Happy Birthday, CL!
The K-pop superstar is 24 today, moving into what might be her most exciting year of life yet. After nearly six years as the leader to Korean phenoms 2NE1, CL has established herself as an important front-runner in K-pop’s international expansion; breaking records and busting down barriers. This spring, CL will shift her focus to America with a full-fledged U.S. debut with Justin Bieber/Ariana Grande manager Scooter Braun. The singer/rapper told Billboard first about her itch to show not only herself, but all Asian women in a new spotlight.
“I have so many things I want to say,” CL said. “I have this other side of me that people didn’t meet in 2NE1…I want to represent Asian women. I want to break that typical Asian female stereotype. There’s this standard where they’re all calm. I want to break that. I want to tell the world that there are some badass Asian female girls.”
Ahead of her upcoming invasion, take a look back at five memorable performances from the past that continue to blur language and cultural lines.
1. “MTBD/Revolution/Dirty Vibe” With Diplo, 2014
If there was any doubt CL could do it all, well, check out her joint performance with Diplo at Korea’s 2014 Style Icon Awards. Kicking off her K-pop/rap track “MTBD” — featured on 2NE1’s excellent Crush album — the star then moved into a belt-heavy rendition of the super-producer’s 2013 single “Revolution” before ending with her English verse on the Diplo/Skrillex collab track “Dirty Vibe.” The crowd might have been subdued (it was a fashion ceremony), but no doubt CL killed it.
3. “The Baddest Female/MTBD,” 2014
Tons of shirtless beefcake guys dance around, yet the only person you can keep your eye on here is CL. This mash-up of her two solo Korean tracks was a part of 2NE1’s 2014 All or Nothing Asia tour.
4. “Intro” With 2NE1, 2012
Can your favorite MC spit with a parrot on their shoulder? Didn’t think so.
5. “Bad Girls/The Baddest Female” With Lee Hyori
Longtime K-pop fans know Lee Hyori as one of the queens of K-pop. When the K-pop queen shared the stage with CL it was almost a passing-of-the-crown moment as Hyori and CL sang their respective odes to badass females: “Bad Girls” and “The Baddest Female.”