Block B (Info)

Group Name: Block B

Company: Brand New Stardom Entertainment

Number of Members: 7

Fan Club: BBC (Block B Club)

Block B is a hip-hop group created by Cho PD that officially debuted April 14, 2011. I talk about them in another one of my posts. [1] Cho PD stated that he wanted to create a group of artists that would have as much musical and social influence as Eminem. Their main point is rap, and the group has been learning from underground rappers and been trained for choreography. [2] During their training period Block B wrote and composed about 100 songs, as training to become singer-songwriters. [3] Cho PD, unlike most producers and agency CEOs, decided to give the group full musical freedom. This means that Block B decides their musical direction, not Cho PD. Cho PD stated, “Agency CEOs and producers working for only their own profit are not only selfish, but deprive the artists of the opportunities they need. If they really have a message or lyrics that they want to deliver, they should aid the members to find it and write it themselves. There are prevalent instances where people will add their names to the co-producers credits, and extort copyright when all they did was add the sound of one cymbal. But to me, that’s outdated and undemocratic, and I’m sure that such a system won’t last long.” [4] All songs are produced by leader Zico and Kyung. [5]

Most of the members have have been eliminated from something. From MBC’s “Birth Of A Great Star” [6] to the group itself. The ones that were eliminated from the group, of course, came back or else we wouldn’t have Block B. [7] The members are:

B-BOMB

JAEHYO

KYUNG

P.O

TAEIL

U-KWON

ZICO (Leader)

This is a video profile of the group, I’ve already stated most of what’s in it, but there’s a few additional things. (More photos & groups members almost debuted with)

On February 27, 2011 a rehearsal video of the group was uploaded to youtube. [8]

Loen Ent. uploaded a teaser for Block B’s song “Wanna B” on April 4, 2011.

A full music video for “Freeze” was uploaded April 13, 2011. (I don’t know when the full MV for Wanna B will go up)

Their mini-album is called “Do You Wanna B?” It includes three tracks.

1. Wanna B

2. Freeze 그대로 멈춰라!

3. Is It Just Me? 나만 이런거야? 

They debuted on Music Bank on the 15th of April with “Freeze”.

Here’s the MR removed version.

Zico has proved himself to be an impressive rapper, and he even freestyles well. [9]

Here’s another example of Zico’s amazing rap skills:

On April 20th, Block B’s company, Brand New Stardom released a video of B-Bomb and U-Kwon practicing choreography. They are the dancers of the group and they’re both pretty good. [10]

(B-Bomb is on the left, U-Kwon is on the right)

Block B guested on MBC’s Starry Night radio program. On the show they revealed that their name “It’s actually derived from the term ‘blockbuster’, which is typically used to describe movies of larger, impressive scales. We hope to have the same blockbuster effect on the Korean music industry.”  It was also revealed that Taeil has a hobby of raising exotic fish and even had 50 at one point, he has 10 now. Other fun facts are: Jaehyo has ninja typing abilities; he can type 600 keys per minute, and U-Kwon’s favorite movie is “The Hangover”. [11]

Below are subbed videos of their visit on Starry Night radio.

On April 22, 2011 Brand New Stardom put a set of profile photos on Block B’s official fancafe. They certainly are handsome boys. I had to laugh a little, P.O is such a maknae. [12]

B-BOMB

JAEHYO

KYUNG

P.O

U-KWON

ZICO (Leader)

AllKpop reviewed Block B’s album on April 24, 2011, I’ve included snippets of the review, but you can read the full review here: [13]

“Block B consists of Zico, Kyung, Taeil, P.O., Jae Hyo, U-Kwon, and B-Bomb. The group’s main niche is rap/hip-hop – there are a total of three rappers, all of which have had experience spitting lines in the Korean hip-hop scene.  The rest of the posse are vocalists, with Taeil leading the pack as main vocals.

