Now it’s time for the my last instalment to my introduction for my favourite groups and it is none other than the beautiful babies that are IKON!! Being a fan of IKON tends to be quite stressful as I feel that YG doesn’t let this group in particular shine enough – they’re either away in Japan on tours or they’re just not having a comeback. Although their time away from the public isn’t/wasn’t as severe as WINNER’s it still really kills me. But I’ll speak more of that at the end of this post.
Just like the rest of my .2 entries, this one will be the same – almost an homage essay about each an every member. I am and have always been a firm believer in every member has a purpose, that no member should be over-looked. I do have set biases within a group but I think it’s impossible to think of the entire group as a whole without including each and every member – everyone has their own rightful place and without them a group wouldn’t be the same.
Following along with the same formula I’ll be writing about the eldest member right down until the youngest – it may seem like overkill after all these entries I’ve dedicated to this series but it’s the only way I can control my thoughts haha.
Jay (Kim Jimhwan, 김진환) – born February 7 1994 (lead vocal)
Who Is Next: WIN (pre-debut) era – Jinhwan will always be the hyung that looks like the maknae and I just love that about him. HE’S SO SMOL!
Bling Bling (current comeback) era – Jinhwan’s really grown on me. Although I still do class him in the “cute” category, I can’t deny that this man is extremely handsome!
As I said in the caption of the first photo, he’s the hyung that looks like the maknae – there must be something about YG groups that this tends to happen with because it’s the same with WINNER’s Jinwoo! I don’t know what it is about Jinhwan’s appearance/actions that make you want to think he’s the maknae but I think it is a combination of both.
He has a high voice and I’m not too sure if I’d call it thin or not. And again, he is very small. Like… I would tower over him hahaha. But I think that both qualities are what makes him super endearing and you can’t help but want to take care of him.
In saying that, he is an extremely good hyung! He’s always worried about his members – to the point where he’s known to cry about certain situations. I also find that he puts on a brave face for his members when he knows they’re going through a hard time so a simple hug or even a shoulder to lean on is exactly what Jinhwan is there for.
I will never get over the episode of WIN when he thought that June and Donghyuk were fighting and he literally ran to stop them from having a physical fight and put himself in between them both. Don’t worry, it was only a prank, but the fact that he was willing to put his very small body in the path of the tallest member – June – just makes my heart swell. When he found out he was being pranked he used his hyung privilege and told them all to get out which was hilarious!
He also has an amazing stage presence, both with his confident dance moves but also with just his general stage presence. The members have often said that Jinhwan has the best gestures while performing on stage and that they’re often jealous of how good he is.
Not only is he the cutie pie of the group (which he shares with a younger member), he also has an infinite amount of patience. He’s got this ability to let the younger members pick on him for an infinite amount of time even though he’s the hyung. I know they only do it because he let’s them but a lot of people read too much into this and claim that it’s a form of bullying. I know that this isn’t true at all – it’s just the way that they show him their affection and how much they love him as a hyung.
Song (Song Yunhyeong, 송윤형) – born February 8 1995 (vocal, visual)
Who Is Next: WIN (pre-debut) era – to me, Yunhyeong will forever be the cutie pie who worried too much about the other members.
Bling Bling (current comeback) era – although his hair looks extremely unhealthy and he’s lost a lot of weight, he’s grown up to be so handsome and his singing has improved the most in the group – in my opinion.
Yunhyeong is the epitome of ahje-humour. To me, he gives off this dorky uncle vibe with his hilarious dance moves and his ability to always make the other members laugh – sometimes not laugh at all, which also adds to his charm.
He will always have a special place in my heart because of how attached I grew to him in his pre-debut days. Not so much in WIN – actually, I was a little meh about him in this first show. Maybe because he was overshadowed as a vocal by Junhoe but I didn’t really have any feelings about him at this point. That all changed when I saw him in MIX N MATCH. As cruel as the show was anyway it tugged at a lot of heart strings. First, when he was overly worried about Hanbin. B.I had gotten so stressed out from the show that he just left – like, he went missing. And when they found him, Hanbin asked how Yunhyeong was immediately as he knew he’d be the one that would be worried the most.
Second, and most of all, when all the boys were competing against each other and the judges had to pick the member that was the lowest out of all the members. Although extremely cruel, it gave the members the idea of who would be the bottom of the table and who could potentially be eliminated from the group. That moment of them all hearing who could possible not be debuting was absolutely heart-breaking and I think it affected so many viewers as we all know that he was able to debut as IKON.
Actually, this moment showed another side to Yunhyeong. When a younger, and new member, who was also in the bottom 2 with him was struggling with singing a song, he looked at Yunhyeong and he gave him an encouraging smile – a gesture of support. To me, this is exactly what Yunhyeong is – a pillar of support to the rest of the members.
