Eun Ji-won (born June 8, 1978) is a South Korean rapper, singer, host, dancer, composer and leader of the first generation idol group SechsKies (젝스키스). After the group’s disbandment in 2000, Eun pursued a solo career in 2001 with his first single (“A-Ha”) and has mainly focused on hip-hop ever since. In addition to his music career, he has appeared on hit shows like 2 Days & 1 Night, Reply 1997, New Journey to the West and Kang’s Kitchen.
On April 14, 2016, SechsKies held a reunion concert for fans 16 years after their disbandment through the popular program Infinite Challenge. They have since returned to promote as a group and have signed a contract with renowned label YG Entertainment.
Eun attended Hawaiian Mission Academy, from Grade 9 to 12. He was schoolmates with fellow SechsKies member, Kang Sung-hun.
Eun’s great-uncle and his aunt on his father’s side, Park Chung-hee and Park Geun-hye, served the country as President of South Korea. His aunt, however, was impeached not long after shes served. His mother used to be part of a girl group called “Lily Sisters”.
Eun’s nickname in Sechs Kies was “Soy Sauce” (깜시) because of his dark skin. “Eun Choding” (“Kid Eun”) was a later nickname on the reality-variety show Happy Sunday: 1 Night 2 Days because of his childish on-screen persona.
Eun Ji-won and Kang Sung-hoon were discovered by a Daesung Entertainment’s president, Lee Ho Yeon, who was vacationing in Hawaii. Lee formed a six-member group in which Eun became the leader, main rapper and sub-vocalist.
The group debuted in 1997, and disbanded in 2000. Eun described his time with Sechs Kies as hectic, recalling that members would retreat to their parents’ homes to avoid the demanding schedule. They disappeared about two weeks, so they blew off a lot of schedule. Kim Jae-duck said “We were arrogant at that time”. Eun Ji-won said the group’s record label planned many of their media appearances without consulting the members. On the other hand, he said that it was the way to catch up with the H.O.T.. At the Korean variety show “Happy together” on March 10 2011, Eun Ji-won said that Sechs Kies had to maintain a very tight schedule to close the gap on its rival H.O.T.. During this time, the group’s popularity rivaled that of H.O.T..
On May 18, 2000 SechsKies announced their departure from the K-pop scene at a press conference, where a few members were tearful. Lee Jai-jin later said that the group originally intended to leave their record label without disbanding. Eun Ji-won, on the other hand, said that the members had decided it would be best to disband at the peak of their career. They had an opportunity to talk about the disbandment all together during an interview on October 17, 2016. Eun Ji-won stated that the disbandment was decided upon agreement by a majority of the members, though Lee Jai-jin was one of the members that stood against the disbandment.
After the press conference a last music video, “Thanks”, was released after their final concert. He said he had not seen bandmate Ko Ji-yong for seven years; Ko moved to the United States to study, and has not returned.
Although SechsKies disbanded in 2000, in 2002 Eun performed with former member Kang Sung-hun and J-Walk Kim Jae-duck and Jang Su-won. In 2007, he performed with J-Walk on a number of music shows, including KBS’ Yoon Do Hyun’s Love Letter (where they performed the SechsKies song, “Couple”) and Music Bank (performing Eun’s “Adios” and J-Walk’s “Light Storm”). Eun and J-Walk performed “Couple” at Lee Soo-geun’s wedding on March 2, 2008. Eun was featured on the third J-Walk album’s title track, “My Love” and in its music video.
After SechsKies disbanded Eun began his solo career in 2000 with an EP including “A-Ha” on October 27, 2000. He wrote all the songs on his first solo album, G Pop, which was released on March 29, 2001. After his successful first album, Eun refined his style and experimented with his music on his second album, Heavy G.
