When BEAST (initially stylized as B2ST) made their debut in October 2009 — a fantastic year for K-Pop — they became one of the biggest second-generation idol groups. Fast forward to 2021, and BEAST as a K-Pop group does not exist anymore, at least not with all its original members or its original name.
However, the group’s music video for Fiction, considered one of K-Pop’s quintessential songs, just reached 100 million views on YouTube.
Even with their songs banned for featuring swear words, BEAST managed to win Rookie of the Month for December 2009, awarded by South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
But what happened to BEAST, and where are they now?
The beginning of the group’s end comes with member Jang Hyun Seung leaving to embark on a solo career. But what really ground them down was another then-current member, Yong Jun Hyung’s, involvement in South Korea’s infamous Burning Sun scandal.
How BEAST became of the biggest second generation K-Pop idols
Working their way up from the bottom, BEAST continued to make waves after their Rookie of the Month award. Their “beastly idol” image — one that is more popular with newer groups — helped set them apart from counterparts like SHINee. They became the first Korean artists, along with 4Minute, to perform at the Singapore Olympic stage.
BEAST also continued to push boundaries. While their dance-pop numbers kept fans bopping to their tunes, BEAST’s ballads proved the vocal capabilities of all the members.
Songs like “Clenching My Fit Tight,” “On Rainy Days,” “Oasis,” and more showed audiences that this boy band had much more to offer.
How BEAST became HIGHLIGHT
At the height of their popularity, Jang decided to leave due to a difference in music styles between him and other members. Following his departure, BEAST continued to release music.
In December 2016, when the group launched its new label, Around Us Entertainment, and left Cube Entertainment, they were forced to change their name from BEAST to HIGHLIGHT. This was after their third album, due to Cube Entertainment having trademarked the name BEAST.
But this was not the end of their troubles. Starting in 2018, BEAST, now HIGHLIGHT, members began enlisting in the military for their mandatory service. The following year, Yong was accused of being a part of the chatroom with Jung Joon Young — a former idol who is a convicted rapist.
The latter shared hidden camera footage and sexually explicit images of women without their consent. This controversy falls under the umbrella of the Burning Sun scandal, which also saw BIGBANG’s Seungri’s involvement.
Following Yong’s involvement in the controversy revealed, the singer left HIGHLIGHT the same year.
Where is BEAST, aka HIGHLIGHT, now?
BEAST’s Fiction has now become the group’s first music video to reach 100 million views. The song, released on May 17th, 2011, took nine years, 11 months, and 14 days to reach this mark.
HIGHLIGHT, aka BEAST, will be making their first comeback as a four-member group after a hiatus of two and a half years — and their first since Yong’s controversies. Their third extended play, “The Blowing,” will be released on Monday, May 3rd.
Fans can watch the teaser for the upcoming album above.