Photos: Z.TAO's Weibo (@HZT-ao), YouTube
Huang Zitao, also known by his current stage name Z.TAO (formerly Tao) released his first solo mini album today (Jul 23) after a dramatic departure from Korean boy group EXO.
His mini album, which consists of three songs, has been heavily scrutinised by EXO-L (EXO’s fans), who have discovered that some of his lyrics are indirectly criticising EXO and label S.M. Entertainment.
Title track ‘T.A.O’ opens with “I trust my determination; I trust my choice. I discovered my freedomat the moment I left; I know the reason why I’m walking out alone”. Other lyrics that netizens found issue with include a line that goes “The time that I’ve wasted; the life that can’t be brought back; the memories of the past – I don’t want to think about it any longer. One love? Where is it? I tried to find it but found nothing.”
Fans found the last line troubling due to EXO’s trademark greeting, “EXO; we are one!” with them questioning if he was referring to the group in his song.
Additionally, a Z.TAO fan group, Baidu Precious Tao Bar, that originates from popular Chinese forum Baidu has been actively promoting his material on Twitter and YouTube given that the entertainer has only been doing so on Weibo and other Chinese sites.
Netizens have discovered that his video teaser, that was re-uploaded to YouTube by the fan group, has been blocked on YouTube due to a copyright claim by S.M. Entertainment, sparking questions on whether there will be further legal action taken by either S.M. or Z.TAO against each other.
This is the first time S.M. has successfully blocked its artistes’ work – deemed by the label to be illegal activities outside of their exclusive contract – despite Luhan and Kris also being part of numerous music videos and other commercial clips uploaded on the popular streaming site.