Let’s Get Closer with South Korean Multi-Talented Singer Bang Yong-Guk
Bang Yongguk (Korean: 방용국) was born on March 31, 1990, in Seoul, South Korea. He is known by the stage names Yongguk, Bang, and Jepp Blackman. He is a South Korean songwriter, rapper, singer, and dancer. He is known as the leader and rapper of the boy band B.A.P. In 2007, Yongguk became part of a hip-hop group called Soul Connection. In March 2011, he sang together with Song Jieun while performing the song “Going Crazy,” and his single hit #1 in South Korea. Before B.A.P’s debut, TS Entertainment formed a sub-unit named Bang & Zelo and released the single “Never Give Up” in November 2011.
Bang Yong-Guk’s Profile
|Name||Bang Yong-Guk (방용국)|
|Born||March 31, 1990, Seoul, South Korea|
|Years Active||2008 – Present|
Bang Yong-Guk’s Facts
- Bang Yong-Guk was an underground rapper named Jepp Blackman.
- Before debuting with B.A.P’s members, he had his solo debut with the song “I Remember.”
- His position in B.A.P is not only as a leader and rapper but also as a producer.
- Bang Yong-Guk is a high-social leader figure who is a role model for other B.A.P members along with their fans.
- Since before a career in the entertainment world, Yongguk has been an active donor of various social institutions.
- Bang Yong-Guk was nominated for the Shorty Awards in the Best Activist category.
- Yongguk once said that one of his biggest dreams was to build a school in the name of B.A.P.
- Yongguk’s songs, both B.A.P songs and his own solo songs, often contain moral messages.
- Last year, Yongguk was forced to go on hiatus from B.A.P activities due to a panic disorder.
- Luckily, his condition improved and he could join B.A.P’s comeback with the song “Wake Me Up.”
- This year, Yongguk released a new solo song titled “Yamazaki.”
- Bang Yong-Guk has a twin brother named Bang Yong-Nam.
Bang Yong-Guk’s Career
2008 – 2011
Bang Yong-Guk was born in Seoul, South Korea, on March 31, 1990. He has a twin brother named Bang Yong-Nam who also appears underground and a sister named Bang Natasha. Even though he was born in Seoul, he and his family moved to the coastal Ijak Islands of Incheon when he was young. He could not speak until he is five years old (as revealed in the profiles of B.A.P members). He remembers that he doesn’t have many memories of the Island Ijak as their family lived there for a short period of time and returned to Incheon. Yongguk attended Gae Woong Elementary and Middle School, and at the age of 18, he graduated from Yoo Han High School.
In 2008, he became part of the hip-hop group Soul Connection with the stage name Jepp Blackman, and they released a single titled “Cherry Flower.” When asked how he became a singer, he replied “This will return to middle school. At that time, I was doing underground hip-hop. After becoming an adult, I was introduced to this company with Hyung Untouchable and entered this company. After that, I was preparing B.A.P and doing other promotional activities. The preparation time with B.A.P was around one year. For myself, it took me 6 years before I debuted.”
On March 3, 2011, Song Ji-Eun’s single “Going Crazy” was released featuring Bang Yong-guk. The single was a commercial and critical success with fans praising Yongguk’s “husky and fiery delivery.” It topped the Gaon Chart and Gaon Digital and Streaming Chart and gained attention for Yongguk as an artist. Following the single’s release, he trended on major portal search sites in South Korea and was requested for multiple broadcast appearances. However, his agency declined these appearances, stating that he was still a trainee and not ready to appear on broadcasts outside of promotional performances. The agency thanked fans for their interest nevertheless.
On August 11, TS Entertainment released Yongguk’s single “I Remember” featuring Yang Yo-Seob of B2ST. The song was a moderate success, peaking in the Top 10 on real-time charts in Korea and at #22 on the Gaon Chart. However, the single was deemed unfit for broadcast promotions by KBS because of multiple scenes of shooting and violence.
On December 11, Yongguk debuted with Zelo as part of the sub-unit rap duo Bang&Zelo with the song “Never Give Up.”
2012 – Present: B.A.P
Yongguk was the first member to be announced as part of the new TS Entertainment boy group B.A.P, of which he acts as the leader and main rapper. The group released its first single “Warrior” in January 2012. They held their debut showcase in Seoul with over 3,000 attendees on January 28. The single met with critical acclaim with media outlets describing it as “powerful and charismatic.”
The following year, Yongguk performed at the 2013 SBS Gayo Daejeon as part of a collaborative hip-hop stage featuring Tiger JK, Yoon Mi-Rae, Bizzy, Zico, RM, and Eun Ji-Won.