His voice has gotten so much better since pre-debut. As I mentioned above, I didn’t really rate him vocally. I found his voice to not be original or strong enough, but as time has gone on I can tell how hard he’s worked but also how much more experience he’s gotten. You can clearly tell if you were to compare his first vocal pre-debut performance to his most recent one. I love me some vocal improvement!
Yunhyeong is just an all round dork and I love him for it. Whether he’s making the members laugh at his jokes or he’s making himself laugh – and no one else – he’s just such a cutie little fluff ball! His love of Nivea lip balm pales in comparison to how integral he is to his brother and IKONICS.
Bobby (Kim Ji Won; 김지원) – born December 21 1995 (main rapper, face of the group)
Who Is Next: WIN (pre-debut) era – Bobby has been aggressive since pre-debut. His rapping style was already shown extremely well in this show and he’s only gotten better and better.
Bling Bling (current comeback) era – Aside from the horrible hair, this comeback is great for Bobby. Not only is he at the front for this specific choreo but I feel like his little raps in both this song and BDay were really good.
Bobby is so very very talented but he also has a heart of gold that just loves his parents and his family oh so much. I love that he does get to see his family a bit but not as much as he should, but that’s the life of an idol I guess.
He’s always been an extremely strong strong rapper – in my opinion he’s better than Hanbin for sure – and his ability to aggressively spit lyrics but also deliver some softer and slower bars really makes him different to a lot of other idol rappers out there. A cool way to look at it is that his aggressive rapping is pre-debut Bobby and his slower and more melodic rapping is the newer more experience Bobby – they’re both existing at the same time and one couldn’t exist without the other.
The reason why I mention his slower more melodic rapping from recent times is because his most recent solo comeback was fantastic. Not only are RUNAWAY and I LOVE YOU beautiful and genius in themselves, when you listen to the entire album as a collective…. I have goosebumps just thinking about it! The majority of the album is more melodic than I would’ve expected but then he throws a complete 180 and performs a brilliant song with MINO that took us back to where he came from and where he made his name more well known in the hip hop community – SHOW ME THE MONEY 3!
Yes, this little firecracker won SMTM3, the same show that B.I also entered. Being that he and B.I were the first idols to enter this type of competition and for Bobby to go on an win the whole thing really did wonders for the idol world. Unfortunately the prejudice surrounding underground rappers and idol rappers is still believed by a lot of the Korean Hip Hop fans, members like B.I, MINO and especially BOBBY have toned down those particular ridiculous assumptions. Through this cut throat and tough competition Bobby was able to silence a lot of people who claimed that idol rappers were ridiculous and had no talent.
My favourite thing about Bobby is different though. Although it does make me sound a little bit shallow but please hear me out… Why does he look like that?! I love his little eyes that completely disappear when he’s giving his infamous bunny smile. I love his hilarious little chuckle, his crazy husky yelling and his ever so inventive dancing. Everything about him as a person – without being labelled and shown as a rapper – has my heart warming every time he steps onto the screen. And if he wasn’t cute enough, his protectiveness over his precious little Pooh Bear soft toy has me dying silently in the corner.
I said it a long time ago and I continue to say it today – I WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH BOBBY SO BAD! He’s also seen in interviews as the cool member or the member who just lets the others do their crazy things by themselves and he won’t join in. But really, he’s the craziest one of the lot – the crazy ass mood maker of IKON.
B.I (Kim Han Bin; 김한빈) – born October 22 1996 (leader, lead rapper)
Who Is Next: WIN (pre-debut) era – Hanbin has always been handsome and for some reason he’s always reminded me of Rufio from the movie Hook.
Bling Bling (current comeback) era – adding to what I said under the last photo, Hanbin will forever be handsome. I don’t know what it is aside from the mixture of EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM that makes him a very strong bias for me.
What can I say?
My love for him is significantly higher than my love for the others so I’m really going to try and keep things a similar length to the rest of the other members…But I want you to understand how hard it’s going to be for me.
Hanbin has been a bias of mine since the very start. His ability to lead the rest of the members SO well has me without words. I know I say this a lot about other leaders but believe me just once: Kim Hanbin is by far the best leader I’ve seen in a long time. He’s got this inane ability to show off each and every member in their own way and making it so that if they get praise then he’s done his job. The amount of effort and work he’s put in to making sure and securing their debut is just breathtaking and I cried so much when Team B wasn’t declared WINNER.
