Now that I’ve gone through my Top 2 groups, time to move on to the rest 🙂 I swear, there’s not that many groups that I’m gonna talk about like this so don’t worry – this series won’t last too long hahaha
While GOT7 and BTS are groups that I fell in love with almost immediately, my next favourite group is not like that at all. My 3rd favourite group is: B.A.P!
For me, I kind of “forced”, for lack of a better word, myself to listen to them and enjoy them. Listening to their back catalogue songs was somewhat difficult for me as they have a lot of different genres that didn’t fit in with my preferred genre at the time.
I first watched their song Young Wild and Free at the start of last year. I really liked it so I thought I’d watch all their MVs on my YouTube channel (you can still find all my reactions there – my YouTube is Hana Rosey.) Through watching their reactions for 2 weeks non-stop I soon feel in love with their ability to adapt with different genres, so much so that I now refer to them as The Genre Kings.
B.A.P is a group that goes against the normal stereotypes of other groups as they tend to be more political than other groups. While BTS is also socially conscious and they represent the youth, B.A.P represents the human race as a whole and the effects of those in power over us. Heavy stuff, right?!
So sit back and relax while I walk you through the brief history that is one of the most over-looked groups in Korea: B! A! P!
Debut: 2011 – 2012
B.A.P (Best Absolute Perfect) was formed in 2011 through TS Entertainment but they debuted on January 27 2012 with their song Warrior and their debut EP Warrior.
As cringe as it is to go back and watch any of their earlier stuff, B.A.P were different, there’s no denying it! While most groups were bringing out the same sounding songs with “eye-candy”, B.A.P came out with a rock-based debut song and rather than showed the same image as the other groups around they showed a bad-boy, masculine image. They also debuted with a story – of being a group of aliens that have come to Earth to save their home planet, Planet Mato – and they all had peroxide blonde hair to show their unity as a group. I told you it was cringe! But it worked!! People noticed them and the rest was history!
Rock seems to be a genre that all six boys feel comfortable with as its a genre they often return to, extremely evident with Warrior. The EP, although having only four songs, already shows a wide range of genres. While Warrior is more rock based, Burn It Up and Unbreakable show a more R&B based song. Aside from Warrior my favourite song is Secret Love. This song shows another genre as its more slow/ballad-like and showcases their crazy vocals.
In March 2012, B.A.P came back with another song Power and EP Power.
While Power is most definitely still rock, their other songs on the EP were obviously for a purpose – Fight for Freedom and What the Hell were when B.A.P started to show their individuality. Although the songs sounded similar to what they’d already done, their songs were talking about issues that weren’t discussed by idols usually. Something they continue to do today.
In July of the same year, they release their new single No Mercy and their new EP No Mercy.
This comeback for B.A.P is one of my favourites. Although their songs will always have a close link to rock, this comeback in particular was more R&B based with a strong beat and catchy hook throughout the song.
The mini album also showcased more genres. Dancing in the Rain and Goodbye are light and catchy pop songs. My absolute favourite song on this EP is Voice Message. I love B.A.P songs that pack a punch and pump you up but when they flip the script and start singing a ballad – like Voice Message – it messes me up. I think the first time I heard/watched this song, I cried.
In August, they repackaged this album and renamed it Crash and included two songs, Crash and I Remember.
To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Crash although I love the MV for it. The song that I love the most on this is obviously I Remember. This song is a solo from Yongguk and feat Jung Daehyun but the official MV for this single featured Yang Yoseob from BEAST/HIGHLIGHT. This song is another one that I cried in and I don’t know if it was because of the song or because of the MV. And because this song was a solo from their rapper, it was heavy hiphop – yet another genre shown from a group I had started to think were becoming Genre Kings.
In October 2012, they release their last comeback of the year with single Stop It and their fourth EP Stop It.
Stop It is another favourite song of mine. It was cute, extremely catchy and the MV was adorable. They decided to dye their hair back to blonde to show everyone that they were still united as a group.
