World Albums Chart."
Block B performed "All of the Lights" with Alexandra Burke as part of a special stage from H-Artistry in Malaysia on November 3. On November 30, Block B performed for the first time at the Mnet Asian Music Awards at the red carpet pre-show event in the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre with their song "Nillili Mambo." 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: Blockbuster, H.E.R and Blockbuster Remastering:
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, 2014 Blockbuster, in May, selling out Olympic Park's Olympic Hall on the first day of pre-sales. The series was held 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.
On November 22 and 23, Block B held an encore solo Korean concert series, 2014 Blockbuster Remastering, which attracted more than 10,000 fans to two shows at Seoul's SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium.
2015: Formal Debut in Japan, First European Tour, and Sub-Unit BASTARZ:
Block B made its official Japanese debut on January 21, 2015, with the release of the CD single Very Good (Japanese Version). The single debuted at number 5 on the Oricon weekly chart and number 7 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100. The CD release followed a pair of concerts in Tokyo on January 16 and 17 that attracted more than 5,000 fans.
The group had its first official fan meeting on February 15, 2015, attracting approximately 8,000 fans to Seoul's SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium.
Block B conducted their first European tour in February and March of 2015, visiting Paris February 27, Helsinki March 1, Warsaw March 6, and Milan March 8. The tour sold out most shows.
On March 27, Taeil released the solo track "Shaking," which describes the angst of being around the one you secretly love. The song's release was accompanied by a music video starring actress Nam Ji-hyun. Because the story is told from singer's first-person perspective, Taeil does not physically appear in the video.
On April 5th and 6th, Block B announced through solo teaser photos that P.O, U-Kwon, and B-Bomb would make up the group's first sub-unit called BASTARZ. Though not a part of the sub-unit, Zico confirmed that he produced BASTARZ's title track.
The sub-unit's album was released April 13, along with a video for the title track, "Conduct Zero." The album debuted at #3 on the Gaon album chart, with the singles "Conduct Zero," "Charlie Chaplin," "Thief," "Nobody but You," and "Sue Me" debuting on the Gaon digital chart at #6, #24, #63, #65, and #76, respectively.
Block B's official Japanese Web site announced May 1 that the group would release its second single in the country, the Japanese version of "H.E.R," on May 27. Block B began a tour of Japan on May 14; although originally four concerts were scheduled, due to strong demand for tickets the tour was expanded to seven concerts, with performances in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Nagoya drawing some 20,000 fans. The single "H.E.R" debuted at number 7 on the weekly Oricon chart.
On May 21, the organizers of the KCON Music Festival announced that Block B would be performing at the Los Angeles KCON.
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