CL is Breaking Asian Female Stereotypes Through Hip Hop + Her US Debut

CL, the lead rapper and vocalist in the Korean K-pop girl group 2NE1, isn’t a new sensation. 2NE1 has already garnered a wide international audience and quietly broken records in the U.S, producing the highest charting Korean album in American history,

A rather intriguing mixture of Nicki Minaj and Missy Elliot (anyone rapping in an Adidas tracksuit reminds me of Missy, honestly), CL stays in tune with her K-Pop roots. Her music videos are very heavy on the visuals–think elaborate costumes, fancy backgrounds, and pumped up background dancers. But this year, 2NE1’s lead rapper and vocalist is flying solo, with an entirely new approach and sound.

Her approach to entering the American music charts appears to be very separate from K-Pop. In her recent, catchy single “Dr.Pepper” ft. Diplo and OG Maco, CL exudes confidence in lines like, “I ain’t got the time so why you askin’? I got a flight to catch I’m always travelin’” over Diplo’s hypnotic, synthesized track.

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In similar fashion to the birth of OG Maco’s internet hit “ You Guessed It,” “Dr. Pepper” apparently came about after a canceled music session pissed off CL.

“Diplo canceled a session on me, and I was so mad at him,” said CL in an interview with The Fader. “I was drinking a can of Dr. Pepper and wrote the song so I could go home as soon as possible, Diplo ended up loving it!”

And Diplo apparently loves her, too.

“I’ve been active in CL’s first full-length album, mostly trying to find a right balance between glossy K-pop attitude and keeping CL positioned where she belongs—as the baddest coolest female out right now,” said Diplo.

Only time will tell what CL has under her sleeve, but so far she’s moving in the right direction. She is scheduled to headline Diplo’s “Mad Decent Block Parties” on August 9 in New York, September 11th in San Francisco, and September 19 in Los Angeles.

Check out the multilingual rapper spit bars in this “Dirty Vibe” music video:

CL isn’t trying stay for just a season. In an interview with Billboard in 2013, 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,” she added. “I want to break that. I want to tell the world that there are some badass Asian female girls.”

The official video for “Doctor Pepper” hasn’t dropped yet (despite the leaked snippet on youtube), but take a look at her singing and rapping skills below during a live performance with Diplo:


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