South Korean rapper B.I’s agency has responded to his indictment and explained the release of his new album, WATERFALL.  

South Korean rapper B.I’s agency, IOK Company, has issued a statement regarding his indictment and apologized for releasing his first solo album while he was still awaiting decisions on his case. 

The rapper has been indicted on charges of violating the Act on the Control of Narcotics, which puts ‘narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, marijuana, or other basic substances for such narcotics under appropriate control and handling’. 

In the statement (translated by Soompi), the company explained that during his absence from the entertainment industry following his controversy, B.I reflected on the direction he wanted to take in the future. 

“Rather than merely return or continue to reflect, we hoped that our artist would be able to use the influence he already had in a way that would help society, even if just a little. With that intention, we released [B.I’s] charity album Midnight Blue.” a statement from the company read. Proceeds from Midnight Blue were donated to charity in their entirety. 

“We were able to feel for ourselves that music could be a greater help to society than we had thought. With that same intention and the desire to show the music that [B.I] has prepared up until now, we ended up releasing his recent album. We apologize for the fact that we released his recent album amidst our artist’s uncomfortable controversy.” the company said. 

South Korea’s stance on drug use has been historically stringent, with the zero-tolerance policy often resulting in strict action against people and derailing the careers of many celebrities. 

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In 2019, B.I was suspected to have purchased marijuana and LSD in 2016. In the police questioning that followed, the rapper — at the time a member of the K-pop group iKon — admitted to some of the suspicions. He left the group shortly after and in February 2020, was cleared of all suspicions after testing negative for drugs. 

Further investigation, however, suggested that the case may have been covered up due to the influence of Yang Hyun Suk, the erstwhile CEO of YG Entertainment, then B.I’s agency. On June 7th, reports revealed that B.I had been indicted for violating the Act on the Control of Narcotics. 

You can read more about this topic over at the Asia Pop Observer.