Aside from a few hiccups along the way, Hanbin has been very clear about why he’s an idol – his love of music. He is by far the most talented in the group producing/writing wise. Yes, all the members are dabbling more and more into the song writing part of things but Hanbin has been doing it and finessing his craft since before debut. I did say in Bobby’s part that I think he’s better than Hanbin in rap, and I stick by that. What B.I lacks in his rapping for sure is made up by his leadership and production skills.
What I feel that most people forget is that IKON is a dance group. Their ability to be so uniform in choreography is amazing and I believe that is all thanks to Hanbin. If you go way back and watch their rehearsals in WIN, you’ll see how strict and anal retentive he can be which makes him so attractive to me. He leaves no room for error and I can’t help but applaud that. He’s just so talented with dancing and performing that being the leader couldn’t have gone to any one else.
His entertainment and variety skills are just so so good. Please watch him on Mari & I (which Jinhwan is on as well) and IKON’s episode of Weekly Idol. In Mari & I, the cast has to temporarily take care of animals over a 2 day period and it’s so adorable how much Hanbin loves all the animals and how funny he is with fellow cast mate Ho Dong. I’m a big lover of Weekly Idol and I watch almost every episode and I have never seen Doni and Coni so in love with a group before than what they were like with IKON. I don’t know if it’s because they were shocked by how crazy all the boys were or what but you could clearly tell how much they loved them. They particularly warmed up to Hanbin very early on in the episode, almost immediately. I think it’s because of his very innocent and pure aegyo that comes so naturally to him.
Of all the things that I love and admire in Hanbin his leadership is definitely the biggest part. The way he’s able to be so selfless while showcasing each members talents at one time is something you don’t find every day. He’s just the sweetest and most adorable fluff ball while being such a sexy babe at the same time is a skill in itself too.
DK (Kim Dong Hyuk; 김동혁) – born January 3 1997 (main dancer, vocal)
Who Is Next: WIN (pre-debut) era – He’s always been a little cutie with a high-pitched and delicate voice. He is most definitely one of my other biases in the group.
Bling Bling (current comeback era) – he lost a lot of weight. Like a lot. I don’t know if it’s because he got sick or YG himself told him to lose weight but prior to this most recent comeback Donghyuk looked so skinny! And continues to look skinnier than before but it’s definitely better than he has been.
Donghyuk is the cutie pie of the group. Not only is his voice super delicate and high pitched but it’s also quite thin. The term ‘thin’ that I tend to use when talking about someone’s voice is best described by giving two examples: G Dragon and B.I – they both have thin voices. (Does that help clarify that term a little bit more?) Because he does have this thin voice he’s able to reach the higher tones with a kind of emotional and sensitive tone that only Jinhwan can do.
If his voice didn’t make him cute enough his own actions do, too. He’s known among the members as having the best and most natural aegyo in the whole group and I would have to agree. Their 2NE1 sunbaes also said after watching a performance back in WIN that Donghyuk had more aegyo than girl groups hahahaha. His laugh is super high-pitched and he does it all the time. The members that I can see similarities with from other groups are Youngjae from GOT7 and Jimin from BTS – always laughing, all the time.
Although establishing that he’s very cute his ability to switch to pure sexiness so quickly drives me insane. To me, Donghyuk has the best body language while doing photo shoots. He’s very natural and looks to be very comfortable which shows how confident he is in his own body and skin. I love this kind of confidence particularly coming from a member who isn’t overly loud or always in the camera. He’s just extremely handsome and I can’t help but see him as having similar looks to G Dragon. There’s just something about their faces – maybe that they’re both longer face shapes? – but the similarity makes me lose my mind.
His dancing is the biggest reason for my love for him. He is a bit of an undercover great dancer but only to those who don’t know IKON or the boys very well – IKONICS do not have that problem. Donghyuk is a FANTASTIC dancer and I wish he got to shine more than he does although his little solo dance that he did in the Bling Bling MV was great. He also tends to be a little extra when performing live. I’ve seen a few fancams of him dancing to Bling Bling at a concert and I damn well lost my s**t. He was going over and above for the choreo and I just couldn’t deal with it.
The boys a damn angel masquerading as a lady killer – which is why he’s one of my IKON biases!
Ju-ne (Koo Jun Hoe; 구준회) – born March 31 1997 (main vocalist)
Who Is Next: WIN (pre-debut) era – June is a babe. His face. His voice. His height. HIM. Absolute BABE!!
Bling Bling (current comeback) era – why does he look like this you might ask? I don’t know why. But it kills me a little inside every time I see him.
In case you can’t tell from the captions of these last two photos – June is 100% a bias of mine but in completely different ways than Donghyuk or the almighty Hanbin.
