To All the Girls We Loved Before: 4Minute

Having been following the K-Pop scene for a long time, we at KStreetManila have seen the rise and fall of many artists. We remember the monumental debuts and hit songs. They were the ones who paved the way for the many acts we see today.

This is what “To All the Girls We Loved Before” are about—a tribute to the iconic girl groups who made K-Pop what it is today.

A Look Back at 4Minute’s Career

On June 15, 2009, 4Minute debuted under Cube Entertainment, composed of members Jihyun, Gayoon, Jiyoon, Hyuna, and Sohyun. The group was off to a group start, earning their first win on a music show for their second single.

4Minute achieved their breakthrough in 2010 with the release of their second mini-album Hit Your Heart. The song “HuH” became the group’s most downloaded single to date. The song also became part of South Korean FM station’s “Voice of Freedom” propaganda broadcasts to North Korea.

The same year, 4Minute promoted heavily outside Korea, touring Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Taiwan. The group also made their debut in Japan, releasing Japanese versions of their Korean singles, as well as original songs.

Hyuna is the first of the group to make her solo debut with the song “Change.” A year later, she debuted as part of the duo Trouble Maker, which included Hyunseung from then-group BEAST.

The years 2013 to 2014 meant a flurry of activity for 4Minute. They started the year by participating in the United Cube Concert tour in Korea, China, and Japan. They also started their collaboration with Brave Brothers, which produced their singles “What’s Your Name?”, “Is It Poppin’?” and “Whatcha Doin’ Today?”. The third song became the group’s first single to debut at number 1 in Korea, beating 2NE1 and Girls’ Generation on Inkigayo when the three groups shared a promotion period.

The sub-unit 2YOON (composed of Gayoon and Jiyoon) also made their debut in 2013 with the song “24/7.”

In 2015, 4Minute released their sixth EP Crazy, with the title track of the same name. The EP debuted at the top of Billboard’s World Album’s Chart. Unfortunately, the group was unable to sustain this level of success for their seventh mini-album, Act. 7, which included a collaboration with American producer Skrillex.

The group disbanded on June 13, 2016, two days before their seventh anniversary.

Versatility at its Best

Early 4NIAs (the group’s fandom name) will clearly remember 4Minute being synonymous with bright colors matched with heavy electronic beats. This was heavily clear in their debut song “Hot Issue” and “HUH.”

4Minute later proved that they could do more mature songs with the dark song “Volume Up!” This was later followed by the song “Whatcha’ Doin’ Today?”, displaying a blatantly sexy and more subversive image.

The group also showed that they could do ballads with “Cold Rain,” highlighting the skills of vocalists Gayoon and Jiyoon.

“Crazy” is no the best 4Minute song today. The group embraced full-fledged hip-hop, also including trap and a thumping baseline. Did we mention the siren wails, drums, and horns?

And finally, “Hate.” The song delivered one of the most epic jumps on K-Pop songs, beginning with a sad ballad, followed by a brief rap portion then an angry dubstep chorus.

Where Are They Now?

Since their disbandment, the former members of 4Minute are busy with their solo activities.

Jihyun, Gayoon, and Sohyun went and pursued acting careers. Jihyun appeared in dramas such as My Little Baby, Grand Prince, and When the Devil Calls Your Name. Gayoon, meanwhile, has starred in only one film, Drug King, released in 2017. Sohyun recently starred in the drama The Secret Life of My Secretary.

On the other hand, Jiyoon debuted as a solo artist under the stage name “Jenyer” with the single album Day and Night. She also appeared as a contestant in the King of Mask Singer.

As for Hyuna, she remained with Cube after disbandment and released solo works as well as collaborated with other artists in the agency. She debuted with PENTAGON’s Hui and E’Dawn in 2017. A year later, she and boyfriend E’Dawn left Cube Entertainment and signed up with Psy’s agency, P-Nation.


4Minute will forever be remembered as one of the girl groups who solidified femme power in their music. They were also known as one of the groups outside the Big 3 agencies who achieved so much in the K-Pop scene. Initially known for heavy electronic beats, the group later proved that they are versatile and can take on different concepts. Their accomplishments as a group and as individuals and units are something to be praised as well.

The group may have disbanded, but they will remain in a special place in every K-Pop fans’ hearts. We wish the girls nothing but success in their endeavors!

What is your favorite 4Minute song and/or album? Let us know in the comments below!

Bea Mandac
Bea was introduced to the world of Korean culture through Full House, Jewel in the Palace, BoA, and TVXQ. She is also a fan of J-Pop, figure skating, and tennis. When not in her day job, she likes to be alone in her room or in a café with her pen and paper, or a laptop. She co-runs a figure skating blog with fellow KStreet contributor Clara. You can reach her on Twitter.

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