In May 2011, producer Shinsadong Tiger and AB Entertainment scouted several trainees from JYP Entertainment to form a new girl group. Trainee Yuji was the first to join when a JYP girl group failed to debut. Yuji contacted the trainees Hani, Haeryeong, and Junghwa to audition for AB, and all three were subsequently accepted into the agency. The group added a fifth member when Shinsadong Tiger discovered LE, an underground rapper and songwriter who performed under the name Elly. Dami, who was already an AB trainee, was the sixth and last member added to the group. EXID was scheduled to debut in January 2012, but their debut was delayed to February when LE sustained a leg injury during rehearsals. On February 3, AB Entertainment announced that EXID would debut with the single “Whoz That Girl”. Video teasers featuring the members doing solo performances were subsequently released online.
EXID released their first single “Whoz That Girl” from the digital single album Holla, on February 16, 2012. They made their debut performance on M! Countdown, and then performed on Music Core and Inkigayo. Their debut song “Whoz That Girl” peaked at number 36 on the Gaon Singles Chart and ultimately sold 840,000 digital copies.
In April 2012, AB Entertainment officially announced members Yuji, Dami, and Haeryeong’s departure and said in a statement that Yuji and Dami had left the group to focus on their studies, while Haeryeong had left to pursue an acting career. They were replaced by Solji, a former member of vocal duo 2NB, and Hyelin, who was originally considered for EXID’s original lineup before she was dropped. With the new members, EXID returned in August 2012 with their second single “I Feel Good” from their first EP Hippity Hop. Hippity Hop debuted at number 13 on the Gaon Albums Chart, selling 1,500 copies. EXID released the digital single “Every Night”, in October. The title track is an alternate version of LE’s self-written song “Phone Call”, which was recorded in their debut EP. “Every Night” debuted at number 43 on the Gaon Singles Chart, selling 105,000 digital copies.
On October 11, EXID released the song “Hey Boy” as part of the soundtrack release for MBC’s sitcom The Thousandth Man. The song is the female version of B1A4’s song “Hey Girl”. Producer Shinsadong Tiger rearranged the song into a “reggae style” to create a different approach from B1A4’s original version. It was revealed on November 30 that EXID, along with Big Star and D-Unit, would release a collaboration album, in addition to doing a special year of end show. The concert, entitled “The Bugs Show Vol. 1”, was held on December 22 at the V-Hall in the Hongdae area of Seoul. On December 6, EXID won the rookie award at the 20th Korea Culture & Entertainment Awards.
In February 2013, EXID released the single “Up & Down”, from the Incarnation of Money soundtrack. It was announced shortly afterwards that members Hani and Solji would form a subunit called “Dasoni”. The sub-unit released their debut single “Goodbye” on February 15, with the B-side track “Said So Often”.
In June 2014, EXID was announced to have signed an exclusive contract with Yedang Entertainment, and were preparing a comeback in collaboration with producer Shinsadong Tiger. On August 24, EXID held their comeback showcase at the Ilchi Art Hall, performing their new song “Up & Down”. The song was released on August 27 and initially charted poorly, failing to make it onto the top 100 of the Gaon Chart; though it peaked at number 94 on the domestic chart. However, the song slowly gained popularity in early October after a fan-recorded video of Hani performing the song went viral on Korean social networking websites. The video has been viewed more than 26 million times to date. This led to the song shooting back up record charts, eventually climbing into the top 10 on the real-time charts and topping the Gaon Chart. Because of the success of the fancam, EXID was invited back onto stage to promote despite the fact their promotions ended months prior. Due to this success, EXID returned to several music programs to promote “Up and Down”. The song was subsequently nominated for a first place award on Show! Music Core, The Music Trend, and M!Countdown, where they took their first music show win since debut on January 8, 2015. The group won a second award at KBS’ Music Bank on January 9, and a third one at SBS’ Inkigayo on January 11.
In February 2015, Solji participated in the pilot episode of MBC’s singing competition program King of Mask Singer. She became the first winner of the show, which drew a lot of attention to EXID. On April 13, the music video for the title song “Ah Yeah”, from EXID’s second EP, was released. The group won first place with “Ah Yeah” on both April 26 and May 3 episodes of SBS’ Inkigayo, as well as the April 29 and May 6 episodes of Show Champion.
In May, the group made their first American performance at the Korean Music Festival in Los Angeles, California. EXID featured in their own season of the MBC Every1 reality show Showtime in July.
On November 7, EXID won the MBC Music Star Award at the 2015 MelOn Music Awards. The music video for “Hot Pink” was released on November 17. “Hot Pink” was nominated for a first place award on various music programs. The group received their first win for “Hot Pink” on November 25 on Show Champion, and their second win on December 6 on Inkigayo.
