Most K-pop artists rely on stylists to create their looks for music videos. But for the dance video for her recent solo single Hello Bitches, 24-year-old South Korean rapper CL, say she had a hand in styling herself and her female back-up dancers.

The video was uploaded online earlier this month. It features the singer and her fierce-looking posse wearing hot pants and similar black leather jackets emblazoned with the image of a tiger. All of them also sport different wild hairdos in an assortment of colours.

CL, who is the leader of South Korean girl group 2NE1, says: “I wanted it to look like we were a group, like a squad. That’s why we were all wearing all-black outfits with similar styles. I also wanted their hair and make-up to be different, so that’s why each of them has a different colour.”

The rapper, whose real name is Lee Chae Rin, was speaking to Life on Friday after touring the French luxury house Louis Vuitton’s fashion exhibition, Series 3, held at Marina Bay Sands. She flew here specially for the event as one of its celebrity guests. Hello Bitches is CL’s latest shot at breaking into the American market. The Korean-English song features catchy lyrics and thumping beats. 

The stylish artist seems keen on staying true to her Asian roots. She says she chose to feature the image of a tiger on their outfits because it is the national animal of her country. The lyrics of the song, she adds, “talk a lot about Asian culture”. Asked if she is trying to send a message that Asian women are feisty, she says: “I don’t think I’m trying to do anything. I just have to be myself and if I can inspire people, that would be awesome.”

Her upcoming solo English album is still in the works and all she would say is “for the next project, it’s still going to be very CL – fierce, edgy, colourful and new”. In order to break into the United States market, she signed on last year with American producer Scooter Braun’s agency. He manages singers Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, as well as Korean singer Psy, who is also from the same agency as CL in South Korea, YG Entertainment.

CL has already made inroads into the US. Along with YG Entertainment labelmate G-Dragon, she rapped in the electronica hip-hop track Dirty Vibe (2014) by Grammy award-winning music producer and DJ Skrillex. She also collaborated with American music producer Diplo for the chill rap Doctor Pepper (2015).

While CL has been busy with her solo career, all seems to be quiet on the 2NE1 front. The quartet’s last album, Crush, was released last year. Asked if there is a chance of the group making a comeback with a new album, CL says: “I don’t know if it’ll be soon, but of course we will.”

A version of this story was originally published in The Straits Times on November 30, 2015. For more stories like this, head to