4Minute was a South Korean girl group formed in 2009 by Cube Entertainment. The members of the group were Nam Jihyun, Heo Gayoon, Jeon Jiyoon, Kim Hyuna, and Kwon Sohyun. 4Minute disbanded in June 2016 after unsuccessful contract renewal negotiations between Cube Entertainment and the majority of the group members.
2009–2010: Debut: Hot issue, For Muzik, Hit Your Heart
On May 14, Cube Entertainment announced the formation of a five-member girl group, called 4Minute, and revealed that its first member would be former Wonder Girls member Kim Hyuna. Prior to the official announcement, the group was unofficially called the "Hyuna group". The next member, Nam Jihyun, was revealed on May 22. The remaining members were announced the following day.
4Minute released its first single, "Hot Issue", on June 15, and had their first television performance on MNet Countdown on June 18. On June 21, the group's van was raided by fans, who stole clothing and other items. Cube Entertainment said, "It was very unfortunate that such an ordeal occurred."
On August 20, the group released its first mini-album called For Muzik along with its second single, "Muzik". The song won an Inkigayo Mutizen award, their first ever win on a music show.
Both first singles were a huge success, with "Hot Issue" charting #20 and Muzik charting #21 in the Melon Chart Yearly 2009 chart, both have estimated digital sales of 3,000,000 - 4,000,000.
Early 2010, 4minute did a small asia tour and had their single debut in Japan, with the Japanese version of Muzik.
On May 19, 4Minute released a mini-album entitled Hit Your Heart, and its title track "HuH". "HuH" peaked at number 3 on the Gaon Singles Chart. On May 24, South Korean FM station "Voice of Freedom" included the "Huh" song in its propaganda broadcasts to North Korea.
On July 5, the group released the music video for "I My Me Mine", which was the second single from Hit Your Heart.
The remainder of the year 4minute mainly promoted in Japan.
2011–2012: Heart to Heart, 4Minutes Left, Volume Up and Trouble Maker
The first 3 months 4minute kept promoting in foreign countries, with their main focus on Japanese activities.
On March 29, the digital-only mini-album Heart to Heart was released. On April 5, 4Minute released the Korean album, 4Minutes Left. The music video for "Mirror Mirror" was released on the same day. The album includes "Mirror Mirror", and songs from Heart to Heart and Diamond. Because of the song's provocative spread leg choreography; music producers demanded that "Mirror Mirror" be changed or the group could not perform the song on their shows. As a response, 4Minute changed the song's choreography, starting with the performance on M! Countdown on April 14. The song reached number two on the Gaon Chart.
The remainder of the year 4minute as a group focused on Japanese promotions and Hyuna on her solo activities.
Trouble Maker was a formed by Cube Entertainment in November 2011, composed of Kim Hyuna and Jang Hyunseung. On November 25, the unit started revealing teaser photos for the album, revealing a private-party concept. The duo also gave a teaser performance at the 2011 Mnet Asian Music Awards, which included an on-stage kiss. The duo's first mini-album and single, both eponymously titled "Trouble Maker", were released on December 1, 2011.
The duo's live performances of "Trouble Maker" on weekly music shows were criticized by the Korean media for their sexually suggestive choreography. In response, Cube Entertainment altered the choreography for the rest of the promotion period of "Trouble Maker". Trouble Maker went on to win the triple crown on M! Countdown for "Trouble Maker".
On April 9 2012, 4Minute released the mini-album Volume Up along with the title track "Volume Up" and its music video. The single "Volume Up" reached number one on M! Countdown.
Like earlier years, 4minute filled the remainder of the year with Japanese promotions and other tv appearances. This was also the year Hyuna went viral for her appearance in Psy’s Gangnam Style MV.
2013–2014: 2Yoon sub-unit, Name Is 4Minute, Is It Poppin'?, 4Minute World, Trouble Maker comeback
On January 7, 2013, Cube Entertainment announced 2Yoon, consistent of Gayoon and Jiyoon. Their debut album, Harvest Moon, was slated for a mid-January release, with "24/7" confirmed as the title track.
On January 22, 2013, 2YOON released its album and accompanying music video for "24/7."
2Yoon made its television debut on M! Countdown on January 18, 2013.
From January 26 to February 21, 4Minute participated in the 2013 United Cube Concert tour at venues in China, Korea and Japan.
On April 26, 4Minute released the fourth mini-album Name is 4Minute and the single "What's Your Name?", which was produced by Brave Brothers. In the fourth week of May, the song reached number one on the Gaon Single Chart, making it the group's first chart topper for Gaon. On the edition of June 1, the single reached number one on the Billboard K-pop Hot 100.