This EP only had three songs on it, with their other two songs showing two different genres again – Yessir was R&B-based and Happy Birthday is a ballad.
As you can tell from their first year of debut, they were extremely active. Although I couldn’t help but be worried about how hard they were working when I found out all these songs and EPs were release in the span of one year, their meaning and point behind it made me happy.
I watched an interview with B.A.P and they explained why they’d been so active. I can’t remember which member said it but they’d said that they didn’t want their fans or the public to forget them. As sad as that is, they worked hard at showing everyone the different genres they could do.
One Shot and First Sensibility: When They Were Noticed 2013 – 2014
For me, I think One Shot is the song and era that made people notice them. Although they obviously already had a lot of fans, I think Korea had a hard time with the genres they were showcasing. I’ve heard that a lot of Korean fans are picky about idol groups and their songs – if the song is different, they don’t like it. That might be offensive, and I don’t mean it that way at all, it’s just something I’ve heard in regards to other groups.
In February 2013, they release their newest single One Shot and their new EP One Shot which ranked No. 1 on the Billboard World Albums chart. One Shot showcased the power and masculinity that they first had with their debut and this MV is absolutely amazing. Longer than most, I feel like they changed the game with the storyline and plot twist. I think this was the first MV I’d seen when they used stems from other songs on the EP as background music for some parts of the MV, another tactic that they’ve used in later comebacks.
This EP had 5 songs, the majority of them being ballad-based although their songs One Shot and Punch are closely linked with rock. I have a couple favourite songs on this album like Coma and Rain Sound. Both songs are extremely emotional and I again cried when I heard Coma for the first time and watched the MV for Rain Sound. To this day, I will never skip past either of these songs and holler them out at the top of my lungs!
In July 2013 they release their sixth EP Badman with title track Badman.
Badman is another favourite as it was a lot darker than their earlier releases. Although they’ve always had a kind of darkness in their songs and MVs, this MV in particular was more based around a war or around riot situations. It featured more of a dance/electronic break down than what we’ve seen them do so far.
This EP featured six songs and they also let out MVs for their songs Coffee Shop and Hurricane, both of these showing a calm and chilled vibe and then a hectic heavy dance vibe.
In February 2014, they release their first ever full album First Sensibility which featured 13 songs with their single being 1004 (Angel).
When this album was released it topped the Billboard World Albums chart which proved the groups international popularity – something that should make the boys very proud. It was also doing well inside Korea with topping the Gaon and Hanteo monthly charts for February. 1004 (Angel) also won the boys their first win on Show Champion and couple more times after that.
This full album had a little bit of everything genre-wise. It was nice to have one whole album that showcased all the genres that B.A.P had shown before. My favourite songs on this album are With You and B.A.B.Y, the last song being about their fandom. Both songs are ballad/slow songs, and you should all know by now that I love me some ballads!!
The Lawsuit and Young Wild and Free: 2014 – 2015
In November 2014, B.A.P had filed a lawsuit agains TS Entertainment to nullify their contract due to unfair working conditions and profit distribution. TS had challenged this with a statement denying the members claims only to have B.A.P challenge back stating that the company lacked accountability and that they wanted to file for defamation of character.
Although sad and horrible that the boys were experiencing such conditions, it was no doubt sadder for them. They had to go a long time without performing or seeing their fans.
In August 2015, B.A.P returned to TS Entertainment after both parties had reached a settlement.
They made their comeback with their eighth EP Matrix with their single Young Wild and Free.
As this song was the first song I ever saw/heard of B.A.Ps, I’m extremely attached to it to the point where it’s my favourite B.A.P song ever.
Fans of B.A.P went absolutely crazy when this song came out. Their favs were back and had finally brought out a new song. Exactly one year after they had filed for their lawsuit, B.A.P won No. 1 on Music Bank.
Feel So Good, That’s My Jam and Skydive: 2016
In February 2016, the released their new EP Carnival with single Feel So Good.
