After becoming embroiled in over two years of court cases and controversies, former iKON member B.I opened up about his experience in an interview with Billboard.
The idol's rise and subsequent fall has been quite astounding. After making his debut with iKON in 2015, the singer gained massive popularity nationally and internationally, becoming a favorite for many. However, a drug scandal changed the course of his career.
On September 10, 2021, B.I was sentenced to a probationary period of four years, including 80 hours of community service, 40 hours of drug education courses, and a fine of ₩1.5 million (approximately US$1,300). He was charged with three counts of illegal marijuana usage and purchasing illegal LSD back in 2016.
B.I wants to prove himself through his actions and his one wish is to repay his fans with music
In an interview with Billboard, the singer opened up about his journey as an idol, and his traversal through the toughest period of his life thus far.
B.I kicked off the interview by giving an insight into the pressure that comes with being an idol. Despite being a teenager at the time of his debut, he had to shoulder a lot of responsibility and expectation at the time. Being competitive in nature did not help.
"Ever since I was young, I was overly sensitive to results because I was so competitive. I was obsessed with the need to perform better, create better music, to be the best. I wasn’t mature enough to handle the pressure that I put upon myself."
The idol mentioned that he had made some stupid decisions in his career, referring mainly to the drug scandal. B.I revealed that he had surrendered to moments of weakness, and he has nothing but regret for doing so.
"I guess you could say it felt like survival, of having to win, to fight. In a moment of weakness, I thought maybe I could relieve that burden. Even now, I regret that constantly. I shouldn’t have done it, but felt like I was in a corner, and I made the wrong decision. I was so young and stupid."
The news of the drug scandal was made public in June 2019, while the incident itself took place in 2016. The former iKON member stated that he had spent all that time in fear of everyone finding out, and immersed himself in music to escape the anxiety.
For B.I, the worst part of the ordeal was the disappointment of his family, friends, and fans. He also had to leave iKON, despite being their leader.
"My mind was blanking out. Then I started thinking about the people that I had disappointed and hurt – my family, my friends, my fans – and hated myself. My family didn’t say much to me, they just held me and we cried together. It consoled me but also hurt that much more."
B.I stated that the scope of the event had left him with a "victim mentality" which he has been working to overcome, admitting that nobody but him was to blame for what went down. He continued,
"I’m trying to change people’s perception of me, not just by talking, but by my actions. One by one, I’m trying to persuade everyone I meet. I can’t say that’s definitely happening right now but I’m going to make sure that it does."
The idol concluded the interview by thanking his fans for their constant support and love. He revealed that wants to repay them for all their patience and kindness:
"I made up my mind that I had to release an album, but I was terrified. I went ahead with one thought — to repay all the people who were by my side."
Even as the singer is fulfilling his probation sentence of four years, he is continuing to create music for his fans. In May 2022, B.I announced his global album project Love or Loved, which contains a pre-release collab with rapper Soulja Boy titled BTBT.