Epik High member Tablo has finally reappeared. After a two-year hiatus, most likely due to the his new family and diploma scandal, Tablo has signed a exclusive 4-year contract with YG Entertainment. It has been stated that his solo activities with YG will not involve Epik High as a group and that his first solo album is set to drop November 1st.
For many, Tablo is no ordinary idol: he is a [proven] Standford University graduate with both a Bachelors degree in English Literature and a Masters degree in Creative Writing; he and Epik High entered the music scene with original indie and hip-hop sounds and survived the turmoil that is the korean music industry even when their music genres were not popular; he’s weathered the dark days of parting with Epik High’s former entertainment company, Woolim Entertainment, and honed the skill and craft with his Epik High members to establish their independent record label Map the Soul. Tablo is no pushover. He has always been a story of triumph and a beacon of musical genius.
Fans across the spectrum are torn between love and hate about the announcement. Fear struck the hearts of many when the news about Tablo signing with a major idol company broke out-fear that perhaps original Tablo may be compromised with the stain of candy-flavored idol influences. Some ventured even further and expressed their disgust at the thoughts of Tablo being featured in a Big Bang or 2NE1 production, most likely due the polarity in Tablo’s and the YG idols’ musical appeals. I dont think these fears are far-fetched, and in fact, I dread the idea as much as the next Tablo fan. But I also think that Tablo is not that stupid–he’s known for being true to himself and true to his music, and I dont think YG’s intent for having him is for boosting his others idols reps. So for those with rattling fears, be calm. Both are musical masterminds, they’ll figure something out.
Now I actually would like to take a moment to give YG a pat on the back-it’s not everyday that you see a mainstream entertainment company diversifying like this. Yes, Tablo’s beautiful YG actress wife Kang Hye Jung played a key role in making it happen by introducing YG’s CEO and Tablo. But that doesn’t mean this is not a good decision: YG takes on Tablo and garners a whole new market in the indie/underground realm while also, perhaps more inadvertently, promotes a more unique and lesser known musical style.
I’m glad to see Tablo coming back to music with some serious plans. His music is truly without comparison, and with the Epik High members in and out of the military and busy trying to have lives of their own, it’s promising to see that Tablo is still interested in pursuing music, even if it is done independently. With the chaos around him finally settling, I think we can all breath a sigh of relief knowing there will be at least one quality album coming out this fall.