K-pop girl group BlackPink made their breakthrough in 2016 with their hip-hop- and trap-influenced brand of energetic dance pop. The quartet, formed by YG Entertainment, combines the talents of Korean-born lead vocalist Jisoo Kim, New Zealand-raised main rapper/vocalist Jennie Kim, Australian-raised main vocalist Rose Park Chae Young, and Thai lead rapper Lalisa Manoban (aka Lisa, born Pranpriya Manoban). BlackPink debuted with their single Square One, which featured the hits "Boombayah" and "Whistle." Produced and written with Teddy Park, Future Bounce, and Bekuh Boom, Square One introduced a "k-trap" style that sounded like 2NE1 blended with BTS. Both tracks climbed the charts in the United States and Korea, even breaking into the French singles chart. Months later, they released Square Two, which entered the U.S. Heatseekers chart at number 13 and the World Albums chart at number two. Square Two also became the first debut for a K-pop girl group on the Canadian charts.
In the summer of 2017, the group issued the chart-topping single "As If It's Your Last," their third to top the Billboard World Digital Song chart. Months later, they made their Japanese debut with the Blackpink EP (YGEX/Avex Entertainment), which compiled past hits in newly recorded Japanese versions. Topping the Japanese charts, BlackPink became just the third foreign artist debut to do so. Re:BlackPink arrived in early 2018, combining previously issued tracks from both Japanese and Korean releases. The Square Up EP arrived that summer, headed by the single "DDU-DU DDU-DU." In addition to entering the U.K. trending chart, the song became the highest showing on the Billboard Hot 100 by an all-female K-pop group (following the Wonder Girls' 2009 hit "Nobody"). The EP also made moves on the Billboard 200, becoming the highest-charting all-female K-pop effort to date at number 40. ~ Neil Z. Yeung, Rovi
- Seoul, Korea