In what some fans are calling the end of an era, 2NE1 has disbanded with the K-pop supergroup seeing its remaining three members go different ways after a remarkable seven years together.
Following the news that original member Minzy departed the group in May, 2NE1 and its record label YG Entertainment has decided to officially disband the outfit. "YG’s contract with 2NE1 ended in May 2016, Minzy decided to leave the group, and after much consultation with rest of the members, YG has decided to officially disband 2NE1," YG Entertainment said in a statement. "2NE1 has been YG’s signature girl group for the past seven years, so YG is deeply saddened to let them go. However, it is better for 2NE1 members to continue on with their careers as solo artists rather than as a group. YG would like to thank all those in and out of Korea who have loved 2NE1 members and music."
YG added that the group's leader CL—who is currently promoting in America with manager Scooter Braun—and Dara resigned with the company as solo artists. Main vocalist Bom did not renew her contract with YG.
2NE1 stood as one of the leaders of K-pop's expansion, carving out a space for Korean acts particularly in the western market even before PSY.
To date, the quartet stands as the only Korean girl group to hold solo arena concerts in America when their 2012 New Evolution Global Tour made stops in New York and California. Meanwhile, the ladies spent two years holding the record as the highest-charting K-pop album in America with 2014's Crush when it debuted at No. 61 on the Billboard 200. Crush would mark the group's last release and promotions together, but the girls did make a surprise performance at the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards. The Dec. 2 performance would be 2NE1's last time on stage together for the foreseeable future.
Together, 2NE1 earned a remarkable amount of accolades and opportunities for a pop act, nevermind the fact that they were mostly active in Korea. The ladies appeared on U.S. television shows like The Bachelor and America's Next Top Model, earned spreads in magazines like Nylon, and will.i.am featured the group on his 2013 album #willpower which also had guest features like Britney Spears, Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus.
The record-breaking group gained a huge and passionate audience for their hip-hop and electronic-pop sound that blended loads of different genres (reggae on "I Don't Care" and "Falling in Love," trap on "Come Back Home," house on "Gotta Be You") and moods (they were fierce on "Fire" and "Can't Nobody," while vulnerable on "Lonely" and insecure "Ugly"). 2011 single "I Am the Best" arguably became their signature song with the track selling a remarkable amount in America years after its release and even being used in a Microsoft ad. The group still boasts a massive amount of followers on social media (9.4 million on Facebook, 3.4 million on YouTube) and video views (their official videos have more than a billion views on YouTube).
2NE1 will be remembered as a group that helped prove the potential and accessibility of Korean artists in other territories and for highlighting how diversity can help an act shine. Watch the group explain what makes them different in a classic interview where Fuse talked to the foursome in Seoul below: