Why Epik High Leaving YG Entertainment is the Best Thing For Their Career Right Now
by Kristine Sage
5 months ago
YG Entertainment has officially announced that the Epik High trio will no longer be labelmates. “YG Entertainment’s exclusive contract with Epik High has come to an end. After a long discussion, YG and Epik High have decided not to renew.”
The statement went on to say, “YG is grateful to Tablo and Epik High, who’ve made great music with us for the past 7 years. We’re also cheering on their new start and activities. We hope they’ll always be in good health and wish them happiness, and we ask that you send blessings for Epik High’s future. We also express our sincere thanks to the fans who’ve loved Epik High as artists under YG.”
Having started out from humble beginnings as an alternative hip hop group composed of Tablo, Mithra Jin, and DJ Tukutz, enter Epik High. They’ve become known for combining their genres and different styles of hip hop to create new sounds. Throughout their career they have seen the release of eleven studio albums since their debut in 2003, and they’re also diverse in their lyrical themes.
The group went on hiatus between 2010-2012 when two members had to serve their mandatory military service, but upon their return, YG Entertainment signed Mithra Jin and DJ Tukutz on July 25, but Tablo had also already released a solo album under the label. They’ve received international acclaim, winning several music awards in Korea and become the second ever Korean act to play at Coachella, one of the world’s biggest music festivals.
Their career beginnings materialized in the underground hip hop scene in Seoul, with other Korean hip hop groups such as CB Mass and as part of the “Movement Crew”, one of the largest hip hop crews of the time in Seoul. They struggled at first, because their genre was unpopular among mainstream audiences, “lyrically complex music” wasn’t easy to digest, and it didn’t match the K-pop model of the time. They started out with Woolim Entertainment in 2003, and released their debut album, “Map of the Human Soul” while they were there. But they only really started to gain success with the release of their second album, High Society, which they released the year after.
Epik High started making the mainstream radar when they released their next couple albums, “Pieces, Part One and Lovescream” and “Map the Soul and [e]”. They were also touching more on electronic pop and they were challenging the K-pop trend. They were also performing in various cities in the US.
After the group’s three-year hiatus (due to aforementioned military service), the group released the single “It’s Cold” under YG Entertainment, and they hit chart success. They went on to work with some of the best music producers in Korea to date, Dok2, Dumbfoundead, MYK and more. They performed at SXSW in Austin, Texas, in March 2015, and the year after that, they performed at Coachella.
Most fans have expressed remorse at the news, but some loyal fans, who have been there since Day 1, have expressed excitement. “I preferred their output prior to them joining the label,” says music blogger Asianjunkie.
Speculations are rising that Epik High might be releasing more new music, as there is really no purpose, other than retirement, for them to leave YG Entertainment. What do you think is next for Epik High?