On November 27, 2014, it was reported that all B.A.P members had filed a lawsuit against their label to nullify their contracts, claiming unfair conditions and profit distribution. The group entered a hiatus, although, on April 4, 2015, Yongguk released a solo song titled “AM 4:44.”
On August 1, 2015, it was revealed that B.A.P had reached an agreement with and returned to TS Entertainment. B.A.P made their comeback in November 2015 with the mini-album Matrix produced and written by Yongguk.
On October 25, 2016, TS Entertainment revealed that Yongguk will not be participating in the promotions for B.A.P’s upcoming full-length album Noir due to an anxiety disorder.
In April 2017, B.A.P began their six-city ‘Party Baby- U.S. Boom’ tour. Bang Yong-guk, the leader, returned from his hiatus to join the rest of the boys for the single’s promotion, “Wake Me Up.”
On July 4, 2017, Bang Yong-guk released a solo track titled “Yamazaki.” The track featured lyrics in English, Japanese, and Korean. On April 25, 2018, Bang Yong-guk released the official music video of his solo track “Portrait” which he co-directed alongside Joe Brown. On May 25, 2018, Bang Yong-guk released the official music video of his solo track “Drunkenness” which features falsetto vocals provided by fellow band member Yoo Youngjae. He co-directed the music video alongside Joe Brown.
Following the expiration of Yongguk’s contract on August 19 with TS Entertainment, he decided to leave the company; B.A.P continues with 5 members.
Bang Yong-Guk Has a Panic Disorder
Bang Yong-Guk recently decided to go on hiatus from B.A.P. Of course, the decision worried Baby (B.A.P fans). TS Entertainment announced that Bang Yong-Guk would not participate in the promotion of the latest album Noir which was released on November 7th. This is because the leader has an anxiety disorder.
So, B.A.P underwent a promotion the following week with only five members. TS Entertainment and Zelo Cs decided that Bang Yong-Guk’s recovery was the main point. The rapper got treatment from a professional psychologist. Shortly after the news came out, Bang Yong-Guk immediately apologized to fans and members through his official Twitter account @BAP_Bangyongguk.
“I will try to come back healthy. As a leader, I feel sad and sorry because I can’t be with members and fans. I hope you will continue to support the other members,” Yongguk wrote.
Departing from B.A.P, Bang Yong-Guk Wrote a Touching Message for His Fans
TS Entertainment recently announced Bang Yong-Guk’s decision to leave their management and B.A.P. The former leader wrote a letter to fans after the news shocked the public.
He wrote the message for fans through a letter uploaded on Instagram. In the letter, the rapper apologized.
The following is the complete letter written by Bang Yong-Guk:
“This is the message I wrote at midnight when the moon looks very beautiful. First, I want to bow and apologize for having to announce very sad news for BABY who has loved and cared for B.A.P until now. Right now, I can only listen to what you feel with very big responsibilities. As important as B.A.P is for me, hopefully, all of you can understand. It’s hard to reveal how much power the B.A.P and BABY members gave me until now since debut.
If I look back, I feel like someone who still has a lot of shortcomings. I feel I owe a lot to the members and fans that make people like me grow and become idolized artists. It feels like I want to carve gratitude in my heart and will never forget it. Thank you for giving me the love, support, and encouragement I need. I hope you will continue to provide support to B.A.P and the members that I love more than anything. And, wherever I am, I will continue to progress and make music as a former leader of B.A.P, Bang Yong-Guk. I hope you will wait. I always love and really respect you all. Bang Yong-Guk.”
Bang Yong-Guk’s decisions to leave TS Entertainment and B.A.P were because the contract period was over. Meanwhile, B.A.P will continue to be active as a boy band with 5 members.
Bang Yong-Guk’s Discography
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions|
|2008||“Cherry Flower” (with Soul Connection)||—|
|2011||“I Remember” (featuring Yang Yoseob)||22|
|“Never Give Up” (with Bang&Zelo)||65|
|“—” denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.|
As a Featured Artist
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Album|
|2011||“Going Crazy” (with Song Ji-Eun)||1||Digital single|
|“—” denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.|
|“Never Give Up”||4:27|
|2012||“For A Year”||5:02|
|2011||Mr. Idol||Cameo||Himself with Kim Him Chan|
Awards and Nominations
|2014||Shorty Awards||Social Media’s Best Musician||Nominated|
|2015||KMC Radio Awards||Idol of the Year||Won|
|2015||Shorty Awards||Social Media’s Best Musician||Nominated|