K-pop has evolved into Korean popular music, with its massive popularity bringing forth the creation of more K-pop boy groups in recent years than ever before. In South Korea, it’s known as Idol music and considered teen music although it has a lot of older fans as well. The Korean entertainment industry has been producing K-pop since Seo Taiji & the Boys proved Western-style pop (heavily influenced by hip-hop & Motown) could make money.
After Winter Sonata (a K-Drama) made it big in Japan, starting the Hallyu Wave in Asia, K-pop companies started promoting internationally (mainly Asia). About 10 years ago a few groups started coming to America and the West in general. Later, K-pop started in 2012 and has kept growing year after year. Several boy groups have emerged over the years, and here are 10 of the best groups you should listen to.
10 Best K-pop Boy Groups You Should Listen To
- Also known as /Alias: The Bangtan Boys, Bangtan Sonyeondan, Beyond the Scene Bulletproof Boy Scouts.
- Members: RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook.
- Years Active: 2013-present
- Official website: bts.ibighit.com
- Music Label: Big Hit, Pony Canyon, Def Jam Japa, Columbia.
BTS is a well-known K-pop boy group with seven members who debuted in 2013 under Big Hit Entertainment. BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys and Beyond the Scene, has put the world under the K-pop spell. The group is known for its award-winning chemistry, amazing choreography, and meaningful songs which are mostly about youth. BTS blends dance-oriented K-pop with hip-hop influences; they compose, produce, and write lyrics for performances themselves. Map of the Soul: Persona, BTS’s 2019 EP, topped the charts in both national and international charts, including the UK, US, and Japan. Sales for the EP reached 3.22 million just 19 days after it was released, breaking their previous sales record of 2.19 million with their 2018 work, Love Yourself: Answer.
With over 20 million copies sold, the boys’ group is the best-selling artist in South Korean history. The group is also known to be the first Asian and non-English speaking act to sell out Wembley Stadium, in London.
- Dark & Wild (2014)
- Youth (2016)
- Face Yourself (2018)
- Map of the Soul: 7 (2020)
- Be (2020).
- 33 Mnet Asian Music Awards
- 20 Golden Disc Awards
- 13 Goan Chart Music Awards
- 6 MTV Video Music Awards
- 6 American Music Awards
- 5 Billboard Music Awards
- Also known as /Alias: GOT7
- Members: JB, Mark, Jackson, Jinyoung, Youngjae, BamBam, and Yugyeom
- Years Active: 2014-present
- Music Label: JYP Sony Japan
- Official website: got7.jype.com
GOT7 is a groove dance K-pop boy group based in South Korea. Formed by JYP Entertainment, GOT7 has seven members: leader JB, Mark, Jr., Jackson, Youngjae, Bambam, and Yugyeom. The group is multinational with members hailing from Korea, America, Hong Kong, and Thailand. The group made their official debut on January 16, 2014, through Mnet’s M! Countdown, performing their debut single Girls Girls Girls. Their debut EP, Got It? was released four days later.
- Identity (2014)
- Moriagatteyo (2016)
- Flight Log: Turbulence (2016)
- Present: You (2018)
- Breath of Love: Last Piece (2020.
- JOOX Thailand Music Awards
- Golden Disc Award
3. Stray Kids
- Also known as /Alias: SKZ
- Members: Bang Chan, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N.
- Years Active: 2017-present
- Music Label: JYP
- Official website: straykids.jype.com
Stray Kids is a South Korean boy group formed by JYP Entertainment through the 2017 reality show of the same name. It is was initially composed of nine members: Bang Chan, Woojin, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N. In October 2019, Woojin left the group. The group released their pre-debut extended play (EP) in January 2018. The group’s fourth EP, Clé 1: MIROH, peaked at no. 1 in the Gaon Album Charts.
- Go Live (2020)
- I Am Not (2018).
- New Artist of the Year (2019 Gaon Chart Music Awards)
- 3 Seoul Music Awards
- Asian Model Award
- Soribada Best K-Music Award
- Also known as /Alias: EXO
- Members: Xiumin, Suho, Lay, Baekhyun, Chen, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai and Sehun.
- Years Active: 2012- present
- Music Label: SM, Avex.
