[★EXCLUSIVE] Here’s what really happened between Taeyeon and Wiz Khalifa at MAMA 2016

The 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards (2016 MAMA) were held in Hong Kong this weekend and the biggest story from the event is the conflict between Taeyeon and Wiz Khalifa. 

Koreaboo spoke to Wiz Khalifa’s team to get their side of the story. Here’s the entire summary of the event with annotations by Wiz Khalifa’s official DJ and Music Director, DJ Bonics, who was also at the 2016 MAMA. DJ Bonics has been working with Wiz Khalifa for 7 years and like Wiz Khalifa, comes from Pittsburgh.

Patiently Waiting to hit the Stage at #mnetasianmusicawards in Hong Kong…. @mnetkr #TGOD

A photo posted by Brandon Glova (@djbonics) on

Wiz Khalifa was first announced to be attending the 2016 MAMA at a press conference held by the organizers, CJ E&M, where the award show’s Director Kang Hee Jung revealed,“Wiz Khalifa is a recognized hip-hop icon, and he’s going to be collaborating with a K-Pop artist for a special performance.”

It was not announced that this artist would be Taeyeon. Koreaboo first broke the story that the K-Pop artist was supposed to be Taeyeon with leaked rehearsal footage, following Wiz Khalifa’s 2016 MAMA performance, where Taeyeon was not present.

The reactions were immediate and the leaked footage caused Wiz Khalifa’s performance to become the most discussed event at the 2016 MAMA. The song “See You Again” has 2.2 billion views on YouTube and is Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s biggest single to date, according to Billboard. The song spent 12 non-consecutive weeks on top of the US Billboard Hot 100, one of the most prestigious charts in the world. It is also the most liked YouTube video in the world, beating out PSY‘s “Gangnam Style.”

The collaboration between Taeyeon and Wiz Khalifa would not only have been huge for Taeyeon but for the K-Pop industry as a whole. Wiz Khalifa has not released a remix of the song, and replacing Charlie Puth for a collaboration is a huge honor. It should not be taken lightly that Taeyeon was given the opportunity to replace Charlie Puth, as the singer has extremely strong personal attachments to the song.

Wiz Khalifa Only Discovered Taeyeon Would Not Perform With Him Minutes Before His Stage

It was not only a shock to fans but also to Wiz Khalifa and his team that Taeyeon would not be performing on stage with him for “See You Again.” According to DJ Bonics, “We were made aware that Taeyeon would not be collaborating with Wiz for his stage only minutes before he went on stage.”

Fans were incredibly disappointed, and the reasons behind the collaboration being cancelled were not clear until Wiz Khalifa began tweeting about the performance.

It’s clear after talking to Wiz Khalifa’s team that these tweets referenced and mentioned Taeyeon directly, instead of the 2016 MAMA or SM Entertainment, due to a complete and total misunderstanding.

Wiz Khalifa and his team work primarily in the U.S., where an artist as big as Taeyeon would have total and complete control over their activities. While U.S. artists are still signed to labels and have massive distribution deals that may place restrictions on them, it is unusual for an artist to back out of a concert, stage, and/or performance without making the decision themselves.

“We didn’t know that Taeyeon couldn’t perform without her agency’s approval and that they had the final decision in all matters.” — Wiz Khalifa’s Team

Because of this, all tweets written by Wiz Khalifa and DJ Bonics that were related to their collaboration stage were directed towards Taeyeon. The assumption was that if Taeyeon backed out of their collaboration stage, she *must* have made the final call. It is clear to K-Pop fans that she definitely did not make the final call.

Performing the song as a special stage, as described above, is such an enormous opportunity that it was unclear to Wiz Khalifa and his team why she would cancel it. They believed that no matter the reason, Taeyeon would have fought back and demanded to perform the song if she had wanted to.

Due to this misunderstanding, Taeyeon’s fans on Twitter immediately came to her defense and began to send a flurry of tweets towards Wiz Khalifa demanding an apology.

DJ Bonics Shares The First High Quality Clip of Taeyeon Singing “See You Again”

DJ Bonics was the first to reveal a high-quality clip of Taeyeon singing “See You Again.” In the clip, DJ Bonics shows the first 23 seconds of the song and wrote, “[Taeyeon] backed out last minute.”

This is again due to the misunderstanding that Taeyeon had full control and power over appearing or not. Koreaboo clarified this point in our conversations while conducting this interview.

