BEAST (비스트, stylized as B2ST, now HIGHLIGHT) is a Korean group formed in 2009 in Seoul, South Korea, under Cube Entertainment. The group is comprised of Yoon Dujun (윤두준), Jang Hyunseung (장현승), Yong Junhyung (용준형), Yang Yoseob (양요섭), Lee Gikwang (이기광) and Son Dongwoon (손동운). Having released 8 successful mini-albums and three studio albums (JP & KR) since 2009, BEAST gained critical acclaim in 2011 winning three Daesang awards at the Melon Music Awards, KBS Gayo Daechukje and GaOn Chart Awards for Artist, Song and Album of the Year respectively. They repeated this feat in 2012 winning Artist of the Year at the Melon Music Awards.
2009–2010: Debut and Shock of the New Era
Prior to their debut, Korean news outlets reported that Cube Entertainment would be releasing a new boy group known as "B2ST", pronounced "Beast". This name was changed to "Beast" before their debut, but the group retains the original stylisation in all their promotional material. Beast's fanclub name became "B2uty", pronounced "Beauty", in reference to the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast.
In October 2009, Beast held their debut showcase at the MTV GongGae Hall and made their live performance debut on KBS Music Bank with their debut single, "Bad Girl". A documentary recording the story of the group's debut titled MTV B2ST was filmed during this time, showing the members as they filmed their first music video and bonded with each other. Their debut mini-album, Beast Is the B2ST featured five songs, including the intro track "Beast Is the B2ST", "Mystery" and "Oasis". The song "아직은" (Ajigeun, lit. Yet) was banned from airplay due to swearing in Jun-hyung's rap. Beast won their first award, Rookie of the Month for December, awarded by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
In early 2010, Beast promoted their second single, "Mystery", from the mini-album, with live performances on the weekly music shows. The members created their own humorous amateur music video for the song, featuring fellow Korean pop singers including members of Girls' Generation and Kara. The mini-album went on to sell 40,000 copies, an unusual feat for a Korean rookie group, with the album's original print run of 20,000 copies selling out in its first month.
In January 2010, Beast and their labelmates, girl group 4minute, signed with world-wide album company Universal Music Group for their international promotions and album launches, and began their first international promotions in Taiwan with 4minute. The group was awarded the Best Newcomer Award alongside girl groups T-ara and After School at the 19th Seoul Music Awards in February 2010.
Beast released their second mini-album Shock of the New Era in March 2010 with the lead single "Shock". The mini album’s release took place a day earlier than scheduled after it was leaked on Youtube. The group achieved their first number-one win on Mnet’s M! Countdown with "Shock". The album quickly sold 20,000 copies in Korea, and was certified into the Gold Disk category in Singapore. Reviews of the title track described it has having both powerful vocals and a rock-influenced strong sound, a departure from the pop feel of their debut single, and praised the complex choreography for the track in live performances.
During the promotion period for "Shock", the group performed an orchestra version of Korean group Noel's ballad "붙잡고도" (Butjapgodo, lit. Despite Holding On), and were recognized as a boy group with outstanding singing ability. A digital single version of their track "Easy" from their Shock of the New Era album was released in April 2010 with the title "Easy (Sincere Ver.)". The track used strings and piano as opposed to the hip-hop feel and electronic instruments of the original.
In August 2010, Beast received the Golden Disk Award from Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand at the '2010 Summer CUBE Stars Party' in Seoul. Beast and 4minute also became the first Korean artists to be invited to perform on the Singapore Youth Olympics pre-opening stage. The group was awarded with the Cool Star Award in the 2010 Mnet 20's Choice Awards. American R&B musician Omarion made a surprise appearance as a guest onstage with the group as they received their award. Omarion had earlier invited Beast to perform with him after viewing a YouTube clip of the group delivering a dance performance of his single "Ice Box".
2010: Mastermind, Lights Go On Again, and My Story
On September 17, 2010, Beast released the song "주먹을 꽉 쥐고” (Jumeogeul Kkwak Jwigo, lit. Clenching a Tight Fist) as a single from their 3rd mini-album, Mastermind. The song gained anticipation and attention from the public for the excellent vocal ability they displayed. Mastermind was released on September 28, 2010. On October 8, 2010, a week after their comeback, Beast claimed first place on KBS Music Bank with the song "숨” (Soom, lit. Breath) from Mastermind. The song was noted for its original sound and distinctive choreography. On October 23, 2010, Beast is one of the recipient of the Asia Influential Artist Award which is given to those who had gained the most attention in Asia for the year.