On June 28, 4Minute released the summer single "Is It Poppin'?", also written and produced by Brave Brothers. In an interview with Newsen, a Cube Entertainment spokesperson said that the song was "neither a sexy or charismatic concept, but a cute concept – a hip hop dance song that goes well with the summer feel."
Its Korean title "물 좋아?" (romanized: Mul Joha?, lit. "How's the Water?"), is a slang phrase that men use to ask if the girls in a club are hot. KBS announced that the lyrics for "Is It Poppin?" were unqualified for broadcast because they contained the English word "ass". 4Minute planned to remove the word from the video for re-evaluation. The song peaked at number 9 on the Gaon Digital Chart and number 6 on the Billboard K-Pop Hot 100, selling 606,713 digital downloads.
In September, 4Minute finished its contract with Universal Music Japan, and shut down the group's Japanese official website as well as its fanclub site, 4Nia Japan.
In October 2013, Cube Entertainment confirmed Trouble Maker's upcoming comeback with a racy photoshoot. On October 28, the group released the single "Now" from its Chemistry EP. The single's music video, which drew inspiration from serial criminals Bonnie and Clyde, earned a 19+ rating for its heavy references to sex, alcohol, and cigarettes. "Now" had the highest score ever recorded on music show Inkigayo, maxing out at 11,000 points.
The group's fifth mini-album, 4Minute World, along with its featured track “Whatcha Doin' Today?”, was released on March 17 2014. The group promoted the song on various Korean music shows along with the track "Wait A Minute". The single became the group's first single to debut at number 1 in Korea. On March 30, 4Minute won against 2NE1 and Girls' Generation on Inkigayo. And on April 3, they also won on M! Countdown which took place at Japan.
On June 7, 4Minute performed "Whatcha Doin' Today" on Dream Concert along with other Kpop idols including their labelmates Beast, A Pink and BTOB. On October 17, during a performance at a local festival in Seongnam, south of Seoul in South Korea, at least 16 people were killed and 11 injured in an accident where a ventilation grate that people were standing on collapsed.
2015–2016: Revamped: Crazy, Act. 7 and disbandment
On January 26, 2015, Cube Entertainment revealed that 4Minute would pre-release a track from their next mini-album titled "Cold Rain", marking the first time the group has released a ballad as a single.
On February 9, 4Minute released their sixth EP Crazy, along with the title track's music video. Their EP debuted at number 1 on Billboard's World Albums Chart. On April 4, 4Minute held a solo concert 4Minute Fan Bash in Myanmar, with around 7,000 fans in attendance.
On January 20, 2016, it was announced that the group would release their seventh mini album Act. 7 on February 1. 4Minute collaborated with American producer Skrillex on the lead single, "Hate".
Although it didn’t do as well as their previous releases, 4minute received a lot of praise for Crazy. But, Hate was not met with the same enthusiasm with the majority of the korean public hating their new song. It resulted in their worst performing comeback.
On June 13, 2016 it was announced that the group would disband following their contract expiration, with only Hyuna renewing her contract with the management agency. A Cube Entertainment representative stated, “As the contract end date approaches, the members have been in discussions for renewal, but while the agency tried to persuade half of them to continue the group, it ended up accepting the decision by the four members that they will not continue as a group. Due to the different opinion of the members, for all intents and purposes, the group will disband.”
After the announcement rumours started surrounding their disbandment. The main reason that stood out were that the other members were tired of always being in Hyuna’s shadow with Cube favoring her over the other members (fueled by the members all un-following Hyuna on instagram after the announcement was made).
Another underlying reason why 4Minute suddenly disbanded allegedly had a lot to do with money. In 2013, 50 percent of CUBE Entertainment was bought out by iHQ at 16.5 billion won and the final decision in all things lay with CUBE and 4Minute’s recent albums were “failures” to iHQ. As a result, iHQ saw 4Minute as a non-profitable group and they took profit over music.
Allegedly, the other members of 4Minute wanted to re-sign with CUBE Entertainment, but nobody would be able to help them. Hong Seung Sung (Simon Hong), the CEO and co-founder of CUBE Entertainment, loved 4Minute and saw them as his own. Many CUBE Entertainment personnel believed the outcome for 4Minute would have been a lot different had CUBE been controlled by CEO Hong and not iHQ.
Sources: MBCKpop, inquisitr, weheartit, 4Minute wikipedia, channel-korea, 2Yoon wikipedia
They truly had such a fantastic run! Do you have a favorite member, song, concept or outfit/styling? Personally I especially loved their Volume Up styling, it was so beautiful. Do you miss 4Minute?
Also: Thank you so much for all the amazing comments on my previous post. That really means a lot to me.
I’m willing to do a full cover of Hyuna’s solo activities if you guys are interested because I excluded them here for obvious reasons. Just let me know if you want to see it and be sure to leave other requests, comments and/or feedback down below as well! Hope you have (had) fun watching and reading ♥