The Instagram post was flooded with comments demanding an apology from DJ Bonics. While these fans had the best of intentions at heart, to defend Taeyeon, it only caused the situation to grow in intensity. Demanding an apology from an artist like Wiz Khalifa seems absurd to those who are familiar with him, his music, and the hip-hop industry as a whole, further dividing the gap between Taeyeon’s fans and other K-Pop fans.

DJ Bonics immediately took to Twitter in an attempt to rectify the situation and make clear that there was absolutely no beef between the two artists.

Below are tweets from DJ Bonics, one by one, in chronological order with annotations by Koreaboo and DJ Bonics in order to clear up the situation.

In our conversations with DJ Bonics, it was clear he was extremely disappointed this stage and performance did not happen.

He revealed, “She sounded amazing. Nobody over here was like, she’s wack. Nobody over here was like, she can’t sing. She sounded so amazing.”

The confusion was confirmed when DJ Bonics revealed, “We are in charge of our own artistry. If Wiz wants to do something, he’s going to do it. We didn’t know that K-Pop artists don’t manage themselves 100%.”

The most revealing statements came when Koreaboo discussed the rehearsal with DJ Bonics. Below is a quick summary of what happened during this rehearsal.

1. Wiz Khalifa and his team flew into Hong Kong a day earlier (Thursday) at the request of MAMA to do a rehearsal with Taeyeon.
2. Wiz rehearsed by himself as Taeyeon had left around 1am.
3. The AR used during this rehearsal was with Taeyeon’s voice on it.
4. No problems were reported by SM Entertainment or the 2016 MAMA during these rehearsals.
5. No one told DJ Bonics that this was the wrong track or that something was wrong with this track.
6. When Taeyeon left the rehearsal, Wiz Khalifa’s team was told it was because she was not feeling well.
7. They were told that she was going to the hospital.
8. Wiz Khalifa and Taeyeon did another rehearsal the next day.
9. Representatives revealed to DJ Bonics that the track being used was the wrong file.
10. Wiz Khalifa’s team attempted to rehearse again with correct file, but they were told that it was too late.

Koreaboo spoke to DJ Bonics in order to get a full understanding of how things went down. Here’s what he had to say:

“They gave me both MR and AR files to download. I downloaded one of them. I played it for them. That’s the whole point of the Thursday night rehearsal. Whether or not I played the AR or MR, that’s what rehearsals are for. On Thursday night, I played the AR. Not one person, not the representative from MAMA or [SM Entertainment] told me it was the wrong one.

She didn’t stay for the rehearsal on Thursday. They said she didn’t feel well, she had to go to the hospital. Whether they meant hotel or hospital, she left the rehearsal. We flew that day to attend the rehearsal. We rehearsed and no one told me it was the wrong track on Thursday. They said, ‘Cool, it’s all good.’ The next day we did the same thing, they said, ‘It’s the wrong one.’

They waited until the day after for the next rehearsal to say that it was the wrong file. When we tried to rehearse again, they said, ‘We don’t have enough time. Let’s just do it the way we did it.’

We could have fixed the track and prepared the correct one if Taeyeon’s team had stayed behind and told us that it was the wrong track or told us earlier it was the wrong track.”

Wiz Khalifa tweeted that Taeyeon was in the hospital prior to MAMA which was immediately refuted by Taeyeon herself in an Instagram Story post. In her post, Taeyeon said, “I didn’t go to the hospital buddy.. it says here I’m washing up after waiting for you.”

DJ Bonics confirmed that they were absolutely told she was leaving the rehearsal to go to the hospital because she was not feeling well. He states that there may have been a misunderstanding and either SM Entertainment or MAMA representatives might have meant hotel. He made it clear that Wiz Khalifa did not make up these statements.

“Why would we make any of this up? What do we have to gain?” — DJ Bonics

“We pleaded with them, I personally told them that I really wanted them to perform together with the right version.” — DJ Bonics

DJ Bonics clarified this tweet, revealing, “It’s so unfortunate. We flew so far. Taeyeon just performed. Wiz just performed. There are no technical problems. We didn’t understand why they couldn’t perform together. The equipment was working fine. Everything was working fine.”

Koreaboo looked into the performance and found the following:

1. The lights turned off for Taeyeon’s performance at 36:27.
2. Wiz Khalifa’s song, “Young, Wild and Free” starts 1 second later at 36:28.
3. The title comes up 3 seconds later at 36:31.
4. Wiz is clearly seen on stage at 36:46.
5. The song lasts for 2 minutes and 46 seconds.
6. Immediately after the song finishes, less than 1 second later, “See You Again” starts playing.

