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-con started in 2012 and keeps 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 in 2019
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. 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.
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.
SuperM is a K-pop supergroup formed in 2019 in a partnership between SM Entertainment and Capitol Music Group (CMG). Capitol Music Group chairman Steve Barnett asked Lee Soo-man to produce the band. The “M” in SuperM stands for both Matrix and Master, with each member already an established star in their own bands. At the start of the project, SuperM included seven members: Taemin from Shinee, Baekhyun and Kai from EXO, Taeyong and Mark from NCT127, Ten and Lucas from WayV. In October 4, 2019, SuperM debuted with their EP SuperM, achieving the no. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart, with over a hundred thousand album sales by October 10. The group made its TV debut on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on October 9, 2019.
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 last 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.
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. GOT7 has won several awards in 2019 for its music, including a JOOX Thailand Music Award and a Golden Disc Award. Their album Present: You and EP Spinning Top both debuted at no. 1 in the Gaon Music Charts.
6. Stray Kids
Stray Kids is a South Korean boy group formed by JYP Entertainment through the 2017 reality show of the same name. It is composed of nine members: Bang Chan, Woojin, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N. The group released their pre-debut extended play (EP) in January 2018. Gaon Chart Music Awards awarded Stray Kids New Artist of the Year in 2019. They are also the recipient of three Seoul Music Awards, a Soribada Best K-Music Awards, an Asian Model Awards, and a The Fact Music Awards; all in 2019. The group’s fourth EP, Clé 1: MIROH, peaked at no. 1 in the Gaon Album Charts.
NCT is a South Korean boy group formed by S.M. Entertainment. Their name stands for the Hallyu localization project Neo Culture Technology, a term coined by S.M. founder Lee Soo-man to describe the group’s concept of having an unlimited number of members in multiple sub-units based in various cities worldwide. The group’s first unit, NCT U, made their debut on 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 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.
Despite the group’s name, Seventeen 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 was formed by Pledis Entertainment in 2015. Seventeen has received two Gaon Chart Music Awards, a Golden Disc Award, two Japan Gold Disc Awards, and a V Live Award all in 2019. They have also had 12 music show wins. Seventeen’s 2019 albums and EPs have peaked at no. 1 on both national and international music charts.
9. MONSTA X
MONSTA X is a K-pop boy group formed in 2015 by the Mnet survival show No.Mercy. The group is employed by Starship Entertainment and is composed of seven members: Shownu, Wonho, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Jooheon, and I.M. The group debuted on May 14, 2015, with their first EP Trespass. In March 2017, MONSTA X released their first studio album and final part of “The Clan” series, The Clan Pt. 2.5: The Final Chapter. In May 2017, the group signed with Mercury Records and debuted with the single Hero in Japan. In April 2018, MONSTA X’s Japanese single Spotlight received an official gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. In 2019, the group was nominated for several awards, winning some of them including two Soribada Best K-Music Awards, a Seoul Music Award, and a Golden Disc Award. Take.2 We Are Here, the group’s third album was one of The 10 Most Anticipated K-pop Albums of 2019. It debuted at no. 1 on the Gaon Album Chart selling over 100,000 copies eleven days after release.
TXT, short for Tomorrow X Together, is a five-member K-pop boy group formed by Big Hit Entertainment. The group consists of members Yeonjun, Soobin, Beomgyu, Hueningkai, and Taehyun. Following a series of promotional teasers released in January 2019, they debuted on March 4, 2019, with the EP The Dream Chapter. The album reached no. 1 on iTunes Canada Albums, US World Albums, and Gaon Album Chart. Even though they debuted in 2019, they have received 10 award nominations, winning 5 of those awards, including a Genie Music Award and a BreakTudo Award.