[…]

Block B are currently promoting their lead single, “Freeze“,  and just by the sound of it, it’s clear they’ve dolled the song up with glitz and glamor to give it that commercial feel.  Truthfully, it’s rather generic for a debut single, but I realized it was going to sound like that going in. Why? Because Block B are new and are trying to bridge the gap between hip-hop and pop music.  That, and the fact that they have to cooperate as a unit of rappers and singers now.

[…]

“Freeze” follows the books and does a fine job of transitioning between the verses and pre-chorus just like a good pop song should. The melodies, though, are where things fall right into place – they’re simple, catchy, and work well with Block B’s voices.

[…]

“Wanna B” is way more on point with the hip-hop style Block B is going for.  This song is chock-full of rap lines and you can really tell who’s rhyming what because each rapper has a distinguishing color to their voice.  One is super throaty (P.O.), the other is higher in pitch (Kyung), and then you have one who stands somewhere in between (Zico).  There’s diversity there and it stretches to the vocalists, who insert the necessary releases of tension built up by the rappers.

[…]

“Is It Just Me” alone, which doesn’t hit as hard as the previous two songs, does a good job of sanding K-pop songs down to fairy dust with its contemporary-R&B style. Now where Block B will have trouble convincing audiences in their current evolution is on stage.  In the recording studio, they are on top of their game, but they lose all the steam during their live performances (as expected from a rookie group).  Basically, Block B lack the endurance and the stamina to deliver a vocally cohesive and consistent live stage, and it has shown in their recent performances.

[…]

Regardless, as a whole package, as long as Block B continue experimenting with their style, working on their vocals, and getting a little more creative without losing that strong hip-hop punch they possess, they’ll really start seeing people take notice of their hard work.”

Overall Rating: 4.3/5

Brand New Stardom just released more profile shots of Block B; this time instead of casual shots, they follow the “Freeze” concept. [14]

B-BOMB

JAEHYO

KYUNG

P.O. (Maknae)

TAEIL

U-KWON

ZICO (Leader)

Jaehyo and U-Kwon appeared on “100 Points Out Of 100” this week, but unfortunately U-Kwon was receiving hospital treatment due to sever fatigue. [15]

Block B MNET Wide StarCam

Block B on MTV’s Let Me Show (with English Subtitles)

On May 25th Block B had an interview with News Vision E. (Translation from Allkpop.com)

Q. Your name, Block B, is very unique.

Block B: It’s a shortened form of the term ‘blockbuster.’  It’s an expression of our desires to become a big impact on the Korean music industry.

Q. Could you please introduce your debut track, “Freeze!“  Can you elaborate on what kind of song it is?

Block B: It’s an electronic track with a hip hop base.  The lyrics are about telling someone you love that keeps drifting, getting further apart from you to freeze for a moment, so that you can deliver your true feelings.  It’s got a hip hop feel with an added effect of electronic sounds so it’s modern in that aspect.  We all love the song and feel that it’s something that’s easy to enjoy.

Q. It’s been a long time since there’s been an emergence of hip hop idols.  After the 90’s, hip hop has basically evaporated from idols and has since turned into a professional genre thanks to the efforts of Cho PD and other hip hop musicians.  There’s a strong fanbase of ‘hip hop manias’ for the genre now, so does that pressure you?

Zico: Honestly, I don’t think hip hop fans want idols to pursue the genre.  We did hear concerns of us following the tastes of the public and I think that people stereotype us as idols that are just pursuing hip hop with no real skills or talents.

We’re young and stand as an idol group so I think it’s inevitable that we’re stereotyped in such a way.  We want to break that with our efforts and talents since we still have so much more to show.  Please don’t look over us with a premeditated / certain view in mind, because over time, we will show something that is uniquely us.

Q. Have you always loved hip hop?

Zico: All of the members love hip hop,  I was a rapper underground and it’s been about six to seven months since I’ve taken up producing.  Park Kyung’s hobby is also rapping and he has always pursued hip hop music.  The passion of the other members don’t fall behind as well.

Q. You received a lot of attention for being trained by Cho PD, who’s regarded as one of the godfathers of Korean hip hop.  What kind of mentor is he to you?