The most confusion came when Wiz Khalifa tweeted about Taeyeon wanting to be on a “different stage.” DJ Bonics added to the tweet by revealing that they were told Taeyeon would look too short next to Wiz Khalifa, by representatives from either MAMA or SM Entertainment.

DJ Bonics revealed to Koreaboo, “Why would they even tell us things like, ‘Oh, we want to put her on a different stage because she looks too short next to [Wiz Khalifa]’? This is what our tour manager was told by them.”

For clarification, Wiz Khalifa is 6’4”. Taeyeon is 5’2”.  The explanation behind these tweets seem to be that the cameras were not set up to clearly show the two on stage together. This claim is further backed by MAMA’s Red Carpet 360 Camera. Celebrities walking the red carpet were able to stand in an object that would take a 360-degree video and photo-shot of them.

Unfortunately, Wiz Khalifa was far too tall for this and his head was completely cut off from the shots. The video is embedded below as it was tweeted by KCON.TV, also owned by the 2016 MAMA organizers, CJ E&M.

While fans were making DJ Bonics aware that the K-Pop industry does not work the same as the US industry, DJ Bonics clarified that he continued to tweet about Taeyeon making her own decisions because it was simply not understandable how a world star could not put her foot down and demand that she perform.

In their eyes, any artist as great and as popular as Taeyeon would have simply told them she would be doing this stage no matter what.

Once again, this is a misunderstanding that Koreaboo has clarified with Wiz Khalifa’s team, explaining the nuances of the K-Pop industry and how unlikely it would be for Taeyeon to have full control over this stage.

The following tweets further show Wiz Khalifa and his team’s frustrations with the communication and rehearsal schedule. Wiz Khalifa and his team flew in on the same day as the first rehearsals and were frustrated that they were cut short and complaints were only made the following day.

DJ Bonics revealed that they were only made aware that Taeyeon would not be performing with Wiz Khalifa minutes before his performance. This was after they had decided on singing over the track as the best option after rehearsals.

“We were sleeping up until 10 minutes before Wiz went on stage due to the rehearsal night before and jetlag. Our management was dealing with it while we were sleeping. Before we were sleeping, everything was okay and the stage was going on as planned. That’s how it was brought to us.” — DJ Bonics

Koreaboo also learned that Wiz Khalifa had already made great concessions and was working with the 2016 MAMA team on whatever they wanted, being very open with the changes to his schedule and even to the songs.

“You think Wiz wanted to change the lyrics to ‘Young, Wild, and Free’ You think Wiz wanted to do that? Hell no. We did it. We did it for them.” — DJ Bonics

DJ Bonics kept in line with his tweets during our conversation, emphasizing the positives. 

He revealed, “We are upset for the fans. We want the fans to see something like this. The fact that someone, whoever it may be, took that away. Now that we understand Taeyeon must not have had a direct hand in cancelling this performance, we’re also upset for her. She must be extremely upset that she was not able to perform with Wiz Khalifa on this stage. We should have all won that night.”

Statements by Taeyeon, SM Entertainment, and the 2016 MAMA (CJ E&M)

Taeyeon’s only statements regarding this story have been made through her Instagram Story. In her first message, she directs it towards fans who were curious about the reasons why she did not perform with Wiz Khalifa.

From her message, it seems clear she had no part whatsoever in the decision to cancel the performance. It also seems clear that she was not made aware of all the reasons that were told to Wiz Khalifa’s team. Below is her first message, directly translated into English:

“I see a lot of people being very curious about the performance yesterday so I’ll explain (I would be curious too). I was getting ready for the rehearsal and saying hi to Wiz Khalifa. I was excited for the performance and getting ready. Then I heard that there was a problem with the music. Due to this reason I was unable to even go through mic checks with him properly and unable to join him on stage.

For a live performance, you need an MR version of the song but they only had the AR ready. I was a bit taken aback since I was supposed to do a live performance, but I wanted to be on stage with him because the important thing was that we had a chance to collaborate…and honestly a chance like this doesn’t come often ^^. So I thought maybe if I sang louder than the AR vocal than I would be able to mask it ㅋㅋㅋ. The producers wanted to do their best and make the best performance possible. So we decided to go ahead with the AR. But then a few hours before the show I heard the news that my part had been cancelled. I guess performing overseas makes a lot of things unpredictable. Even during rehearsals the day before I heard that there was something wrong with the sound system, so I ended up returning to the hotel after waiting without even rehearsing.

