Everything You Need To Know About This K-Pop Star Before Her American Debut

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Korean Pop star and Rapper Lee Chae Rin, who goes by CL, is perhaps most well known for her role as front woman of the hugely successful pop group 2NE1 in Korea. Recently, she’s been gaining traction and recognition in the United States and, it’s been rumored that she is set to debut this year stateside. A prolific front runner in the fashion world, CL has collaborated with Jeremy Scott and has been seen alongside Nicki Minaj (someone she is often compared to) in front rows at many a NY Fashion Week. But, perhaps what we love most about CL, is her bad girl demeanor, an attribute she has been cultivating actively for sometime now with her role in 2NE1.

CL sits next to Jeremy Scott at runway show.

CL sits between Mademoiselle Yulia and Nicki Minaj at at runway show.

More recently, CL has been coming up on her own. She recorded a solo single “The Baddest Female” in 2013, and shot a video for it that features Tokyo it-girl and DJ, Mademoiselle Yulia, as well as some of the boys from YG Entertainment– the prolific Korean pop record label of which CL is a part. The label features long time Korean pop legends such as G-Dragon and Big Bang. In 2014, she followed up “The Baddest Female” with a new single, “MTBD” (mental breakdown). She has collaborated with the likes of The Black Eyed Peas for live performances, and in November 2014 it was announced that famed talent manager (of the likes of Justin Beiber and Ariana Grande), Scooter Braun, would be representing CL in the United States.

But, whether or not CL is poised to bridge the gap between the American pop and Asian pop markets is up for grabs. Certainly, it has been tried before. For instance, in 2012 the hugely internationally popular Girls’ Generation (also known as SNSD) released and English version of their single “The Boys” amidst rumors abound that they were about to start a huge campaign in the United States. Even way back in 2010, Korean boy band group JYJ collaborated with Kanye West for their single “Ayyy Girl“. And more recently, G-Dragon, CL, and Diplo collaborated with Skrillex for an albeit weird track called “Dirty Vibe”. None of these efforts have ever really brought K-pop to the level of popularity it has garnered internationally across Asia within the United States. But, if anyone is going to do it, it would be CL.

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Being a long time fan of all things K-pop myself, and having followed 2NE1 from their early beginnings, I am really rooting for CL here. She has all the trappings of a mega star, seeing as, at least for the entire continent of Asia, she already is one. Here’s hoping her transition into the American market will be as successful as her career in Korea, although I don’t think she needs much luck, since she’s already dominating the fashion world, collaborating with mega hip hop stars, and even topped Time’s reader poll 100 Influential People in 2015– beating out heavy hitters like Béyonce and Lady Gaga. I mean, she is, after all, the baddest female.


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