[Original Feature] Then & Now: EXID
It's been three years since EXID officially made their debut with "Whoz That Girl" as a quintet. As trainees they originally started with Yuzi, Hani, Ji Eun (SECRET) and Hyorin (SISTAR), but that group failed to debut, so Hani and Yuzi were joined by JYP trainees Dami, Haeryung, and Junghwa, as well as underground rapper LE. Together, they became known as EXID, an acronym for "Exceed In Dream."
The girls debuted with a fun, funky pop sound that was enhanced by LE's raps and lyrics, starting with the slick single "Whoz That Girl."
Shortly after their single dropped, Haeryung, Yuji, and Dami left the group and later formed BESTie. They were replaced by powerful vocalists Solji and Hyerin. Together they would form the lineup we know today! With the core group in place, they released their first EP "Hippity Hop," along with the high-energy single "I Feel Good." As in the first video, they gave LE crazy hair again.
In keeping with the change in season, the girls released an MV for "Every Night," also from the EP 'Hippity Hop.' This showed a slower, more serious side, and this carried over into their sub-unit Dasoni, consisting of Hani and Solji. At this time duos like 2Yoon and Sistar19 were hot, and Dasoni was unfortunately overshadowed, despite some superior vocal work.
The girls started staging guerilla concerts in an attempt to get noticed, but it wasn't until late 2014 and early 2015 when a fan cam video of Hani went viral that they gained popularity.
Released months before, the highly addictive "Up & Down," reached number one on the Gaon Singles Chart. The increased attention also translated to the music shows. "Up & Down" was nominated for first place on 'M! Countdown,' 'Music Core' and 'Inkigayo.' Shortly after, the group won on KBS's 'Music Bank' and 'Inkigayo.' The girls went from 0 to 60 and all it took was a viral video.
It wasn't long before another comeback was planned. Their single "Ah Yeah" was a similar hit, the MV taking a cue from their fan cam success and highlighting the girls' sex appeal. They all started rocking longer hair styles and tighter clothing. The girls had gone from fun and funky to sexy, hot, and funky -- but still fun! "Ah Yeah" was a smash hit, and they continued their winning streak on 'Inkigayo.'
Finally, the K-Pop world was EXID's oyster. The girls, their music, and their MVs were talked about, viewed, played, and enjoyed. They were asked to appear on variety shows, featured on 1theK's 'Let's Dance,' and their singer supreme Solji sang her heart out and won on 'Mask King.'
It took a while for the group to reach success despite releasing song after song with awesome choreography throughout; just like many other rookie K-Pop groups out there, the girls of EXID went through some grueling times in the beginning, but they persevered and it paid off big. Lucky for us fans, they're now in the spotlight and are getting the attention they deserve!