I guess a lot of problems coincided. I was so saddened and disappointed that I had to return without being able to perform such a stage. I hope no misunderstandings happen because of this issue. I know there were people excited to see the performance after hearing about it. I promise you that I will return with a better stage next time. I am so grateful for everyone that supported me until the end yesterday.”

Her next response, as seen in the Instagram Story mentioned previously, comes off more annoyed, with a sarcastic usage of the word “friend”. The best equivalent phrase in English would be to use the word “buddy” sarcastically.

From this message, it seems clear that Taeyeon was taken back by the rumors she was in the hospital and she had uploaded videos to Snapchat the same night of her at the hotel. It’s understandable that she is upset, hearing perhaps for the first time about her being in the hospital.

Alleged Post By 2016 MAMA Contractor Quickly Spreads On Twitter

Fans have been tweeting and sharing a post that accuses Wiz Khalifa’s team of having equipment failure. The post is allegedly from a 2016 MAMA Contractor in Hong Kong.

Koreaboo looked into the origins of this statement to validate the authenticity of it. Here’s what we found.

  1. The post was originally created on a website called, TheQoo.
  2. The post has now been deleted. You can view an archived copy of it below (screenshot by Koreaboo).
  3. There is no proof that this was made by a staff member or anyone associated with the 2016 MAMA.
  4. The last known archive of the post has only 1 comment and less than 55 views on the article.
  5. The person who originally shared and tweeted this article captured and saw the article at the same time of the archive (21:44).
  6. The post was shared by a Twitter user.
  7. The post was then shared by a Twitter user who translated it into English.
  8. There is no other evidence to substantiate the authenticity of these posts.
  9. The website it was posted on appears to be very inactive, with most top posts receiving very little views or comments on them.

The original Twitter User:

The translation that spread across Twitter:

Here is the archive of the original post, through Google Cache for you to explore and read in its original format.

케이돌토크 – 태연과 위즈칼리파 콜라보 건 할말 정말 많아.

이미 식은 문제지만 익명인 이곳에라도 이야기 한번 하고 갈게. 태연이 이미 이야기해서 맥락은 같긴 하지만 아직도 위즈쪽 dj가 올린 영상에 mr이 있던데 왜 태연은 없었다고 거짓말 하냐는 병신소리가 돌아다니길래… 아직 오해하는 더쿠친구들이 있을까봐 적어~ 음슴체는 이해해줘. 태연 전날 리허설 새벽한시까지 기다리다 위즈쪽 장비 세팅 문제로 리허설 못하고 돌아감.

Koreaboo asked for clarification on the above post that has quickly become the most shared image and explanation for what happened at the rehearsal. Here’s the response:

“Wiz never left rehesarsals. He was there the whole time. We rehearsed even after Taeyeon had left at 1am. There were no technical problems with our equipment or setting up equipment.

We did have problems with our ear packs that were provided by MAMA. There was a bad buzz in it and we had to fix them.

There were no problems with any of the files. MR and AR are just files that you can even play on iTunes. It has nothing to do with our equipment.

Taeyeon left and no one from her team stayed behind either. Wiz and I rehearsed without Taeyeon after 1am. Wiz never left. He was either on stage, beside the stage or in his changing room the entire time.

When we rehearsed the next day, that’s when we were told it was the wrong file. I asked to rehearse again with the correct file, which would take minutes to download. They said there was no time and that she would just perform as rehearsed, over the AR.

When Taeyeon left around 1am, they told us it was because she had to go to the hospital. Maybe they meant the hotel. It feels like they told us it was the hospital so that we couldn’t say anything. We can’t be critical if she went to the hospital.” — DJ Bonics

Koreaboo asked for clarifications on a few points that we knew fans would want answers to. The most important question from those who were not necessarily Taeyeon’s fans, but K-Pop fans in general was: “Did Taeyeon lie?”

In her message, she revealed that she was waiting for Wiz. However, the claims above clearly refute that Wiz left rehearsals. Here’s the response we received from DJ Bonics:

The misunderstanding might have come from Wiz going to his changing room after every rehearsal. It’s just normal for the artist to head back to their room after going on stage and doing their thing. They don’t stick around and talk to everyone. Wiz performs, he rehearses, and heads back to his room. He comes back out, rehearses again, sticks around on stage or around the stage to make adjustments and then goes back to his room.

He never completely left during rehearsals. Not once.

From the response, it appears that Taeyeon might have also been given the wrong information. There could have been staff who told her that Wiz had left the building.

The question that now remains in the minds of fans is, “Who is responsible for cancelling the performance and why was Wiz Khalifa’s team told that she was in the hospital?”