Hip Hopper Eun Ji-won changed his management to Waltz Music Entertainment in 2003. Eun’s third album, Drunk on Hip Hop (with the single “Drunk on Melody”), was released on September 6, 2003. He later reissued his third album, including a “winter version” of “To Mi Casa” and “Never Ever” from his first solo album. “Drunk on Melody” won Eun the Hip Hop Award at the 2003 SBS Gayo Awards and the KMTV Korean Music Awards. He has performed the song twice on stage with Tiger JK of Drunken Tiger on KBS’ Yoon Do Hyun’s Love Letter.
Eun starred in the romantic comedy Marrying a High-School Girl (여고생 시집가기) with Lim Eun-kyung by first-time director Oh Deok-hwan, which was released on December 23, 2004. He played Park Ondal, a transfer student to the school attended by Pyung-gang (Lim). The film was about a high school girl who must marry a boy named “Ondal” before her sixteenth birthday, and have a baby within a year; otherwise, she would die.
Eun went on hiatus from the industry in mid-2006, but appeared once again when The Movement (무브먼트) (a group of rappers and hip-hop artists throughout Korea) staged a concert on May 13, 2006. Many Movement artists have been featured on Eun’s albums including Drunken Tiger, Tasha (Yoon Mi Rae), Dynamic Duo and Bobby Kim.
Eun returned with a single, “Adios”, after a hiatus from the music industry; his album Love, Death, Introspection (사랑 死랑 思랑) was released on October 30, 2007 with four new tracks and an instrumental version of “Adios”. Mr. Tyfoon, Baek Ji-young and Sat Byul (샛별) were featured on the album. “Adios”, a Latin hip-hop song, was composed by Keeproots with lyrics by Mr. Tyfoon. Tiger JK from Drunken Tiger, Mr. Tyfoon and Eun produced the album. Eun is part of 13 Creative Unit, a subsidiary of Eyagi Entertainment (which also produces singer Hwang Bo and actress Park Si Yeon).
In mid-2007, Eun appeared on the KBS reality-variety show Happy Sunday: 1 Night 2 Days. He replaced Kim Jong Min (who left for military service) on MBC’s Come To Play (놀러와). Eun was a cast member of SBS’ Jihwaza (작렬! 정신통일) before the show’s cancellation in September 2007.
For his fifth album, Eun selected 20 of over 100 songs. In 2007, he performed at the DKNY Party. Eun appeared on Starship Entertainment label-mate Moon Ji-eun’s debut EP (released on April 10, 2008), rapping on “Fox” and appearing in its music video after Moon appeared in Eun’s 2003 music video for “Suddenly” (문득). In June 2008, Eun collaborated with J-Walk (Kim Jaeduck and Jang Suwon, formerly of Sechskies) on a song for J-Walk’s album, “My Love”. Later that year Eun released G Code; its single was “Dangerous”, a sample of Kardinal Offishall featuring Akon’s version of “Dangerous”.
In early 2009 Eun left CH Entertainment and started his own company, GYM Entertainment. The first artist to be released in his company was singer-rapper Gilme; Eun appeared on Gilme’s debut song, “Love Cuts”, and has performed the song on stage with her.
After a year’s hiatus from the music scene Eun released his fifth full-length studio album, Platonic. The lead track, “Siren”, is an electronic dance song with hip-hop rhythms. Eun collaborated with Mr. Tyfoon, Gilme and 2 Days & 1 Night member Lee Su-geun on the album. The album was jointly released by GYM Entertainment and Starship Entertainment.
On March 31, 2011, Eun, Gilme and Mr. Tyfoon formed Clover, which received much attention as Eun Ji-won’s new group after 10 years since Sechs Kies’ disbandment. They performed “La Vida Loca”, from their mini-album Classic Over, on a number of musical shows. “La Vida Loca” was well-received, topping the Cyworld Music Chart even two weeks after the release.
On September 29, 2011, Clover released another digital single, “A Guy Who I Know (아는 오빠)”. In January 2012, Clover received Hip-Hop/Rap Award at the 21st Seoul Music Awards.