Junhoe is the sassy queen of the group (although Yunhyeong and Jinhwan can sometimes come and steal this crown from him sometimes.) He always tends to throw back a sassy and witty remark back to the older members which drives them insane no doubt. He’s also the loudest member. Not so much with the amount that he talks, which is still quite a lot, but more with the pure volume of this mans voice. He. Is. Loud. And his hyungs being annoyed by him on the daily for this is a fact!
June is a giant in comparison to the other members, particularly Jinhwan who is the shortest member. He towers over almost all the other members which adds to his oh so handsome charm.
The thing that drew me to Junhoe was his dancing. Like Donghyuk, June isn’t really shown as a great dancer but I feel like June does get a lot more chances to shine than Donghyuk does. Because he is so tall and lanky, his movements look unreal. He first burst onto the scene when he was a little boy and was a Michael Jackson impersonator on a TV show. Yes, it’s super cute, but sure YG must’ve seen this and been like… “hmm, this boys a star.” It’s only natural that someone with this insane talent at such a young age would then grow up to be under YG Entertainment.
The thing that kept me looking at Junhoe, though, was his voice.
Now, I don’t say this a lot or enough: Koo Junhoes voice is not only unique for a Korean but it’s unique for anyone. There are no words for how amazing and special this mans voice is. His voice is SO strong and SO husky and SO THICK that it would’ve been one of the greatest tragedies in Korean entertainment if Junhoe was never able to debut. June has my favourite voice in Kpop out of all my favourites. His unique talent is just such a cut above the rest that I just want him to let out a solo album ASAP.
Chan (Jung Chan Woo; 정찬우) – born January 26 1998 (maknae, vocal)
Mix N Match (pre-debut) era – As you know from my earlier IKON post, Chanwoo joined IKON through MNM survival show and has become an integral part to the group.
Bling Bling (current comeback) era – I feel like he’s grown before our eyes and I can’t wait to see how even more amazing he becomes over the next few years.
Chance has never been on my radar much. I did like him through MIX N MATCH though I thought there was someone who could fit better with the group at the end of the competition, I do like that he’s part of the group now. Now that it’s been a couple years since they’ve started promoting as IKON, anyone else in Chanwoo’s place would’ve been so weird.
Because he was so young and nervous coming into an environment where there were TVs and an already established group – Team B – Chanwoo seemed pretty nervous. Although he obviously lost some of that nervousness the more the show went on he still seemed a little unsure of himself with all these older boys with such strong personalities around him. But I think his experience in front of cameras when he was younger really helped him.
As I just said, I felt that he was a little nervous around the other members prior to debut but that is not the case now. There must be something about maknaes but it’s like they’re all born to defy their hyungs. Chanwoo is literally the funniest member in IKON. Yes, the other members are funny in their own charming ways but Chanwoo is without a doubt the funniest one. He is so quick to hold rank over the older members, whether it be for his height over them all (except Junhoe) or even just taking the piss over something they’ve done embarrassing. I love that he’s like this as it creates an almost tension reliever – something all groups need to survive the day.
He’s grown up so much and I can’t help but think that the other members had a lot to do with that. He’s always the first ones to make the other members laugh with his humour but I also feel that he is still quiet about a lot of things that go on in his head – maybe it’s another trait of a maknae. I can’t wait to see him grow into more of a man in the next few years but I’m praying for Chanwoo’s sake that he stops growing and won’t be taller than Junhoe. God, I can imagine the arguments already!
IKON is a very unique group. They’ve been through more hard times than a lot of other groups and they have the unfortunate chance of having it forever on the internet. But being shown pre-debut through a TV show and all the hardships they’ve been through made them stronger. Without going through those hard times they never would’ve worked even harder than before which ultimately would’ve denied them the chance to debut when they did.
In saying that, YG needs to get his act together. IKON and IKONICS deserve so much better than to have these boys outside of their own country more than they are inside it. The amount of VLives I’ve seen of the boys being sad over their comeback delays or them missing Korea or even how they’re sick of performing the same songs over and over again are countless.
What annoys me even more are the fact that a lot of people – antis – call them flops, or the second Big Bang (not in the good way.) I’m sure this won’t be the last time I write this but when will people learn to stop hating. When will people learn to keep quite and continue along without making snide comments about a group that isn’t their favourite. If you don’t like a group, you don’t have to. If you don’t like a group, you don’t have to go on social media and blast them for being “shit”. If you took 10 secs out of your day to see how hard these boys have worked and how much they’ve grown in the last 3 years you would fall in love with them instantly. So be quiet!
IKON deserve the world and the world deserves a group like IKON. A group that shows how hard you can work to get to your dream but also how to cope when you can’t get what you want. I am forever inspired by how hard these boys work and I love them so much.