Kim Ji-won (Hangul: 김지원; born December 21, 1995), better known by his stage name Bobby (Hangul: 바비), is a South Korean rapper, singer, producer and songwriter. He is known as the main rapper of the South Korean boy group iKon, signed under YG Entertainment.
Bobby is both the first idol rapper and the youngest competitor to have won reality television rap contest Show Me The Money, at 18 years old.
Bobby was born in Seoul, South Korea but later moved to Fairfax, Virginia, United States with his parents until he was in high school. He later passed YG’s audition through Kim Jinwoo of Jinusean in New York, and moved back to Korea at the age of 15.
After joining YG Entertainment on January 10, 2011, Bobby participated as a trainee in the 2013 survival program WIN: Who is Next?, competing against other trainees from the same label for the chance to debut as a group. He was a member of the trainee group “Team B” together with B.I, Jinhwan, Yunhyeong, Junhoe and Donghyuk. They competed against “Team A” that consisted of Jinwoo, Seunghoon, Mino, Seungyoon and Taehyun. “Team A” won the program and debuted as Winner.
After Win: Who is Next? ended, Bobby, together with other trainees from YG Entertainment (Mino and Taehyun from Team A, Lisa from Black Pink) and the rest of Team B made a cameo appearance on their senior and labelmate Taeyang’s music video for the song Ringa Linga.
In May 2014, together with B.I he successfully auditioned for the third season of the rap competition Show Me The Money, going on to win the series overall as part of team “Illionaire” with Dok2 and The Quiett of Illionaire Records, winning $100,000 and a special concert. On the competition, Bobby released 4 songs: “Go”, “L4L (Lookin’ for Luv) featuring Dok2 and The Quiett”, “YGGR#HipHop”, and the final song “Guard Up and Bounce”. His songs also charted well on several digital music charts.
In October 2014, he featured in Epik High’s single “Born Hater” alongside Beenzino, Verbal Jint, B.I, and Mino, He was featured on GQ Korea’s 2014 Men of the Year list and on December 4, 2014 he appeared as a guest at GQ Party. He also made an appearance on the Sprite CF together with Kang Sora.
In the same year, again he competed in the Mnet survival program Mix & Match. Successfully made to the debut final member together with B.I, Jinhwan, Ju-Ne, Yunhyeong, Donghyuk and Chanwoo.
After winning the season before, Bobby came back to Show Me the Money 4 for the guerilla concert and he also came to cheer his close friend Mino from WINNER who competed on that season. He appeared on the music video of Mino’s song Fear (featuring Taeyang) by MNet. Also he appeared on the 4th episode, performing on special stage together with B.I, Epik High’s Tablo and DJ Tukutz and Jinusean (producers of the team “Tablo x Jinusean”).
After went through some survival programs and contest: Win: Who is Next?, Show Me the Money 3 and Mix & Match where he won Show Me the Money and settled as one of the seven final members of iKON through Mix & Match, finally Bobby together with B.I, Jinhwan, Junhoe, Yunhyeong, Donghyuk and Chanwoo debuted as iKON. The group officially debuted on September 15, 2015, with the single “My Type”. The group released their full-length debut album on December 24, 2015.
On the end of year 2015 until early 2016, Bobby together with iKON, through the success of their debut album Welcome Back by selling 260.000 copies in Asia and sold 4.8 million copies of the songs leaded the group to be the first group (8 years after Shinee) to get the grand slam Rookie of the Year title by winning several best new artist awards on major Asia awards, including Mnet Asian Music Awards, Japan Record Award and QQ Music Awards
Also on the early of 2016, Bobby featured in Lee Hi’s 2nd Album Seoulite on her song “Video”. The album was released on the 20th of April.
Bobby also made an appearance on the 9th episode of Show Me the Money 5, featuring in Reddy’s song “Like This” and together they performed it on the stage.
Near the end of 2016, Bobby made his debut as a solo artist on September 7, 2016, with the single “HOLUP!” (Korean: 꽐라). The single was released as part of a four-track EP, The MOBB, a collaboration between Bobby and Mino under the name MOBB. They released the singles “Full House” (Korean: 붐벼) and “Hit Me” (Korean: 빨리 전화해) on September 9 with the music videos. As the promotions of their mini-album, MOBB performed on some music shows and also on December 28, they released the Japanese version of The MOBB. They also performed on 26th Seoul Music Award and won the Hip-Hop/Rap Award
In March 2017, Bobby and B.I took part in producing and featuring in PSY’s song “Bomb” from his album 4×2=8.
After a year of hiatus on solo activities and focused on touring with iKon on Asia in 2016 and having Japan tour until early 2017 then again having Japan Dome tour with iKON after the released of their Double-title Album New Kids: Begin, finally Bobby released his first full-length studio album Love and Fall on September 14, 2017. Both lead singles from the album, “I Love You”, and “Runaway”, were written and co-produced by Bobby; the former was produced by Kang Uk-jin and Diggy and the latter produced by Choice37. Bobby took parts in all songs as lyricist and producer. His bandmate Donghyuk together with Katie Kim a trainee from YG Entertainment featured in his song Secret while Mino his close friend and part of the hip-hop duo MOBB with him also featured in his song entitled Up. Following the success of his seniors and labelmates G-Dragon and Taeyang of Big Bang on sweeping the international iTunes Album Charts, Bobby followed their steps and came in 3rd place (after G-Dragon and Taeyang) for the most number one for Korean single album. Having total number one markets in 22 different countries. Bobby then performed his songs I Love You and Runaway once on Inkigayo. Later on, due to having Japan Dome tour with iKon, Bobby couldn’t continue on promoting his solo album. However on November 29, he released the Japanese version of the album and he also performed some of his songs on the tour with iKon.