Bang Yong-guk (born March 31, 1990) is a South Korean rapper, songwriter and record producer. He is best known as the leader of the South Korean boy group B.A.P under TS Entertainment.
Yong-guk first began meeting with other members of Soul Connection when he was in his second year of middle school after posting his rap lyrics on an online forum and being recognized for his skill. Through meeting with seniors that were actually active in the music industry, watching them compose and produce, and learning from them, he was able to refine his own techniques and become better at making his style of music
In 2010, Yong-guk was contacted by TS Entertainment to be part of a hip-hop idol group after the duo Untouchable recommended him. Though he was worried that the type of music he could make would be limited, TS Entertainment assured him of being able to live out his dreams.
On March 3, 2011, Song Jieun's single "Going Crazy" was released, featuring Bang Yong-guk. The single was a commercial and critical success, with fans praising Yongguk's "husky and fiery delivery". It topped the Gaon Chart and Gaon Digital and Streaming Chart and gained attention for Yongguk as an artist; following the single's release, he trended on major portal search sites in South Korea and was requested for multiple broadcast appearances. However, his agency declined these appearances, stating that he was still a trainee and not ready to appear on broadcasts outside of promotional performances. The agency thanked fans for their interest nevertheless.
On August 11, TS Entertainment released Yongguk's single "I Remember", featuring Yang Yoseob of B2ST. The song was a moderate success, peaking in the Top 10 on real time charts in Korea and at #22 on the Gaon Chart. However, the single was deemed unfit for broadcast promotions by KBS because of multiple scenes of shooting and violence.
On December 11, Yongguk debuted with Zelo as part of the sub-unit rap duo Bang&Zelo with the song "Never Give Up
Yongguk is predominantly a hip-hop artist and cites 50 Cent, P. Diddy, and Pharrell as musical influences. Although his goal was not initially to become a K-pop artist, he was influenced by the roles that Supreme Team and Dynamic Duo played in popularizing the genre in South Korea.
As well as rapping, Yongguk also acts as a songwriter and producer for many of B.A.P's songs, including all the tracks from their debut EP Warrior.
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