Kim Han-bin (Hangul: 김한빈; born October 22, 1996), better known by his stage name B.I (Hangul: 비아이), is a South Korean singer, rapper, songwriter, and record producer. He is known as the leader and lead rapper of the South Korean boy group iKon, signed under YG Entertainment.
His stage name B.I is the abbreviated form of “Be I” i.e. to Be Myself, which he means he wants to be himself, or become anything he wants to be.
In 2009, he is the featured rapper for MC Mong’s Indian Boy, appeared on the video and performed it live. He also appeared as a cameo on MC Mong’s Horror Show music video.
In 2013, he made his first television appearance in the Mnet reality program WIN: Who Is Next as a member of “Team B”. He later appeared in the 2014 follow-up Mix & Match, successfully forming part of iKon’s lineup alongside bandmates Jinhwan, Bobby, Ju-Ne, Donghyuk, Yunhyeong and Chanwoo. Also in 2014, he appeared alongside Bobby in the third season of the rap contest Show Me The Money.
B.I was born on October 22, 1996, in South Korea. He made his first musical appearance at the age of thirteen, featuring on MC Mong’s 2009 single “Indian Boy”, for which he appeared in the music video and live performances. He also had a cameo appearance in MC Mong’s following music video, “Horror Show”.
He joined YG Entertainment in January 2011. Along with fellow trainees Bobby, Kim Jin-hwan, Yunhyeong, Junhoe, and Donghyuk he went on to become part of the six-member trainee group “Team B”, participating in Mnet’s 2013 reality-survival program WIN: Who Is Next. Teams A and B competed in the show for the chance to debut as a group under the name “Winner”, with the losing team either disbanding or being rearranged. The show consisted of three battle rounds consisting of song arrangement, and dance performance, after which the public voted for the winning team. B.I was designated as the leader of Team B and took the lead on their choreography and arrangements, earning composition credits for the songs “Climax” and “Just Another Boy”. Ultimately, Team B lost the competition, with Team A going on to debut as Winner.
In May 2014, YG Entertainment announced that B.I and Bobby would be competing in the third season of Mnet’s rap survival program Show Me the Money. B.I joined the YG team under mentors Masta Wu and Tablo of Epik High and progressed to the top 8, releasing the self-composed single “Be I” to chart success before being eliminated in the seventh episode. In August, Winner debuted with the single “Empty”, which was co-composed by B.I as a gift, and went on to top multiple music charts.
Following the end of “Show Me The Money 3”, YG announced that the Team B members would be returning to compete in another reality survival show entitled Mix & Match, which had already begun filming during the time B.I. and Bobby were filming for Show Me the Money 3. While B.I, Bobby, and Jinhwan were confirmed for three of the seven spots available as official iKon members, the remaining three members of Team B competed with three new trainees, Jung Chan-woo, Yang Hong-seok and Jung Jin-hyeong, for the four remaining places on the team. During the airing of Mix & Match, B.I earned production credits for two more songs: the Team B single “Wait for Me” as a composer and lyricist and the Epik High collaboration track “Born Hater”. Along with being a featured rapper alongside Beenzino, Verbal Jint, Bobby, and Winner’s Mino, B.I was credited as a co-composer alongside DJ Tukutz. B.I went on to debut in iKon with fellow members, Bobby, Jinhwan, Yunhyeong, Junhoe, Donghyuk and Chanwoo on September 15, 2015 with the track My Type.
As the leader of iKon, he is credited with a role in the production and songwriting of all of the tracks in their 2015 debut album Welcome Back, as well as their singles #WYD, New Kids: Begin, and their second full-length studio album Return.