Park Kyung: Off stage, he has a charisma to him that makes you think it’d be both scary and difficult to approach him, but he’s like a hyung to us that always tries to hear our opinions out.  He’s strict when he has to be but overall, he’s really caring.  Most of all, he tells us what what we’re doing wrong right on the spot and always asks us questions in a way that makes us think and come up with an answer our selves.  We really respect that side of him.

Jaehyo: I have a funny episode to share. Before our official debut, we performed at Lotte World.  Right before we were set to get up on the stage, Cho PD hyung pulled us together and told us with a serious expression, “Don’t think for a second that it’s a good thing that you got your name known ahead of everything like this.  If you don’t live up to expectations, you can receive double the criticisms.  It’s like a double-sided saber.”

But sabers are always double-sided, I think what he meant was a double-edged sword.  We were all about to burst out in laughter, but we couldn’t laugh out loud in that situation when he was giving us such serious advice.  We bit our lips and held it inside.  To this day, he doesn’t know that he made such a mistake.  “Hyung, I mean CEO!  It’s not double-sided saber, it’s double-edged sword!”

Q. Let’s move on to your personal stories.  I’m curious as to how each of you debuted.

Park Kyung: I was studying abroad in New Zealand but returned to Korea to debut.  I’ve been friends with Zico since we were in elementary school.  Zico had gone overseas to study in Japan and he told me one day that he had passed Cho PD’s audition and was now an official trainee.  Through that connection, an opportunity for me to audition for Cho PD opened up as well.

Before then, I wasn’t sure as to whether I should pursue music or not, but after talking it over with Zico and meeting Cho PD, I became determined.  The more I think about it, the more thankful I am.

U-Kwon: I first came tried music when I joined a band in junior high school.  I played the guitar and was the sub-vocalist for the band for a while, until one day I fell in love with all of the dancing at the concerts we performed at.  I wanted to pursue both singing and dancing, so I was determined to become a singer that could do both.

Honestly, two years ago, I was under a different agency and was training to become a member of a different group.  I was deeply wounded when that group couldn’t debut, but someone had been watching over me at the time and suggested that I audition for Block B, which is how I received the opportunity.

Zico: I was an art student while studying in Japan.  I had always loved listening and making music so recording and composing had always been something I had learned as a hobby.  Every time I came back to Korea while studying abroad, I’d perform at Hongdae clubs with a few close crews and met a lot of musicians like that.  Two years ago, I received the opportunity to meet Cho PD hyung.  He thought well of me then and let me come in as a trainee right away.

Jaehyo: I lived in Busan and went to see a dance competition with a friend for fun with my friend during my first year of high school.  I was street cast there and really worked hard because I was so glad to have been chosen, but I think I overdid.  I strained and injured my knee and reached a point where I had to nearly give up my dreams.  Right when I was about to give up, MBLAQ’s Lee Joon hyung gave me one last word of support: “Don’t end everything.”  Back in Busan, I went through surgery and recovered, and someone later introduced me to Cho PD.

P.O: In junior high school, my dream was to become an actor, or more specifically, a play actor.  After getting into Hanlim Arts High School, I worked hard to achieve my dream while keeping rap as my specialty.  One of my teachers had watched over me and introduced me to an agency for an audition.  After seeing the hyungs rap and make music there, I was just captivated with their charm.  Ever since, I changed my dream into becoming a singer.

B-Bomb: By chance, I had an opportunity to see Rain’s performance up close.  I really received a shock then and began learning how to dance and sing ever since.  After going through a few auditions, I did have the chance of debuting elsewhere, but I think fate tied me to Block B.  I learned a lot here and was finally able to debut with them.

Taeil: My story’s pretty unique in that I was preparing to enlist in the army before my debut.  I can’t call myself a professional singer, but I had promoted as a singer in a few places.  After seeing an advertisement for MBC’s “Birth of a Great Star“, I auditioned for the program and luckily made it to the camp episode.  Unfortunately, I was eliminated when they were cutting down to 30 members.