On January 11, 2016, EXID signed with China’s entertainment company Banana Project in a bid to extend its popularity outside Korea. This sparked discussions regarding EXID’s future activities in South Korea; however, CEO of Banana Culture Music Wang Sicong assured fans that the next album his company invested on EXID would be released simultaneously in China and South Korea.
On March 2, EXID’s record label Yedang Entertainment changes name to Banana Culture, launching a joint venture company in Seoul with Banana Project. On March 18, EXID held their first Chinese fan meeting, ‘EXID’s LEGGO Show in Shanghai’.
On June 1, the group released their first studio album titled Street with the title track “L.I.E”. Street includes 12 tracks, many of which were written and/or composed by LE. EXID’s first studio album also included “Hello”, a solo song by lead vocalist Hani and “3%”, a solo song sung by main vocalist Solji. The album peaked at number two in Korea on the Gaon Album Chart, while “L.I.E” peaked at number five as a single. On June 8, 2016, EXID won first place with “L.I.E” on Show Champion and soon after, they won first place on both Inkigayo and The Show as well.
On December 20, 2016, EXID released their first Chinese single, “Cream” on QQ Music and YinYueTai-which peaked at number six on the Billboard China V Chart. However, a day later, Banana Culture announced that Solji had been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and that she would halt all her activities for the awards season of 2016-17, while the remaining four members continue on.
On January 10, 2017, the group released their second Chinese single “Up & Down” (Chinese: 上下; pinyin: Shàngxià). On the same day of its release, an edited version music video for “Up & Down (Chinese Ver.)” was uploaded to YouTube and the original was removed. Some Chinese fans found EXID’s dancing in the ‘Forbidden City’ to be inappropriate whilst some thought that it was completely normal.
On March 17, 2017, the four members of EXID excluding Solji performed at the Mexico City Arena as part of the KCON music festival in Mexico, with Hani covering Mexican duo Jesse & Joy’s “Ecos De Amor”.
Due to Solji’s remaining health issues, the group’s comeback was delayed until April. Their agency announced in March that EXID would return as a four-piece while Solji recovered from her hyperthyroidism. On April 10, EXID officially released their third EP Eclipse and their title song “Night Rather Than Day”. Eclipse debuted at number four on the Billboard World Albums chart, becoming the group’s best-charting – and first top-five – album on the chart to date. On April 25, 2017, EXID won first place on The Show with “Night Rather Than Day”. This was followed by their second win with this song on Show Champion the following day and their third win on The Show on May 2, 2017.
On May 12, Banana Culture Entertainment has announced that EXID would embark on a promotional Asian tour during the summer. Titled ‘EXID Asia Tour 2017’, the group visited a handful of countries for the tour, starting in Hong Kong and Singapore. They originally planned to visited Taiwan on July 30, before performing a homecoming concert in Seoul on August 12; however, due to safety concerns over the threat of Typhoon Nesat, the Taiwanese show was postponed to August 26.
On the day of the gig in Seoul, a picture with all five members was posted on the social media, thus sparking speculations Solji might make her comeback at the respective concert. She indeed appeared from the crowd to perform “Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring” with the other members. The Asian tour is wrapped up with their appearance at Taipei, Taiwan on August 26.
EXID’s fourth mini album Full Moon was released on November 7, 2017. This marks the return of member Solji, who was absent from the group since 2016. This time, Solji only participated in the recording process but was absent from the promotions and the title track’s music video. On November 21, 2017, EXID won first place on The Show with “DDD”.
From December 2017 onwards, EXID, through their social media platforms, shared photo teasers for a project named re:flower, whose songs would be remasters and remakes of past their songs that weren’t title songs.
EXID returned with a single album Lady on April 2, 2018, only promoting as four, however, due to Solji still recovering from surgery. The lead track for the album is entitled “내일해 (Lady)”. On April 10, 2018, EXID won first place on The Show with “Lady”.
On 11 May, Banana Culture announced EXID’s launching of their Japanese official website, which included a Japanese fan club. They also announced a debut showcase at Tokyo to be held on June 27. During the showcase, EXID announced their release of the Japanese version of “Up & Down” on August 22, as well as their first Japanese tour to be held between 23 and 25 August, with Solji confirming that she will have returned by then. The Japanese single album debuted at number 15 on the Daily chart of Oricon.
In November 2018, all five members of EXID released a song entitled “I Love You”. The song entered Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart at number 5.
Since debuting in 2012, EXID has won four various awards and 22 music program awards. On January 8, 2015, the group won their first number-one win on M! Countdown due to the success of their digital single “Up & Down,” followed by wins on Music Bank, The Music Trend and The Show.