Just this week we reported that Big Bang’s Taeyang had recently been working with American Producers Harvey Mason Jr. and Damon Thomas who make up the Underdogs. The songs that Taeyang along with the Underdogs duo was working on will be for his upcoming solo album. If you are not familiar with the name the Underdogs, chances are you have heard their work – that is, if you are listening to American Pop music. The duo is responsible for producing hits for the likes of Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, and Chris Brown. The news has been confirmed by YG Entertainment and had nothing but praise for them saying, “Underdogs are already famous within their circle for what they do, and personally Taeyang himself really loves what they produce. There is finally a chance for them to work together in America now.” Does that sound as though they are hinting at something perhaps? When asked about the prospect of Taeyang setting his sights on America this was YGE’s response, “Working with Underdogs has never been an easy task but we have successfully completed everything.” While they were working together Harvey Mason Jr., Damon Thomas, and Taeyang went back and forth on Twitter with the Underdogs giving high compliments to Taeyang along with him sending his compliments and gratitude back to the duo.
It has been known for a while that label-mate 2NE1 is planning their advancement into the American market. It was last summer when the ladies traveled abroad, visiting LA and London as they worked with Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas and even had done some recording. After hearing this most felt that 2NE1 was ready to go. Yet when asked, a year later, YG commented that nothing had been set in stone. “2NE1’s advancement in America is helped greatly by Will.I.Am. The time for it and everything related is still not confirmed. We are taking great care of doing what is the best possible option for them. We’re being very cautious.” One can gather from that statement that YG is hinting at the fact that, currently, the timing is not right. Even though 2NE1 has many top producers on their side, like Will.I.Am, what is thought of their American debut is still in its planning stages.
As for 2NE1’s current future, on August 27th and 28th they will hold their first concert being called NOLZA at Korea’s Olympic Hall, tickets for which sold out in mere minutes. Also later this month the group’s mini album will be released. The track-list for the album has already been made available. After that is all said and done the powerful ladies are setting their sights on the Japanese market as they have a Japanese album in the works as well that is scheduled for a fall/ September release.
The statement made regarding Taeyang’s attempt at the American market is nothing definitive either way. Don’t count him out yet! Taeyang is a great candidate for trying to penetrate the Western market as his music is more geared to those in the West than in the East. When his solo album, “Solar” came out last July, he was met with much criticism from the media, saying that his album wouldn’t be so popular. Yet “Solar” went on to sell well in Korea as well as abroad including the US, Canada, and Europe, where he charted in the top spots on the iTunes R&B charts in the US and Canada.
Taeyang isn’t the only one who sold well overseas as 2NE1 also showed impressive numbers. The ladies too charted on the top of the iTunes Hip-Hop charts when they released their first full-length album “To Anyone”. If that wasn’t enough they also ranked in the top ten of the Billboard World Charts. Pretty impressive, given the fact that neither 2NE1 nor Taeyang had any sort of promotion or intention of aiming for markets outside of Asia. Big Bang also did well on the iTunes charts along with ranking in at the top of the Billboard World Charts with their fourth mini album release.
It definitely is a hard call to make. As the saying goes, “timing is everything.” YG has been known to make music fans wait, but for good reasons, and it always leads to a something huge. As disappointing as this may sound to some, deep down, it is the right thing for 2NE1 and what comes of it will definitely be worth the wait (we just wish they’d pick up the pace a little bit…). Hopefully they have learned from Se7en’s experience in the US instead of it causing the companty to be apprehensive about any of their other groups aiming for an official debut in North America. With the right connections, right timing, and with the right amount of promotions both 2NE1 and Taeyang have the potential to not just be stars but superstars on an even larger global scale. The best guess is perhaps next spring or summer is when 2NE1 will finally debut their English language album. Time will only tell for sure.