It’s always interesting to think of what news I’ll wake up to in the morning. And when I mean wake up, I mean wake up. With several east coast members of the nerd herd getting up before I do, and several of them on the west coast going to bed later, and SaraG who’s day starts before the sun rises, I usually end up waking to some sort of Kpop news. Some good. Some bad. Always interesting. (The Kpop nerd herd: the water cooler of kpop news.)
Then there are the days were your alarm turns on, you roll over, pick up your phone, open a link and bolt out of bed. The news that Epik High and YG have parted ways? Yep, this was one of those mornings.
I know some people probably saw this coming, but for me I was pretty much blindsided. YG and EpiK High have been together for years! YG opened a sub-label HIGHGRND and put Tablo in charge of it. YG was the one who took a chance on Epik High after the Tablo fiasco was going down and they were kicked (or mutually parted ways wink-wink nod-nod) with their last label. YG and Epik High have reached some great heights. For that to be all done? Surprise!
Of course, we probably won’t find out what happened for years and years, if ever. I’m sure there’s lots of speculation as to what happened, how it happened. Did YG initiate it? Did Epik High? If so, why were either of the sides unhappy? I know that Tablo stepped down from HIGHGRND a couple of years ago to focus on Epik High music. Has HIGHGRND done anything of note since it he left? I know they had a few artists signed there. Isn’t Hyukoh there?
What is Epik High going to do now? Are they going to sign with another label? Or are they going to go out and start their own? There are plenty of artists who do this and Epik High is way more talented and experienced then they are. Especially with the work that Tablo did with HIGHGRND, and the fact that they seem almost like independent artists anyway, striking out on their own is kind of the next logical step for them. Epik High has been through a lot in their years together, something tells me they are going to be just fine in whatever they decided to do.
What I wonder the most out of this news is: what is going on over at YG? I remember a day when they were huge. When they were really the management company you wished people would sign with as they seemed the least evil. Now though? I groan a little bit when I hear that a newbie is signing with them. As much as I enjoy the music that they do put out, YG has a lot of talent in its stable that it’s wasting. Bands or singers who are just out there, lingering on the vine while they wait for YG to remember that they’re there somewhere. What ever happened to Lee Hi? What ever happened to that new group that was supposed to premier with that amazing kid they showed off on the YG vs JYP battle? Why is even CL calling YG out for ditching her in the basement? Did you know that PSY left YG? How did that happen? Why is it do we now hope for people to get dropped from the label so that they can actually go out and accomplish something?
I know things change. I know it’s been a few years since I’ve been in the Kpop game. But for a reputation to completely turn around in such a short amount of time? It just seems…off. Inside my head cannon I’ve of course built this whole story of Epik High leaving. That they saw the change and their bucking the system — but that’s just me, my brain builds stories — its what I do. I just know that Epik High is made up of a bunch of good guys. Good guys who enjoyed helping their dongsaengs. Example? PSY and Tablo were a big help to iKON during their Return album, an album where, I really feel they caught their stride.
I guess we’ll see where all of this pans out. In a few years. But in the meantime, I really wish everyone the best. Epik High, good luck to wherever you decide to go. (Perhaps this new place will prod Tablo to finally make a second solo album.) I even wish YG luck. For BigBang to be able to come back, we need you to be strong. For all of those exceptionally talented people who are signed with YG, I hope they get all the attention and promotion they deserve because if YG has any skill at all, it’s in choosing and harvesting new talent, so these kids could be the best, they just need a chance.