Block B (Korean: 블락비) is a South Korean boy band created by Cho PD in 2011. The group debuted with seven members: Taeil, B-Bomb, Jaehyo, U-Kwon, Park Kyung, Zico and P.O.
In February 2011, Cho PD announced that he would be spending $1.4 million USD to create a seven-member hip hop group under his “Creating Korea’s Eminem Project”. A mini album, New Kids on the Block, was released on June 23, 2011.
On June 22, 2011, the first episode of MTV’s eight-episode series Match Up! was aired featuring Block B and B1A4. On October 16, 2011 MTV started airing a series of specials for the Match Up series that followed Block B as they promoted in Japan.
Welcome to the Block, their second mini album, ran into some controversy: two songs from the album were banned as inappropriate for minors by The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF) and KBS.
In February 2012, Block B came under fire for behaving inappropriately during an interview that had taken place in Thailand a month earlier. They made offensive remarks regarding the flood disaster that was taking place and were criticized by other celebrities and the media. In response, the members issued letters of apology and released a video on their record company’s YouTube channel. As result of this incident, leader of Block B, Zico, also shaved his head to demonstrate his remorse.
Block B returned in October 2012 with their first full-length album, Blockbuster. The title track “Nillili Mambo” was well received and ranked number 10 on Billboard’s World Albums Chart.
On January 3 it was reported that Block B had filed a suit against their agency to ask for their exclusive contract to be nullified.
According to media reports, the Block B members filed against Stardom at the Seoul Central District Court, stating, “During the signing of the exclusive contract, it was promised that in addition to providing proper training opportunity and facilities, we would be paid on every 25th of the following month…However, the agency has not paid us for nearly one year since April 2011.” (It’s not clear whether it is 2011 or 2012 since the quote in the article states that it is nearly a year, but April 2011 would be well over a year).
“It started last year in March when one member’s contract was ended and his portion of the pay was calculated… Appearance fees from events as well as pay from SBS drama ‘Phantom’s OST, MBC drama ‘Golden Time’ OST, and funds collected from the inauguration of our Japanese fan site’s fan club, and more for a total of 10 things, have been omitted.”
They added, “The CEO of the agency, Mr. Lee, has also disappeared with the 70,000,000 KRW (~66,000 USD) that he collected from the members’ parents.”
On May 20, 2013, it was reported that Mr. Lee had committed suicide.
On June 7, 2013, the court ruled in favour of the company, saying “It’s difficult to see the company not being able to pay the group as intentional. From the evidence provided so far, it is difficult to claim that the label purposely did not pay Block B. It is also difficult to say that the label did not provide proper facilities such as studios and dorms, and it is also difficult to say that they did not provide education and guidance. From written records, it cannot be said that Stardom Entertainment violated their management obligations. There is a possibility that the musical income of 430,000,000 KRW (approximately $385,000 USD) and the event income of 5,000,000 KRW (approximately $4,500 USD) was not properly taken care of. However, from just the evidence provided, it cannot be said that the label purposely kept the money from the members.”
Block B issued a statement in response to the ruling, apologising to fans and saying they would no longer be working with Stardom Entertainment. The group also said that they would be contesting the ruling, and were preparing independent promotions.
On August 29, 2013, Block B announced that they had negotiated the transfer of their rights from Stardom to a new management company, Seven Seasons. A representative from Seven Seasons said that the group was planning to release a new album in October.
Seven Seasons created a YouTube channel on which they uploaded Block B videos. On August 31, 2013, Seven Seasons released U-Kwon’s teaser video, which featured him jogging through urban Seoul, with the question “Do you wanna B?” at the end. Following that was Jaehyo and P.O’s teaser released on September 4, showing the two suiting up. That teaser also ended with the question: “Do you wanna B?”
On September 17, 2013, Block B announced their pre-released single via Seven Seasons’ YouTube channel. The single “Be the Light” featured Taeil’s singing voice with a short clip of their music video accompanying it. The full video was released September 22, 2013. The song reached #14 on the Gaon digital chart in the first week of its release.
