Blackjacks everywhere were left crying their Moonshot mascara off when 2NE1 announced their disbandment last month. And, while we can still get a 2NE1-esque fix from YG Entertainment’s girl group BLACKPINK, it’s just not quite the same, is it? To commemorate YG’s original queens, we’ve taken a look back at some of the group’s lesser known bops that were robbed of the official single treatment.
Pretty Boy - 2NE1 1st Mini Album (2009)
2NE1 exploded onto the scene in 2009 with hits ‘Fire’ and ‘I Don’t Care,’ but I was always more enamoured with their ballsy b-side ‘Pretty Boy.’ With its hip-hop leanings, ‘Hollaback Girl’ beat and a well-placed Beyonce homage (“To the left, to the left!”), ‘Pretty Boy’ rammed home 2NE1’s aggressive girl power concept and positioned them as a group who were blazing their own path in the K-pop industry.
Baby I Miss You - Crush (2014)
When people think of 2NE1, they probably think of three things: autotune, Jeremy Scott, and lit electro-pop. But the girls were just as successful for their ballads as they were for their dance tracks, and some of the best ones never even made single status - namely ‘Baby I Miss You.’ It’s the perfect slice of midnight melancholy, but 2NE1’s signature swag is still all over it thanks to CL’s rapping and a touch of early noughties urban-pop.
I’m Busy - To Anyone (2010)
For several long years will.i.am was synonymous with 2NE1 as endless reports of a U.S. debut for the girl group swirled around. While 2NE1’s American chart domination never came to fruition, you can see how a song like ‘I’m Busy’ would capture will.i.am’s attention enough to try in the first place. Clearly influenced by the Black Eyed Peas’ The E.N.D., ‘I’m Busy’ proved that 2NE1 could easily go toe-to-toe with the autotuned electro-pop that ruled the Billboard charts at the time.
If I Were You - Crush (2014)
Another ballad but hardly underrated, ‘If I Were You’ became a top ten hit and big digital seller despite never being released as a single. The sweeping slow jam perfectly straddles the line between overblown angst and adolescent heartache, making it no surprise that it became a breakout cut from Crush.
Love is Ouch - To Anyone (2010)
Besides the gorgeous ‘It Hurts,’ there’s barely a slow moment to be found on 2NE1’s electro-heavy To Anyone album. The only other one is ‘Love is Ouch’, an empowering midtempo tune about moving on from a messy relationship. It’s not one of the more obvious standouts from 2NE1’s discography, but I’ve loved it since the album dropped and six years later I still can’t hit the skip button when it comes on.
Crush - Crush (2014)
2NE1’s sonic signature was always their commercial EDM-tinged pop, so I’ve always been puzzled by the fact that one of their best electro tracks, ‘Crush,’ was never an official single. Thankfully, someone over at YG eventually saw the light and gave ‘Crush’ a truly badass music video for the Japanese version of the song. It’s the last original music video 2NE1 filmed before their disbandment, and while they probably didn’t know it would be their final single at the time, it ended up being the perfect swansong for the group.