B.A.P was a Kpop boy group formed by TS Entertainment back in 2012.
Their debut single and album, Warrior, was powerful and charismatic, different from the typical “pretty boy” image. Within two days of its release, Warrior sold over 10,000 copies in South Korea. The EP also entered Billboard’s World Chart Albums at #10.
Back then, I was a huge EXO fan. I really didn’t listen to any other Kpop groups besides those from SM Entertainment. But after listening to B.A.P, I became a huge fan of them. They were a strong all-rounder group. Their music and their MV quality were good.
I remember many comments saying that this group would be the group to break into the US market. But unfortunately, the group disbanded before they even had a chance.
The group filed a lawsuit in 2014 to nullify their contracts with TS Entertainment, claiming unfair working conditions and profit distribution. Apparently, the USD 9 million the group had earned over three years, each member was only paid USD 18,000.
Even after the lawsuit, they continued putting out music, which did really well. A year after the lawsuit, B.A.P got a music show win. In 2016, their second studio album, Noir, helped reclaimed their title as the K-Pop act with the most No.1 Albums on Billboard’s World Album chart.
Their songs shifted their focus to talking about societal issues and their personal feelings about the lawsuit. “Wake Me Up” talked about mental health. “Dystopia” directly attacked the idea of living in “utopias,” disregarding them all as illusions. They were one of the first groups to incorporate struggles into their songs.
This was all before Yongguk, the leader, and Zelo, the youngest member, left the group in 2018. And then it all went downhill from there.
I think B.A.P was one of the first groups to do something different from everyone else in the industry. I remember that Kpop songs back then heavily focused on romance, crushes, and breakups. B.A.P’s music videos had interesting storylines, and they weren’t afraid to try something musically different.
While the members have gone their own path after the group’s disbandment, I really don’t think they will get much individual success on a global scale. During their promotions, they were prevalent, but they were still building their global fanbase. People were just getting to know them as a group. The individual members didn’t have a solid fanbase yet.
Sometimes, I still check to see what some of the members are up to every now and then.
Daehyun, the group’s main vocalist, transitioned from an idol to an “all-rounder singer-songwriter.” His first single album, Aight, debuted at number 15 on South Korea’s national Gaon Album Chart. But internationally, there’s very little news about him. I think he recently enlisted, so there’ll also be a long wait if we get to hear some information about his projects.
Youngjae, the group’s other main vocalist, also put out some music, but I don’t think any of them charted. However, he seems to be going back and forth between a singer and an actor. He was cast in Mr. Queen, tVN’s historical comedy-drama, in 2020.
Youngguk also has continued writing and producing music. Most of his songs focus on personal experiences or openly call out governments, companies, and more to take advantage of their power. He’s serving in the military right now, so there’s not much news about him.
B.A.P is a prime example of how vital management is. While the group has to work hard, I don’t think a successful group could achieve a feat without good management. I think this could be said about many other groups. B.A.P is only one of the many.
There’s a possibility of B.A.P reuniting in the future, and I am eagerly waiting for that day. They are indeed legends.
6 thoughts on “Spill the Tea: The wasted potential of B.A.P”
everytime I think of B.A.P i just get so annoyed at how they had so much wasted potential. Jongup’s solo ‘headache’ is a favourite of mine , they’re all so talented
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Agreed. I’m glad the members still seem to keep in touch and cheer each other on
Thank you very much. Gotta like how everyone in kpop is like “swag badass” now while acting as if BAP never existed
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Preach. B.A.P always had such phenomenal music videos and an aura in general that was so different from what everyone else was doing at the time. I love their discography a lot and I really wish things were better for them, both then and now. Yongguk’s solo career has been good so far considering different circumstances (Hikikomori is one of my favourite songs ever) so I’m looking forward to his discharge from the military and upcoming music! I like that they’ve stayed good friends even after the disbandment, seeing them together at solo fanmeets of certain members these past 2 years was fun, and I really think there’s a possibility of them releasing something together again in the future, when the time comes! ♡
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I love their discography too. One Shot will always be a favorite. ♡ I saw Daehyun post a photo from their debut days on IG. The caption was something like ‘miss this’ and my heart went ╥﹏╥. It was really nice to see them post stuff about each other’s projects too. I don’t have high hopes of them re-debuting as a group but hopefully they do get together for something when the time is right!