On August 14, 2012, Clover released its second digital single, “Pork Soup (돼지국밥)”. On November 18, 2013, Clover’s third digital single, “Trickling (주르륵)” was released.
In 2013, Eun, Chun Myung-hoon, Tony An, Moon Hee-joon and Danny Ahn appeared on a new show on QTV called Handsome Boys of the 20th Century.
Handsome Boys of the 20th Century was created by Moon Hee-joon who invited five celebrities, all of whom were born in the same year (1978), from three other first generation idol groups to start a reality show version of the TV series “Reply 1997”. He presented the idea that they would meet up casually to chat and reflect on topics from their past which they were not allowed to touch on back then. The show starred H.O.T.’s Moon Hee-joon and Tony An, NRG’s Chun Myung-hoon, Sechs Kies’s Eun Ji-won, and g.o.d’s Danny Ahn. The five members named themselves HotSechgodRG — a portmanteau of each member’s previous idol group names.
The first season was aired from April 16, 2013 to July 9, 2013. The show received much attention and HotSechgodRG appeared on many entertainment programs both mainstream and cable, such as Immortal Songs: Singing the Legend, Happy Together and Hwasin – Controller of the Heart (화신). The second season of the “Handsome Boys of the 20th Century” was aired from August 27, 2013 to November 19, 2013. HotSechgodRG announced that they were preparing for a Christmas concert (Legend Back). Unfortunately, Tony encountered some legal trouble and had to withdraw from the group as he was temporarily banned from broadcast appearances. The concert was canceled as they felt they could not go on without Tony. The third season was aired from November 26, 2013 to December 26, 2013 under the name “Handsome Boys Communication (미소년 통신)”. The program consisted of “EunHee Clinic (은희상담소)” starring Moon Hee-joon and Eun Ji-won and “DJ GodRG (DJ 갓알지)” starring Danny Ahn and Chun Myung Hoon.
In May 2014, it was announced that HOTSechgodRG would return for a new show in July. Moon Hee-joon, Eun Ji-won, Danny Ahn, and Chun Myung Hoon starred in a new show called W.I.S.H. (Where is My Super Hero?), which was aired on OnStyle from July 19, 2014 to August 9, 2014.
Danny Ahn, Tony An and Chun Myung-hoon made an appearance on Eun’s travel reality show Plan Man and the foursome travel to Jeju Island. Their trip was broadcast over three episodes, beginning on July 31, 2016. Tony An had previously appeared on another episode with Brian Joo of Fly to the Sky.
With the reforming of Danny Ahn’s group g.o.d in 2014 and Eun’s group SechsKies in 2016, their appearances with the five-man group have been limited due to busy schedules.
On May 11, SechsKies signed a contract with YG Entertainment after their reunion on Infinite Challenge, except for Ko Ji-yong. SechsKies held a comeback concert on September 10 and 11 at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena. After Infinite Challenge aired, SechsKies earned many more fans, and their comeback concert tickets were sold out in only 5 minutes.
On October 7, SechsKies released a new digital single “Three Words (세 단어)” which topped all 8 major music charts shortly after release, achieving all-kill status. It also ranked high in Asian music charts and global iTunes in Taiwan and is among top tracks on iTunes charts in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and others.
On August 19, Eun joined SBS’s variety show ‘Flower Crew’ with fellow Sechs Kies member, Lee Jai-jin. However, they left Flower Crew to focus on group promotions.
On November 23, YG announced that SechsKies’ new album will be released on December 1, 2016. The new album “2016 Re-ALBUM” contains 10 past hit songs of SechsKies that were rearranged and remastered by YG producers, and is prepared a special gift for fans.
SechsKies continued the Yellow Note concert tour on December 10 in Daegu and on December 24–25 in Busan. On October 31, all SechsKies tour concert seats for December were sold out within a few minutes.
On December 16, YG announced SechsKies is to hold a “Yellow Note Final in Seoul” concert on January 21 and 22 at the Jamsil Indoor Stadium. On December 22, all 13,000 tickets were sold out within three minutes.
