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Zico – The Talented South Korean Rapper

Full Name Woo Ji-ho
Stage Name Zico
Birthday September 14, 1992
Age 30
Birthplace Mapo District, Seoul, South Korea
Height 5‘11"
Label KOZ Entertainment
Social Media Facebook · Twitter · Instagram · YouTube

Early Life and Career

Zico displayed a passion for hip hop from a young age. At 14, he joined the underground crew D.O and started rapping under the name Nacseo. In 2008, a 15-year old Zico released his debut single "Break Up Dinner" showcasing his raw talent and skills.

He later joined the group Dong Bang Bul Pae as their rapper. In 2009, he auditioned for YG Entertainment but was ultimately rejected. However, this minor setback didn‘t stop Zico‘s rise to fame.

Debut with Block B

In 2011, Zico signed with Stardom Entertainment and made his official debut with the boy group Block B. As the group‘s leader and main rapper, Zico participated in writing lyrics and producing music for Block B right from their first release.

The group gained attention for their edgy hip hop style and stage presence. Zico‘s bold charisma and flow immediately stood out. Though they faced some early controversies, Block B began finding success with hits like "Nillili Mambo" and "Very Good."

Solo Breakthrough

Zico‘s solo career truly took off in 2013 when he released his first solo EP "Gallery" along with the title track "Artist." Showcasing his impressive wordplay and lyrical talent, "Artist" topped Korean charts for weeks. His follow up single "Tough Cookie" solidified his status as a rising solo star.

In 2014, Zico appeared as a judge on Mnet‘s rap competition Show Me The Money 3 alongside other hip hop icons. This grew his reputation exponentially within the Korean hip hop scene.

Over the next few years, Zico dropped more hit singles and collabs like "Eureka," "Well Done," and "Bermuda Triangle" with Dean and Crush. Each release garnered millions of streams and views, proving his versatility as an artist.

Founding KOZ Entertainment

In 2017, Zico founded his own label KOZ Entertainment aimed at nurturing young hip hop talent. His label has signed impressive artists so far including Penomeco, Fanxy Child, and Millic.

As CEO of KOZ, Zico continues to write and produce his own music while guiding and supporting his labelmates. His goal is to expand the reach of Korean hip hop globally.

Recent Achievements

After being discharged from his mandatory military service in 2019, Zico made his awaited solo comeback with the album "Thinking" in 2020. It immediately topped domestic and international charts, showcasing his growth and maturity as an artist.

Zico remains actively engaged in both group and solo activities. In 2022, he released his 3rd full album "Grown Ass Kid" featuring the synth-pop hit "Freak." The album reflected on his evolution from idol to respected hip hop artist.

With numerous #1 hits, awards, and sold-out tours under his belt, Zico has cemented his status as a K-pop icon and pillar of the Korean hip hop community.

Why Fans Love Zico

  • Clever wordplay and storytelling lyrics
  • Genius blending of hip hop, R&B, pop, EDM
  • Eye-catching fashion and trendsetting style
  • Humble personality despite immense success
  • Support of rising artists through his label
  • Charismatic stage presence and energy

Fun Facts About Zico

  • His stage name Zico comes from ancient Roman orator Cicero
  • He can speak Korean, English, and basic Chinese
  • Zico won "Rookie of the Year" at the 2013 Korean Hip Hop Awards
  • He has collaborated with IU, f(x), Crush, Dean, Suran, and other artists
  • In 2018, Zico performed at SXSW music festival in Austin
  • He is ambidextrous and can write lyrics with both hands

The Legacy of Zico

With his boundary-pushing artistry, Zico has been instrumental in bringing Korean hip hop into the mainstream music scene. He is credited with showing that hip hop can be commercially successful in Korea‘s idol-dominated industry.

Zico‘s creativity, charisma, and bold vision have inspired a whole generation of artists. By founding KOZ Entertainment, he continues to foster young hip hop talent and expand the genre‘s reach globally.

As both a K-pop idol and hip hop mogul, Zico has left an unforgettable mark on the industry. His music and influence have shaped the Korean sound and paved the way for future generations to find success on their own terms. Zico‘s legacy as a pioneer in K-hip hop is undeniable.