While others joke about finally waking up when September ends, Blackjacks everywhere will chuckle and then choke back their tears as they go back to sleep. It’s been more than two solid years (and then some) since 2NE1 released Crush and the entire group came to an almost stand still, save for their surprise appearance at MAMA 2015.
So… where are they now? And what, then, will become of 2NE1?
Dara has been in a number of solo stints, including a few web dramas as well as the rather short-lived Sugarman. Currently, she’s a judge on Pinoy Boyband Superstar back in the Philippines, where she is almost universally loved. Filipinos adore her. They really, really do. Even before she made her debut as part of 2NE1, she was, and still is, known as the Pambansang Krung Krung.
Her acting and variety appearance in South Korea may have been met with mixed reviews, but out of the four 2NE1 current and former members, her future appears to be the clearest. Even if things go south in South Korea for whatever reason, she still has the Philippines to fall back on.
As for Bom… well. Bom is still alive. She’s been on SNS, mostly liking posts on both Instagram and Twitter. Other than that, her SNS accounts remained mostly radio silent for over two years, but she did return to Twitter this year to show her support for other YG artists. This includes her own group leader CL’s debut in the USA. There were also several sightings of her in public. Not long ago, she penned a letter to a fan who’s suffering from cancer. So yeah, she’s alive and remains as sweet as ever.
But the last we saw of Bom as an idol was MAMA 2015. Will she ever return to the world of KPOP beyond that? Honestly, the odds seem pretty low. If we were to believe Korean netizens’ opinion of Bom, her future, and thus 2NE1’s as a whole, seems pretty bleak. On one hand, comments online aren’t always indication of an entire nation’s general opinion. There are celebrities who have received equally harsh responses online, and yet still have a career today. On the other hand, it’s still possible that returning with a new song could be met with overwhelming backlash that may inadvertently affect YG Entertainment as a whole.
Alongside Dara, CL is one of the only two 2NE1 members who had plans as an entertainer ahead of her, post-Crush. CL recently launched a career in the USA with the single Lifted, preceded by Hello Bitches. She also performed Lifted on The Late Late Show with James Corden (and nailed it), and is now preparing for her North American tour.
But her future remains uncertain. The American music market is massive and far more unpredictable than South Korea’s, to say the least. It might require a lot more time for her to gain traction, if she’s able to at all. She has to be in it for the long haul for this to work. The Late Late Show aside, CL really needs to amp up her promotion for Lifted if she wants to get noticed by the masses. It’s not realistic for her to rely on her existing fanbase to request their local radio stations to play her music.
Furthermore, her tour’s high ticket prices seem to indicate that it’s geared towards her existing fanbase, rather than a means of enticing new fans. It’s good for her pockets, but it may not necessarily be the best way to promote herself. Hopefully she will release a full album soon. Someday. Maybe.
Since her departure, Minzy has joined Baek Jiyoung’s agency, Music Works, as a soloist where she reconnected with her fans at a fan meeting in August. It’s difficult to tell what sort of music she would make as a soloist since she’s had very few opportunities to showcase her own musical identity outside of 2NE1. Covers and a few music samples posted on SNS don’t really tell us anything. She did open her own dance academy though, so it’s possible that dance will be a key element in her solo career. But we do know for sure that she’s still just as passionate about singing, as seen in one of her most recent performances:
Including her in a post with the rest of 2NE1 like this would probably earn me evil eyes from many. But it won’t change history and the fact that Minzy was nonetheless once an important and treasured quarter of 2NE1.
2NE1 as a group
With all of that in mind, will the remaining 2NE1 members ever return as three? YG claimed before that 2NE1 would return with a summer comeback in 2016. Summer has now come and gone, and instead, we have further proof that YG always lies.
But fans recently spotted a track on ASCAP entitled “Intro (Guitar)” credited to Teddy, CL, and 2NE1.
There is not one single song in 2NE1’s current discography with that title. Could this finally be the little silver lining that fans have been looking for? Or just another red herring? Only time will tell.