At the end of the year, SechsKies won several awards including Click! Star Wars Awards Hall of Fame, the 6th Gaon Chart Music Awards The Kpop Contribution of The Year, the 8th Melon Music Awards Hall of Fame, the 31st Golden Disc Awards Best Male Group Performance and the 26th Seoul Music Awards Bonsang.
On February 16, TvN announced Eun Ji-won will be joined their new variety show ‘The Dynamic Duo’.
On March 18, Eun announced the re-open of his official fan club ‘1KYNE’. On March 28, Eun Ji-Won launched his official fanclub, at 12 KST it’s opened for registration. Over 30,000 fans logged onto the website at once caused the site to crashed and remained down for approximately an hour before fans were able to register.
On April 19, YG announced that SechsKies’ new album “The 20th Anniversary” will be released on April 28, 2017. Along with the release of the album, two title tracks will be promoted are “Sad Song” and “Be Well”. The album topped the charts in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia and United States. SECHSKIES’s album also topped Mnet, Bugs, Genie and Naver Chart. All the songs in the album made it to the top 100 on the Melon chart, which is remarkable and shows that SECHSKIES has a wide fan base. SechsKies album topped Gaon Chart and Hanteo real time chart, daily chart and weekly chart. “Be Well” also topped Gaon Digital Chart, Download Chart, BGM Chart and Mobile Chart for the 1st week of May. SechsKies held consecutive wins for the title track “Be Well” on MBC Music Core in May. They also won for the #1 spot on KBS Music Bank.
On April 25, Eun released ‘Love Song’ for OCN drama ‘My Secret Romance’ OST.
On May 4, SechsKies held their first fansign event after 18 years at Time Square located in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul. The venue was filled with more than 3,000 fans gathered to see them.
On May 12, YG announced that SechsKies’ will debuting in Japan after 20 years debut in Korea. SechsKies’ album “The 20th Anniversary” Japan Edition will be released on July 19. YG announced SechsKies’ will held their first Japan Fan Meeting at the Yokohama Bay Hall in Kanagawa on July 23 and at the Namba Hatch in Osaka on September 3.
On August 7, YG announced SechsKies is to hold “20th Anniversary Concert” on September 23 at the Gocheok Sky Dome. On August 22, all tickets were sold out within a few minutes.
On August 16, YG announced Eun Ji Won has officially signed individual contract with YG Entertainment.
In February 2010 Eun announced that he would marry his first love, a woman three years his senior. They knew each other since 1994 in Hawaii, but broke up later when Eun returned to South Korea to start Sechs Kies. Eun and Lee Sooyeon were reunited 13 years later, and engaged in a steady relationship. Eun’s fiancée was sister-in-law by marriage to soccer player Lee Dong-Gook. On April 7 Eun left for Hawaii to prepare for the wedding ceremony, scheduled for April 20. Although filming for 1 Night 2 Days was postponed due to the ROKS Cheonan sinking, Eun and his parents returned to South Korea on April 22 and he was interviewed on SBS’s One Night’s TV Entertainment; he said it was like filming a commercial with his wife. On April 29 the first photo of the wedding ceremony was leaked to the public, in which the couple is walking down the aisle with family and friends congratulating them.
On February 28, 2013, Eun announced that he and his wife divorced in August 2012. A statement from his management said, “Eun Ji-won wed his wife Ms. Lee Sooyeon in April 2010, but the two decided to part ways in August 2012. They decided to go their separate ways so that they could lead new lives following difficulties in getting along due to differences in personality”.
Eun is the only member of Sechs Kies to face criticism since the disbandment for changing his musical genre from pop music to hip hop and rap. Former boy band member Moon Hee-joon of H.O.T also changed genres, becoming a rock instead of a pop singer after going solo (Sechs Kies was a musical rival of H.O.T.).
Eun was the first DJ on MBC FM4U (친한 친구), from 2002 to 2003.