HIGHGRND, Miscellaneous

understanding HIGHGRND

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HIGHGRND is still a topic causing confusion between fans , the most confusion being related to “is it truly independent” “how much does YG have influence and/or power of it” . These questions are fair enough considering it has YG’s current artists Epik High involved with Tablo being CEO. We hope to clear some confusion over some questions.

Note : this is information that we have already translated but there has since been a lot of new information in interviews that we haven’t gotten to because we don’t have many active kor-eng translators , if you would like to help us please email icaruswalksnet@gmail.com or send us a dm on our twitter. 

For starters Tablo has confirmed that Epik High are still YG artists and will release (their work) under YG in the future.  This doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be with HIGHGRND at the same time, for example their latest album “Shoebox” was both a YG album and a MTS album. “Epilogue”had a similar thing with being both a Woollim album and a MTS album. For those who don’t know MTS was/is another independent label Epik High has/had. 


Is Lee Hi a HIGHGRND artist?  No she’s just producing her album under them , she’s still a YG artist and the album will be distributed with YG (most likely – again similar to the Shoebox album) .

So how independent is HIGHGRND from YG entertainment , according to (probably Tablo) HIGHGRND’s twitter they are a real independent startup rather than a somewhat startup

I want to try working at HIGHGRND. You’re somewhat a startup company, do you need interns? haha

We are not a somewhat independent company, but a real independent start-up. Though we are still a small family, everyone is working hard on their own respective roles!

Trans: yvonne@icaruswalks

What does YG have to say about HIGHGRND

YG has said he was not involved in the establishment of Tablo’s label HIGHGRND and he would not be involved in future activities.  He added that he’d allow Tablo to do the job of being in charge on his own , whilst giving advice if asked. If he were to support an artist of HIGHGRND like Hyukoh, he’d do it as a fan

I was not involved in TABLO’s establishment of the new label and I’ll not do so in the days to come, too. I told TABLO, ‘As you have established HIGHGRND now, maybe it’s better for you to move to that company.’ However, TABLO said he wanted to stay with YG. TABLO himself is a veteran singer and has seen a lot of pending problems and ineffective systems. Maybe he thought such problems have been solved to some extent after he joined YG. I hope TABLO will discover a lot of new talents through HIGHGRND. I believe that he is the guy who can do so. Just like the old saying that goes ‘Don’t just give fishes, but teach how to fish’, I’ll just let him do his job on his own. I’ll just give some words of advice when necessary.”

I have never seen Hyuk Oh personally so far. I’ll just continue to support the band as a fan.

Despite YG saying he was not involved in the establishment of HIGHGRND, it seems it was partly his idea for Tablo to start such a label (from Tablo’s interview with Sports Illsan)

Is it Representative Yang’s idea to establish HIGHGRND?

Yes. One day President Yang said he wanted to see me and we had a chat. (He said) ‘If you do independent label, it is likely that you should be able to enjoy and perform well.’ and suggested establishing HIGHGRND. No matter what to say I was still  a judge in <Show Me The Money>. And (I’m) close to the junior members IKON, Lee Ha Yi, Winner and Akdong musician in the company . It seems that these attract much more attention. I’m also distressed for a while before having the idea of doing it. (I) feel that ‘All the challenges are very difficult, but I have to enjoy while doing it’, then (I) started it.


In the release of HIGHGRND material such as albums, YG entertainment bears no logo meaning that they are not involved in the production, creativity and distribution of their albums/other material.

According to Tablo in his interview with Sports Illsan YG and Epik High are legally two different companies with YG not knowing anything about HIGHGRND’s decisions

First of all, President Yang hasn’t come to our office yet. I know that he has his hair done in a shop next to our office. It seems that he’s not coming deliberately. President Yang gave me this authority. He must be thinking that by letting me lead the label independently perhaps I will come up with totally different products from YG. He has no knowledge of all our decisions. He is also unaware of our ongoing plan. Legally, we are two different companies.

With the release of Lee Hi’s teasers we are able to see (depending on who posted it) two logos , HIGHGRND  & YG further showing these two companies as different entities . Lee Hi’s teasers would hold the YG logo as she is a YG artist.

We say ‘depends who posted it’ as some teasers only include the YG logo. The above image was posted by Lee Hi. The labelling with logos really all depends on agreement between HIGHGRND & YG on representation on different objects.


To what degree YG entertainment is involved besides production/creativity and distribution is unknown at this stage. But that doesn’t mean you should lose your ‘independent’ trust in HIGHGRND, all that they’ve done so far is through their own means .

2016/04 Interview with Lee Hayi

While First Love was produced by your label, YG Entertainment, Seoulite was produced by HIGHRND [YG Entertainment’s subsidiary indie label headed by Epik High]. How was the process different?

HIGHGRND is a subsidiary of YG Entertainment, so there wasn’t a big difference in the whole process. While working with co-producers Tablo and DJ Tukutz, I had the chance to express my opinion and record various genres of music in an open atmosphere. Due to the reasons above, I had a blast working at HIGHGRND. If I ever get another chance, I would love to work with this amazing label again.


update 09/05 YG owns 100% of HIGHGRND shares source

An annual report has confirmed information from Hayi’s interview about HIGHGRND being a subsidiary. However information  does not reject other facts such as Tablo saying HIGHGRND is legally and creatively independent of YG. The report also mentioned that HIGHGRND with Tablo as CEO’s aim/goal is to discover talented underground artists and help them produce/promote their music with financial backing. (trans: epikdorks)

So what is a Subsidiary?

A subsidiary is a company whose voting stock is more than 50% controlled by another company, usually referred to as the parent company or holding company. (In this case it would be YG)

For the purposes of liability, taxation and regulation, subsidiaries are distinct legal entities.  (What Tablo had said)

The parent and the subsidiary do not necessarily have to operate in the same locations, or operate the same businesses, yet not only is it possible that they could conceivably be competitors in the marketplace, but such arrangements happen frequently at the end of a hostile takeover or voluntary merger. Also, because a parent company and a subsidiary are separate entities, it is entirely possible for one of them to be involved in legal proceedings, bankruptcy, tax delinquency, indictment, and/or under investigation, while the other is not. (so while YG has share control they do not necessarily have control over anything else )


So whilst HIGHGRND is a subsidiary of YG it is legally and creatively different and based on what Tablo says YG does not interfere with HIGHGRND activities or promotions (unless they are directly participating in the end product i.e Lee Hi’s comeback) You can check album credits of a HIGHGRND artist to see if YG has any influence , but as we said before except for Hayi there has been no examples of YG doing so.

We encourage people to not blame HIGHGRND’s productions or activities on YG i.e album being delayed or not many activities – these elements are due to the (HIGHGRND)artists routine or wants. Like Tablo said in another interview , YG asks about Epik High’s comeback but Epik High say they themselves are not ready.

Again this is all the information we have from our translations, if you would like to help us translate more information on this matter please email us @ icaruswalksnet@gmail.com or dm us on twitter!



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Translators Needed

We're in need of korean-english translators. Please note you may need to be fairly active (at least 1-2 days a week) for translations To help, email icaruswalksnet@gmail.com asap!