- Official website: exo.smtown.com
EXO was formed by S.M. Entertainment in 2011. The band made its debut in 2012 with twelve members. They were separated into two subgroups, EXO-M and EXO-K, performing music in different languages (Mandarin and Korean respectively). The K-pop boy group was considered the “most influential celebrity” by Forbes Korea Power Celebrity in both 2014 and 2015. Currently, EXO consists of nine members: Xiumin, Baekhyun, Suho, Lay, Chen, Chanyeol, Sehun, D.O., and Kai. EXO has proven over the years to be one of the top groups in the K-pop scene, with several of their albums hitting the no. 1 spot in both Korean and international charts. Their album, Countdown in 2018, was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. Don’t Mess Up My Tempo, the group’s fifth album was awarded Album of the Year by the Gaon Chart Music Awards.
- XOXO (2013)
- EXODUS (2015)
- Ex’Act (2016)
- The War (2017)
- Countdown (2018)
- Obsession (2019)
- Countdown (2018) Certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of Japan
- Don’t Mess Up The Tempo, Album of the Year by the Gaon Chart Music Awards.
- Six Mnet Asian Music Awards
- Also known as /Alias: Tomorrow by Together, Tomorrow X Together
- Members: Yeonjun, Soobin, Beomgyu, Taehyun, HueningKai
- Years Active: 2019-present
- Music Label: Big Hit, Republic
- Official website: ibighit.com/txt
TXT, short for Tomorrow X Together, is a five-member K-pop boy group formed by Big Hit Entertainment. Their debut which happened on March 4 2019 was welcomed by a series of promotional teasers released in January 2019. Afterward, came their famous EP The Dream Chapter.
The Korean group consists of members Yeonjun, Soobin, Beomgyu, Hueningkai, and Taehyun. The album reached no. 1 on iTunes Canada Albums, US World Albums, and Gaon Album Chart.
Even though they are relatively new to the music scene, having debuted in 2019, they have received 10 award nominations, winning 5 of those awards, including a Genie Music Award and a BreakTudo Award.
Likewise, the group has also bagged several endorsement deals including being the brand ambassadors for the Korean skincare brand, “Its Skin”. They are also the exclusive models for Korean student uniform brand, SKOOLOOKS’ 2020 collections.
- The Dreamer Chapter: Magic (2019)
- Still Dreaming (2020).
- Genie Music Award
- A BreakTudo Award
- Asia Artist Award
- 2 Golden Disc Awards
- KBS Music Award
6. Super Junior
- Also known as /Alias: SJ, SuJu
- Members: Leeteuk, Heechul, Han Geng, Yesung, Kangin, Shindong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon, Ryeowook, Kibum and Kyuhyun.
- Years Active: 2005-present
- Music Label: SM, Label SJ, Avex Trax, Media Asia, UMG, ICM.
- Official website: Superjuinor.com
Debuted on November 6, 2005, Super Junior was invented by producer Lee Soo-man of SM Entertainment.
The group whose members are mainly Korean artists comprises a total of thirteen members at its peak although it was originally debuted with twelve members. For their musical impact, they are dubbed by the media and Korean Music Awards as the “King of Hallyu Wave” due to their prominent contributions to Korean Wave. This is because the group is one of the oldest k-pop groups. Regardless, it only gained recognition following the release of their best-selling single “Sorry, Sorry” in 2009.
- Twins (2005)
- Don’t Don (2007)
- Sorry, Sorry (2009)
- Bonamana (2010)
- Mamacita (2014)
- Time Slip (2019).
- SBS Popular Songs Mutizen Song (2006)
- MKMF Award
- Asia’s Artist of the Year
- MTV Asia Awards
- 20 Golden Disc Awards
- 13 Mnet Asian Music Awards
- Also known as /Alias: SEVENTEEN, SVT
- Members: S.Coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Woozi, DK, Mingyu, The8, Seungkwan, Vernon, and Dino.
- Years Active: 2015-present
- Music Label: Pledis
- Official website: www.pledis.co.kr/html/artist/seventeen
Despite the group’s name, Seventeen, it consists of only thirteen members: S.Coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Jun, DK, Mingyu, The8, Seungkwan, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Woozi, Vernon, and Dino. However, the K-pop boy group did consist of 16 members at one point. The group is divided into three teams, each with a different area of specialization: vocal, hip-hop, and performance. The group which was formed by Pledis Entertainment in 2015 has witnessed global success, on many successful tours and international recognitions to their name. Its 2019 albums and EPs, as a matter of fact, peaked at no. 1 on both national and international music charts.
- Main article: Love & Letter (2016)
- Teen, Age (2017)
- An Ode (2019).