Block B released their next mini-album, Very Good, with five songs, on October 2. The group also released a video of the title song, along with a “Maximum Close Up Version” on October 7 and a “Dance Like BB Version” on October 15. They held a comeback showcase October 3 at Korea University Hwajeong Gym in Seoul.
Very Good debuted at number one on the Gaon album chart, while the singles “Very Good”, “When Where What How”, and “Nice Day” debuted at number six, 20, and 26, respectively, on the Gaon digital single chart. The album also debuted at number six on the Billboard world album chart.
Block B starred in their own reality show, entitled Five Minutes Before Chaos (개판5분전), which premiered April 10 on Mnet. In early April, Block B announced that they would release a new album entitled Jackpot. The video for the album’s title track, “Jackpot”, was released on April 15, while the album itself was scheduled to be released on April 17. Although the physical album was released, the group’s comeback was canceled following the capsizing of a South Korean ferry carrying more than 400 people.
Block B held their first Korean concert series, 2014 Blockbuster, in May, selling out Olympic Park’s Olympic Hall on the first day of pre-sales. The series was held on May 17 and 18 in Seoul, and May 23 and 24 in Busan. Block B presented showcases in New York, Miami, and Washington D.C. in June through the concert organizer Jazzy Group.
On July 11, Seven Seasons announced that Block B would release a new mini-album, entitled H.E.R, on July 24. Six days later, Seven Seasons released Jackpot digitally for the first time as part of the lead-up to the release of H.E.R, as well as a behind-the-scenes of the “Jackpot” video. “Jackpot” ranked number ten on the Gaon digital singles chart the first week of its release.
“H.E.R” was released on July 24 with an accompanying music video. The song debuted at number three on the Gaon digital singles chart, while the singles “Jackpot”, “Extraordinary Woman”, “Hold Me Now”, and “Very Good (Rough Ver.)” debuted at numbers five, 16, 28, and 80, respectively. The album debuted at number six on the Billboard World Albums chart and number two on the Gaon album chart.
On November 22 and 23, Block B held an encore solo Korean concert series, 2014 Blockbuster Remastering, which attracted more than 10,000 fans to two shows at Seoul’s SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium.
Block B made its official Japanese debut on January 21, 2015, with the release of the single “Very Good (Japanese Version)”. The single debuted at number five on the Oricon weekly chart and number seven on the Billboard Japan Hot 100. The CD release followed a pair of concerts in Tokyo on January 16 and 17 that attracted more than 5,000 fans.
The group had its first official fan meeting on February 15, 2015, attracting approximately 8,000 fans to Seoul’s SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium.
Block B conducted their first European tour in February and March 2015, visiting Paris on February 27, Helsinki on March 1, Warsaw on March 6, and Milan on March 8. The tour sold out most shows.
On March 27, Taeil released the solo track “Shaking” (also called “Inspiring”), which describes the angst of being around the one you secretly love. The song’s release was accompanied by a music video starring actress Nam Ji-hyun. Because the story is told from singer’s first-person perspective, Taeil does not physically appear in the video.
On April 5 and 6, Block B announced through solo teaser photos that P.O, U-Kwon, and B-Bomb would make up the group’s first sub-unit called Bastarz. The sub-unit’s album was released April 13, along with a video for the title track, “Conduct Zero”. The album debuted at number three on the Gaon album chart. To promote the sub-unit, B-Bomb and U-Kwon co-starred in a webdrama entitled Jumping Girl with f(x)’s Luna and Secret’s Hana.
Block B’s official Japanese Web site announced May 1 that the group would release its second single in the country, the Japanese version of “H.E.R”, on May 27. Block B began a tour of Japan on May 14; although originally four concerts were scheduled, due to strong demand for tickets the tour was expanded to seven concerts, with performances in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Nagoya drawing some 20,000 fans. The single “H.E.R” debuted at number seven on the weekly Oricon chart.
On August 2, Block B performed at the Los Angeles KCON. The Los Angeles Times reported that “Block B had one of the most successful melds of Korean hip-hop with boy-band dynamics to come of the scene.”
Park Kyung released a solo track September 21 called “Ordinary Love”, featuring Park Bo-ram. The track was produced by Park Kyung in collaboration with Kero One. “Ordinary Love” debuted at number 3 on the Gaon digital chart.
