BLACKPINK: Everything You Need to Know

There is another K-pop group whose music is capturing the attention of a global audience despite the fact that the word K-pop has become almost synonymous with the letters B, T, and S. Since launching as a group in 2016, Blackpink has become a multilingual performance powerhouse that connects with fans across the globe.

Their rapid rise is fueled by a strong fanbase that extends far beyond their homeland of South Korea, and that is what is propelling the rapid ascent of Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa.

On YouTube, Blackpink’s song “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du” has accumulated 2 billion views, making it the most-watched music video by a K-pop group. The group’s social media following is also breaking records. (With more than 4.6 billion views, Psy’s 2012 single “Gangnam Style” continues to be the most-viewed music video by a Korean artist.) The group’s main dancer, Lisa, is the most followed female K-pop artist on Instagram, with more than 87.7 million followers.

What is the meaning of the name Blackpink?

Blackpink’s name was designed to contrast with the notion of femininity usually associated with pink. YG Entertainment said when Blackpink debuted that the name meant to convey that the group represented something more than just beauty. In the opening lines of “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du,” Jennie repeats this message: “I may look sweet, but I don’t act as such.”

How does Blackpink differ from other groups?

Blackpink’s discography is limited — before “Kill This Love,” the group had released fewer than 20 tracks since their debut in 2016, including the Japanese versions of their Korean songs. Nevertheless, a handful of their singles have not only ranked on Billboard charts but gone viral online, with their signature choreographies regularly replicated by fellow K-pop idols and global fans in dance covers.

The group’s ferocity is a major part of what makes them appeal, a combination of powerful rapping, chic styling and powerful singing. K-pop girl groups often utilize dark and edgy concepts in their music videos, such as the bejeweled tank in “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du.” Blackpink double down on these themes in their music videos.

Who are the members of Blackpink?

Jisoo (Full Name: Kim Ji-soo), Born: January 3, 1995 (age 28 years)

She is often referred to as Blackpink’s mood-maker because of her quirky sense of humor and propensity to write on-the-spot songs about anything – from the weather to chicken skewer cravings. In her pre-Blackpink years, Jisoo acted in music videos and commercials. Although she is the only member who doesn’t speak English fluently, the vocalist is nevertheless trilingual, able to speak Korean, Japanese, and Chinese.

Jennie Kim (Full Name: Jennie Kim), Born: January 16, 1996 (age 27 years)

In Blackpink, Jennie was the only member to have been a trainee for six years. (It is common in South Korea for aspiring pop idols to audition with entertainment agencies in order to become trainees in the hopes that one day they will be an artist.) She moved back to South Korea in 2010, having lived in New Zealand for a period of time. In 2010, she released a solo track titled “SOLO,” demonstrating that she could be both a rapper and a singer, while also establishing her as a fashion icon with the more than 20 outfits she donned in the video.

Rosé (Full Name: Roseanne Park), Born: February 11, 1997 (age 25 years)

Having been born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, Rosé was chosen to attend YG Entertainment’s auditions and placed first. She is the group’s main singer, with an easily identifiable voice. She plays the guitar and piano and often covers both English and Korean music. On her birthday, she shared her cover of Halsey’s “Eyes Closed” with fans, stating, “This is such a deeply moving song and I remember at the time when I recorded it, I was in need of healing at the time when I recorded it. Hopefully you will enjoy it just as much as I did singing it.”

Lisa (Full Name: Lalisa Manobal), Born: March 27, 1997 (age 25 years)

Originally from Thailand, Lisa – known as “maknae” – is the group’s main dancer. As a child, she was in a dance crew before auditioning for K-pop idols. As well as Thai, Lisa speaks Korean, English, Japanese, and basic Chinese — which she began learning after moving to South Korea in 2011. Lisa’s dancing, a combination of smooth body rolls, sharp hits, and captivating facial expressions, has become the topic of Blackpink’s viral videos, even though she raps and sings.

How did Blackpink rise in popularity?

It was in 2016 that Blackpink released their debut single album Square One, which consists of two songs, “Whistle” and “Boombayah.” As the first girl group to emerge from YG Entertainment, which is home to powerhouse groups like BIGBANG and 2NE1, Blackpink’s debut was highly anticipated. At the time, “Boombayah” made them the fastest musical act to reach Billboard’s World Digital Songs chart at No. 1. They continued to achieve success with additional releases in the following year.

During 2018, Blackpink reached new heights of international attention when their single “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du” and EP Square Up made them the highest-charting K-pop girl group on Billboard. “Ddu-Du Ddu Du” hit No. 55 on the Billboard Hot 100 – surpassing Wonder Girls’ English version of “Nobody,” which peaked at No. 76 in 2009 — while Square Up hit No. 40 on the Billboard 200. They released the bilingual track “Kiss and Make Up” with Dua Lipa a few months later, reaching a new audience with a track that currently has over 200 million streams.

As a result of signing with Interscope Records and Universal Music Group last October, Blackpink’s global potential became apparent. YG Entertainment partnered with the label with a view to promoting the group internationally. Shortly after, Blackpink appeared on both Good Morning America and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

How did Blackpink become so popular on social media?

As of April 2019, Blackpink’s social media following has increased with each new release. The best-followed K-pop female idol on Instagram is Lisa, and Blackpink is the best-followed K-pop group with 16.4 million followers. Teaser photos of each member sporting new hair colors and serving sinister looks received more than two million likes on the official account of the group before the release of “Kill This Love.” The slogan from the group’s debut song “Boombayah” – “Blackpink in your area” – is regularly trending on Twitter as the group announces its plans to reach international fans.

What is Blackpink’s most watched song?

“Ddu-Du Ddu-Du,” the record-breaking anthem featuring hard-hitting rap verses and dynamic trap beats. The song takes its name from the sound of gunshots, with its choreography characterized by swaying hips and shooting fingers. During the music video, vocalist Jisoo trips and falls as her phone orients to simulate a gun pointing at her as she walks through a crowd recording her. This scene seems to illustrate how quickly admiration for celebrities can turn into aggression toward them.

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