On November 3, 2010, Beast opened up the preorder sales for their 4th mini-album named Lights Go On Again. The album took the top 5 spots on the Mnet music charts on November 8, 2010, with their lead track, “Beautiful” debuting at 1st place, while the album’s remaining four tracks placed 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively. According to album sales site Hanteo, the group’s album sales showed great success, with their sales figures ranked first. On November 15, 2010, Beast released the first part of the relay music drama from the 4th mini-album on their official YouTube channel. It garnered interest from fans as well as overseas promoters and media for the style and concept of the upcoming music videos.
Beast discography entered Japan with the release of their first Japanese album, called Beast - Japan Premium Edition, on November 24, 2010. It debuted at 13th place on the Oricon weekly album charts. On November 27, 2010, Beast held their first Japanese showcase called the 'The Legend of Beast, Vol.1' at Tokyo Big Site in Ohdaiba, Tokyo. The members were transported to the site of the showcase by helicopter, where they were able to see a human formation of the group's name made up of fans as a welcome greeting. The group performed 9 hit tracks, including "Bad Girl," "Shock" and "숨”. They also announced plans to officially debut in Japan in February 2011.
On December 1, 2010, Beast won an award for being one of 2010's most photogenic figures by the 11th Korean Visual Arts Festival, hosted and organized by the Korea Broadcast Camera Directors Association. On December 9, Beast was awarded with the Yepp Newcomer Award at the 25th Golden Disk Awards. According to album sold research site Hanteo Chart on December 11, 2010, Beast have sold 107,006 copies from January - October 2010 with 4 of their released mini-albums, including their first mini-album. This made Beast as the only rookie group out of all the boy/girl groups who have sold over 100,000 copies in 2010. This feat just shows the groups growing popularity. Beast held their first solo concert on December 12, 2010 at the Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul. The concert's official title was 'Welcome to the Beast Airline'.
On December 23, plans for the release of self-composed duets by the members of the group were announced. The tracks released were "Thanks To", a hiphop track from Yoseob and Junhyung, Hyunseung and Kikwang’s R&B track "Let It Snow", and Doojoon and Dongwoon’s ballad track "문이 닫히면" (Muni Dathimyeon, lit. When The Door Closes). The tracks debuted at the Mnet M! Countdown stage. The songs were released on December 21, 2010 as the digital mini album My Story.
2011: Japanese debut-first studio album, world tour
The group was awarded with the Bonsang Award at the 20th Seoul Music Awards on January 20, 2011 where they performed their hit songs “Shock” and "숨”. Beast was also listed as the No. 40 Power Celebrity according to the list released by Forbes Korea on February 24, 2011. Their first Japanese single, "Shock", was released on March 16, 2011, and debuted at number 2 on Oricon’s weekly chart. However, due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, all scheduled Japanese promotions for their single were cancelled.
Beast released their first full length Korean album on May 17, 2011 titled Fiction and Fact. Their track “비가 오는 날엔" (Biga Oneun Naren, lit. On Rainy Days), released as a digital single prior to the release of their album, won first place on KBS Music Bank’s May 27, 2011 episode instead of their heavily promoted lead song "Fiction". Their 2nd Japanese single, "Bad Girl (Japanese ver.)", was released on June 15, 2011.
Beast performed as Korea’s representative artists at MTV’s “MTV World Stage Live in Malaysia 2011" on July 24, 2011 at Malaysia’s Shah Alam. Beast is the only Korean artist to be invited this year, and is the second Korean artist, following the Wonder Girls, to ever perform on MTV’s “World Stage”.
In 2012, Beast went on an international tour, "Beautiful Show", which visited 17 cities in 12 different countries from Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. The group released their sixth mini-album, "Midnight Sun", on July 22, 2012. Prior to its official release, the group gave fans a preview with the release of "Midnight" on July 15, 2012. The title track, "아름다운 밤이야" ("Beautiful Night"), won the Triple Crown on M! Countdown and won once respectively on KBS's Music Bank and MBC Music's Show Champion.
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