- Seventeen has Rece Gaon Chart Music Awards,
- Golden Disc Award
- Japan Gold Disc Awards
- V Live Award all in 2019
- Also known as /Alias:
- Members: Haechan, Mark, Kun, Winwin, Lucas, Jeno, Jisung, Yuta, Jungwoo, Johnny, Doyoung, Ten, Jaehyun, Taeyong, Jaemin, Renjun, Chenle, and Taeil.
- Years Active: 2016-present
- Music Label: SM, Avex Tarex
- Official website: nct.smtown.com
Established by S.M. Entertainment, NCT operates in different subunits which is the idea of the founder, S.M. founder Lee Soo-man.
On this note, its name which stands for the Hallyu localization project Neo Culture Technology was created to describe the group’s concept of having an unrestricted number of members in multiple sub-units based in various cities worldwide.
The group’s first unit, NCT U, made its debut in April 2016 with the digital singles The 7th Sense and Without You. The second unit, NCT 127, based in Seoul, made its debut in July 2016 with the mini-album NCT #127.
The third unit, NCT Dream, made its debut in August 2016 with the digital single Chewing Gum. NCT 127’s EP We Are Superhuman peaked at no. 1 in the Gaon Album Chart, US Independent Albums, and US World Albums. NCT Dream’s We Boom peaked at no. 1 in the Gaon Album Chart. NCT has also received nine awards so far in 2019 in addition to their no. 1 EPs among other accomplishments.
- NCT 2018 Empathy (2018)
- NCT 2020 Resonance Pt. 1 (2020)
- NCT 2020 Resonance Pt. 2 (2020).
- 2 APAN Music Awards
- 5 Asia Artist Awards
- 4 Goan Chart Music Awards
- 6 Golden Disc Awards
- Also known as /Alias: SHINee
- Members: Onew, Key, Minho, Taemin
- Years Active: 2008-present
- Music Label: SM, Virgin, EMI.
- Official website: shinee.smtown.com
SHINee is one of the oldest K-pop groups in South Korea. The South Korean boy band was formed by SM Entertainment in 2008. It first gained attention for starting a fashion trend amongst students, which the media dubbed the “Shinee Trend”. Today the group has an influence not only in the world of music, and fashion but also on dance. Over the years, their musical talents have earned them numerous accolades and the title “Princes of K-pop”.
- The Shinee World (2008)
- Lucifer (2010)
- The Misconceptions of Us (2013)
- Boys Meet U (2013)
- I’m Your Boy (2014)
- D×D×D (2016), Five (2017).
- Cyworld Digital Music Award
- Asia Song Festival
- Golden Disc Award
- Japan Gold Disc Award
- Korea Culture Entertainment Award
- Also known as /Alias: ATEEZ
- Members: Hongjoong, Seonghwa, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Mingi, Wooyoung, Jongho
- Years Active: 2018-present
- Music Label: KQ Entertainment, Legacy, RCA, Nippon Columbia.
- Official website: http://kqent.com/producer/1594
ATEEZ, previously known as KQ Fellaz, is a K-pop boy group under KQ Entertainment. It is composed of eight members: Hongjoong, Seonghwa, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Mingi, Wooyoung, and Jongho. They debuted on October 24, 2018, with Treasure EP.1: All to Zero. On November 2nd, the group performed their song, Pirate King, on KBS2’s Music Bank. This was after KQ Entertainment discovered a letter from the group’s future leader Kim Hongjoog who expressed his respect for the company and readiness to be a trainee with them. As more trainees joined, they came together to for what is today known as ATEEZ. On January 15, 2019, they released their new EP, Treasure EP.2: Zero to One, alongside the music video for the title track, Say My Name. Their third EP, Treasure EP.3: One To All, released in June 2019, achieved the no. 1 spot on iTunes in 9 countries including Malaysia, Russia, Greece, and Singapore. The music videos for lead singles Illusion and Wave achieved 1 million views within 24 hours.
- Treasure EP. Fin: All to Action (2019)
- Treasure EP.3: One To All (2019)
- Treasure EP: Map to Answer (2020).
- Best Korean Act (MTV Europe Music Awards) 2019
- Gaon Chart Music Award
- Golden Disc Award
Here is a list of the most popular K-pop boy group in the world right now baased on their popularity and success.
Other Kpop Groups Worthy Of Note
- Girls’ Generation
- Fly To The Sky
- Miss A
- Super Junior
- NCT 127
- Wanna One
- Monsta X.