By Tamar Herman, Billboard Magazine.
Two years after releasing their final album, the iconic K-pop girl group 2NE1 officially disbanded as of Friday, Nov. 25.
Since surging to popularity with their 2009 debut single “Fire” and becoming known worldwide for their swaggering girl power anthem “I’m the Best,” 2NE1 became one of K-pop’s most iconic girl groups. On Friday, YG Entertainment announced through an official release on the company’s website that the agency was “deeply saddened to let [2NE1] go” after seven years but decided that it is “better” for the members to pursue solo careers. The agency also announced that it renewed contracts with members CL and Dara but revealed that the group’s third and final member, Park Bom, will no longer be managed by the company. The news followed the revelation earlier this year that the foursome became a trio when the group’s youngest member, Minzy, chose not to renew her contract with YG.
The once-quartet released its final album, Crush, in 2014 and last performed together at the 2015 Mnet Asia Music Awards (MAMA). Throughout their career, 2NE1 saw 19 hits appear on the World Digital Songs chart, three albums appear in the top 10 of the World Albums chart, and one album appear on the Billboard 200 chart.
The act held the highest ranking K-pop album on the Billboard 200 for two years, when Crush debuted at no. 61 in 2014. (BTS overtook the title earlier this year when Wings debuted at no. 26.) 2NE1’s 2010 album To Anyone became their first album to appear on the World Album chart, debuting at no. 7, while the group’s 2nd EP appeared at no. 34 on the Heatseekers Albums chart and the World Album chart at No. 4 the following year. Along with appearing on the Billboard 200, 2NE1’s final album, Crush, also appeared at No. 9 on the Independent Albums chart and took the No. 2 spot on the World Album chart.
Prior to disbanding, 2NE1 was YG Entertainment’s most prominent female act and their only active K-pop girl group prior to BlackPink’s debut earlier this year. Throughout their career, 2NE1 pursued a variety of sounds, incorporating pop, hip-hop, reggae, electronica and R&B elements into their music. The group’s aggressive, fashion-forward persona combined with their relatable lyrics enabled the quartet to rise to the top of the K-pop world as an alternative to more girlish and cutesy acts.
2NE1 halted most of their activities in 2014, after Park Bom came under fire for illegally importing medication from the U.S. Since then CL has pursued her solo music career and recently completed her first North American tour, while Dara furthered her television career. 2NE1 appeared together for the last time at the 2015 MAMAs, where the three other members surprised viewers by appearing alongside CL during her solo set and performing some of their biggest hits.