I prepared to enlist in the army until I received a call from our agency right after the show aired.  He said he liked what he saw, and soon after, I had joined Block B.  I feel like it’s a dream.

Q. Your debut stories are definitely something worth sharing.  Now let’s talk about the people next to us.  If you had to introduce the person next to you, what would you say?

Park Kyung: U-Kwon is so innocent that it doesn’t work to his advantage.  He’s like a child sometimes, but I think the fact that he’s so uncorrupted is his merit.  But it can also be his weakness because it makes the people around him kind of tired (laughter).

U-Kwon: Zico is someone that hides his prodigal qualities.  He has so much to show, and I don’t think he’s shown all of it yet, which I think is amazing.  I feel this when he writes songs because he’s able to come up with two songs that are of completely different colors.  It surprises me.

Zico: Jaehyo is a hyung that has a handsome face, but a pure sensibility.  He’s like a child, but he’s also the hyung so he’s kind of greedy in that he won’t ever let go of his three favorite things: food, girl groups, and rest.  (Jaehyo tried to retort but failed).  His preference in food is fast food, and girl groups.. Mmm, kind of dangerous to reveal, but he likes a newly debuted group associated with the color pink.  And he also loves resting in his second floor bed no matter what.

Oh, there’s also one more characteristic about him.  He’s got a lot of upper body strength, but his legs are quite weak!

Jaehyo: P.O. isn’t like the maknae, but he’s still the adorable maknae.  I think he wants to become an adult fast because he doesn’t act like a maknae sometimes.  To us, that’s still adorable and he’ll forever be our maknae no matter what.  Oh, and another thing is that I never thought he’d become so handsome when I first met him, but he really did become very cool.  His cuteness turned into a charm which is pretty surprising.  Both his heart and his physical look… have become prettier.  I think he’s always improving.

P.O: Main vocalist Taeil hyung is someone that really loves singing and is very good at it.  Even though he’s so talented, he practices as if his life depends on it.  He’s always living inside of the training room, and I learn a lot from watching him.  He’s one of the oldest hyungs, but he’s really innocent and cute.  He loves reading comic books and raising fishes.  I think he’s a really cute main vocal.

Taeil: B-Bomb is a friend I’m really thankful for.  We’re the same age, and he’s also the first person ever that taught me how to dance.  Unlike his cold impression, I have a lot of memories with him where he’ll help me up when I’m tired from dancing.  I’m thankful for him.

B-Bomb: Park Kyung is like Block B’s endorphin.  He’s always energizing the team and lifting everyone’s moods.. although that does tire us out sometimes (laughter).  I’m joking.  Even though he’s my dongseng, he listens to everything regarding the team very maturely.  I’m proud of him.  If you exclude the bad manners he commits in the car, he’s a really great person.  Because of Kyung, we think very important of the ventilation in the car. (Park Kyung tried to retort this statement as if his life depended on it but was ignored by the other members).

Q. What kind of music will Block B show in the future?

Block B: One thing we’re definitely sure about is that we’re going to be showing music different from the standard idols.  With hip hop as our base, we’re going to try bringing in a variety of different genres as actively as possible.  We want to be remembered as a group that’s both unique and different.

Q. To you guys, what kind of group is Block B?

Block B: We’re a very free group.  We’re not forced into a frame like other idol groups, nor are we pretty.  We may be rough, but we have a definite meaning to our identity and feel that we deliver it directly.  We’re a group that has a color of our own, and it’s always going to be like that into the future.

Q. One concluding statement of determination?

Block B: We’ll be releasing our mini-album in June and beginning our activities then.  It’ll consist of everything we couldn’t show through our debut single, so please watch over us and give us your support. [16]

**Last updated May 25, 2011**

**Note: This article will not but updated any further, as it has been over a month since Block B’s debut.

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One Response to “Block B (Info)”

  1. 2011 New Boy Groups « bekaht2038 Says:

    […] Block B – April 15th, 2011 […]


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