On September 23, it was announced that Block B would tour the United States for a second time in a concert series organized by SubKulture Entertainment. The group performed in San Francisco November 11, the Chicago area November 13, and Los Angeles November 15.
On March 26, shortly before the release of their lead single, the entire group appeared as guests on the television show Saturday Night Live Korea. The episode included a skit about fan fiction in which Park Kyung and Zico fell in love and kissed each other on the mouth. The kiss resulted in the show being sanctioned by the Korea Communications Standards Commission, which ruled that the skit promoted homosexuality to minors.
Block B released the single “A Few Years Later” two days after their Saturday Night Live Korea appearance, and it debuted at number three on the Gaon digital chart. Blooming Period debuted at number one on the Gaon album chart, with the singles “Toy”, “Walkin’ in the Rain”, “It Was Love” (Taeil version), and “Bingle Bingle” debuting on the Gaon digital chart at numbers two, 16, 17, and 52, respectively.
Block B released two singles in Japan in 2016, “Jackpot” and “Toy”, In late September, it was announced that the group would release My Zone, their first Japanese album, on October 26. The album includes Block B’s first original Japanese song, “My Zone”, the video of which was released October 15.
Bastarz lead single “Selfish & Beautiful Girl”, composed by P.O, was released on October 24. A follow up single, titled “Make It Rain”, was released on October 31 along with the full Welcome 2 Baztarz extended play.
On December 15, 2016, the concert organizer My Music Taste announced that Block B would have a European tour in February and March 2017. The cities on the tour include Amsterdam, Helsinki, Lisbon, Budapest, and London.
On February 6, 2017, Block B released the digital single “Yesterday”. The song, which was composed by Park Kyung, achieved an “all kill”, topping six of Korea’s real-time music charts.
From February 24, 2017, till March 5, 2017, Block B held their second European Tour called Block B 2017 LIVE BLOCKBUSTER IN EUROPE! The tour was held in five cities, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Lisbon, Budapest, and London. Unfortunately, P.O was unable to attend the last two concerts, in Budapest and London respectively, due to health reasons.
On September 20, 2017, Block B Project-1 was released in Japan. The album featured five of the group members performing songs with a variety of Japanese artists, including “Winner”, performed by P.O and U-Kwon with Chanmina; “Lost & Found”, performed by Taeil with Keita Tachibana of W-inds; “Paradise”, performed by B-Bomb with Ken the 390; and “Bus Stop”, performed by Jaehyo with Naoko Tanaka. The members (with the exception of P.O) also performed a showcase in Tokyo the day before the release.
On September 27, P.O made his solo debut with MEN’z NIGHT featuring Chancellor, making him the fourth Block B member to have a solo debut.
On October 17, Seven Seasons announced that Block B would release their sixth mini-album November 7. The album, titled Montage, contains the Korean version of “My Zone” and the title song, “Shall We Dance”, both composed by Zico; “일방적이야” and “이렇게”, both composed by Park Kyung; and “Give & Take”, a solo song by B-Bomb that was also composed by him.
It was reported on November 8 that Block B will be holding two concerts on January 27 and 28, 2018, in the 11,000-seat Jamsil Arena in Seoul. Later in the month, it was announced that Sony Music Entertainment had struck a partnership with KQ Entertainment, the parent company of Block B’s label, Seven Seasons, to promote the company’s artists globally.
At the end of 2017, Seven Seasons announced that Block B would return on January 8th with a repackage of their previous album, Montage, titled Re:MONTAGE. The title track, “Don’t Leave,” is a ballad produced by Park Kyung.
On November 23, 2018 Seven Seasons announced that Zico has not renewed his contract with the company, and will be pursuing solo activities. P.O, Park Kyung, Taeil, U-Kwon, BBomb and Jaehyo have re-signed to pursue individual and sub-unit projects. An official said as for Block B’s future activities, the company is still discussing it from many angles with all seven members.
On December 20, 2018, Jaehyo became the first group member to enter into the conscription required of South Korean men. Due to an injured knee, he is expected to serve approximately two years as a public-service worker.