This song was a lot lighter than what they’ve done previously. The only past song I can really liken it to is with Stop It as it showed a light and happy side to B.A.P they’d only really shown on variety shows and interviews. The entire MV itself was extremely bright and the song itself is catchy as hell. Members Jongup and Zelo also contributed to the choreography for this song too.
Even this EP was full of fun and happy songs which was the first time they’d done an entire album that was seemingly the same, genre/music-wise.
Between April-July of this same year, they went on tour with Live On Earth 2016 to America, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Finland, Germany, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, UK and Russia. This is where I saw them live (FINALLY!) but I’ll speak a little bit more about it in Part 3.2
Later in August they released their next mini album Put ‘Em Up with single That’s My Jam.
That’s My Jam was more dance-based and upbeat than a lot of their earlier singles. The only song that I could really liken it to is Hurricane although this song is not as hectic and full on as that one.
For me, other than Young Wild and Free, was my favourite comeback to date. I loved the song, I loved their fashion and their MV was a lot of fun.
This mini album is one of my favourites as I love each and every song thats on it. It only has three songs but they’re all great for different reasons. Do What I Feel is very similar to That’s My Jam but of course What More Can I Say being a ballad, is my favourite.
In November, they came back with their second full album Noir with their single Skydive.
Skydive is a throw back song for me. Not only is the song rock-orientated, but it also has a nice bass/beat drop. Once again the boys gave us a hell of a MV with similar themes to the One Shot MV. I like to call it One Shot 2.0.
This entire album is pure genius! They dip into different genres they’ve never done before. The intro itself can only be described as the definition of noir. They also do their usual rock-based songs but also dip into trap – a genre that blew my mind when I heard it.
My favourite songs on this album are Skydive, Confession and Ribbon in the Sky. Without a doubt, Confession messed me up the most. How Yongguk and Zelo could both be on a song and sound so perfect just absolutely blows my mind. This album is my favourite that B.A.P has ever done!
Although I do love this album so much and I love this dark concept for them, the huge amounts of sadness I got from Yongguk not being a part of this comeback broke my heart. It was announced before their MV got release that Yongguk wouldn’t be a part of promotions due to anxiety issues.
It is understandable though. He is extremely pivotal in producing and song-writing so I’m sure that the pressure would surely get too much.
Wake Me Up: 2017
In March 2017 they came back with their most recent comeback with EP Rose and their single Wake Me Up.
Wake Me Up is catchy and showcases the vocals of both Himchan and Jongup the most, something that’s never happened in one of their title tracks before. Their MV is also really good as it addresses different forms of mental illnesses. I don’t know how much Yongguk had to do with this MV but I can’t help but find an obvious link that could be applicable between the two.
Aside from Put ‘Em Up, Rose is my favourite EP from them. All three songs are fantastic and they all show different genres. Dystopia is borderline metal, a genre that they haven’t fallen too heavily into so far. Diamond 4 Ya is my favourite song on this album as its more soulful and sexy compared to the sides we’ve seen them do so far.
Thankfully, Yongguk returned for promotions and performances with this comeback. I filmed a reaction to their first comeback performance for this song and I cried when Yongguk came out for his verse. I couldn’t help it! It was so great to see that not only was he back but you could see how happy both the members and the fans were to see him on stage again.
B.A.P is such a versatile group as they not only represent a lot of societal issues with their lyrics but their genre diversity is completely unique to them. The way that they socialise with each other is so adorable and you can’t help but be extremely proud of them for how far they’ve come and what they’ve had to endure. They have had the most stressful and uncertain future as a group, more so than a lot of other groups. Although a lot of groups have members that have left, not too many of them have sued their agency as a whole group and not only returned all together but also emerged stronger.
I will always continue to support B.A.P as I think their music and their vocal ability is completely unparalleled in K-Pop. Vocals like Daehyun and Youngjae are extremely unique as well as Yongguks extremely deep and husky rapping voice. Altogether, I think they’re a force to be reckoned with and I wish with all my heart that they start to get some serious recognition within Korea. They’re extremely popular outside of Korea but I’m sure it would mean the world to them if they get the same attention within their own home country.