The past few years have cast a long shadow over his presence in the music industry. It’s why we’re sitting in IOK’s minimalist meeting room, situated in a cooly low-key area of Seoul. Sunlight pours through generous, open windows. B.I is comfortable, but he isn’t completely relaxed; he knows what he’s about to say will restart an online conversation he cannot control. But at the very least, he wants to explain as much as he can to those who wish to listen.
If you were following K-pop in the mid-2010s, B.I’s extraordinary trajectory still sticks in the memory. iKON’s 2015 debut single, “My Type”, sold well over a million copies. Their debut album was released in two parts, in October and December 2015, both reaching No. 1 on the Korean charts, with six more singles taken from it, and B.I credited as a songwriter on ten of the album’s twelve songs. He was regularly touted as the next G-Dragon, whose iconic status made it a near impossible plaudit to live up to.