In reality, it began with WIN, obviously; only I was around 4 years too late.
It started in April, 2017, when my girlfriend suggested watching WIN together. I was just getting into K-pop, so it was necessary for me to know more about the industry for the sake of context. I learned about YG Ent. and eventually landed on the first aired monthly evaluation of Team B.
I remember seeing Donghyuk getting his confidence stripped out of him and thinking: How could any of them possibly endure it? How can they love something so much to the point of willingly going through this?
Near the end of the month while at the airport (it was a 13 hour flight, long story), Rhythm Ta gets stuck in my head, quite out of nowhere, since I wasn’t really into iKON yet, to the point I downloaded the song on Spotify, risking what little battery time I had left and downloading it through the slow as fuck airport Wi-Fi.
It all snowballed from there. I already respected and admired them to some degree after watching their first two survivals, so all that was left to do was look up interviews and extra content.
I got to listen to them as artists, as trainees, speaking, with complete honesty and modesty, about what they loved and wanted above anything else. I had already seen Chanwoo join Mix & Match, knowing it would be a deathmatch, in which long-time friends and brothers were pitted against each other, and he’d have to survive through that, Hongseok, and Jinhyeong, too.
Moving on, New Kids: Begin was released on May 22nd. Maybe a week before that I posted a thoughtless tweet, a plea to whoever was listening: Where is my iKON comeback?!
Days after that, a teaser was posted then deleted and everything was a mess. But soon enough, New Kids: Begin is released. We get a Weekly Idol episode for the first time, then a photobook; later we even got the School Idol Trip and a bunch of other stuff.
So I fell in love deep, hard and unforgiving in the best of ways.
Everybody has their own story and history and journey with iKON or with Team B. I wish I could’ve been there from the beginning, but the important part is that I got to meet them and love them and I don’t plan on ever letting them go, no matter what. I know I’m not alone in this.
iKON only have iKONICS, and I’ll have iKON for as long as they’ll have me.