K-pop is an abbreviation for Korean popular music, specifically from South Korea. There are many artists and groups, such as BoA, Rain, TVXQ, Se7en, Lee Hyori, Shinhwa,, Wonder Girls, Girls Generation,Super Junior , Big Bang and SS501 that have branched out of Korea and have become popular in Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South East Asia. The popularity of K-pop is often considered a part of the rise of the Korean Wave, the recent surge of popularity of contemporary Korean culture in Asia. The recent surge of popularity of Kpop in Asia has led to many Kpop artists attempting to break into the U.S. market, although so far none have broken into mainstream American pop music.


The emergence of the group Seo Taiji and Boys in 1992 marked a turning point in Korean popular music, as the group incorporated elements of American popular musical genres such as rap, rock, and techno into its music. The tremendous success of Seo Taiji and Boys in Korea and other experimental groups, such as Panic, set the trend for the present generation of K-pop groups and artists. Following Seo Taiji and Boys, dance-oriented acts became dominant in the Korean popular music scene of the early 90s including the legendary hip hop duo Deux (듀스). By the mid-90s, teen idol groups that are now often considered "legendary groups" due to their strong popularity during their era, such as Baby V.O.X., Click-B, Fin.K.L., g.o.d, H.O.T., Shinhwa, Sechs Kies, S.E.S., Solid(솔리드), and R.ef were very popular, having strong fanbases and high-selling albums (with some groups having a "million seller", an album selling over one million copies). Starting with the break-up of Sechs Kies, however, most of these groups have since disbanded; it is often stated that at this stage Korean music became slightly better than noise. Although some artists have continued their successes in the following decade, new groups (most notably TVXQ and Big Bang have since taken their places.

Currently, in the 2000s, pop groups are still very popular although there has been an emergence of Korean R&B and Hip-Hop. Artists such as MC Mong, 1TYM, Rain, Big Bang and Epik High have proven successful. Underground artists such as Drunken Tiger, Tasha (Yoon Mi Rae), and Dynamic Duo have also helped Hip-Hop become mainstream. Recently, rock music has become noticed by the public, with acts such as the Yoon Do Hyun Band and Seo Taiji gaining national recognition. In addition, there are also popular techno/dance artists such as Lee Jung Hyun and Kim Hyun Jung, who both have had very long careers while remaining firmly entrenched in their genre of music. Just as well, ballads and R&B have remained popular, as singers such as Baek Ji Young and KCM, in addition to SG Wannabe, have continued their success for many years.

There are also many artists who have had international success as well. BoA has become the highest-selling international artist from Korea, due to her strength in the J-pop market; this was in part due to Lee Soo Man's adaptation of the Blue Ocean Strategy. Since then, artists such as Rain and Se7en have also released albums outside of Korea, becoming well-known throughout Eastern Asia. Rain has also had his international RAINY DAY 2005 Tour, having tour dates at Madison Square Garden, the first Korean star to do so. He also plans to make a U.S. debut. Skull, a Korean reggae artist from YG Entertainment is also working on his U.S. debut and was even listed on the Billboard charts. Se7en who is also from YG Entertainment and Min from JYP Entertainment both hope to enter the English-language music market in 2008. They are not the first Asians to do so; Utada Hikaru and CoCo Lee have released English-language albums before. However, there has yet to be an Asian artist breaking the mainstream American music industry successfully.

Current style

K-pop is similar to English pop music, with R&B, dance, and hip-hop being very popular genres in the 2000s. However, unlike English pop music, which had most of its boy bands and girl groups either break up or informally disband, bubblegum pop is still very popular in South Korea. Groups such as Shinhwa, TVXQ, Big Bang and Super Junior continue to be top sellers in K-pop, and artists like Ahyoomee and LPG have released novelty songs, to varying degress of success. However, the 2000s has seen the rise of R&B vocal groups, with SG Wannabe and Big Mama having success with their first albums. In addition, trot music has made a comeback in mainstream K-pop as well, mostly due to the success of Jang Yoon Jung and Hyun Bin Park. Ballads are also very popular, as 2006 has seen the release of ballad singles by non-ballad artists, including Shinhwa and Baek Ji Young. The year 2007 was marked with the release of numerous girl and boy bands, though only a few managed to top the charts, most notably Big Bang for their song "Lie",Wonder Girls for "Tell Me" and Girls' Generation with their songs, "Into The New World", and "Kissing You". Despite new bands debuting, physical sales for CDs have become increasingly low, due to the stagnation of the K-pop industry. The highest selling album of 2007 did not even reach the 200,000 mark with only 190,998 copies sold.

The beginning of 2008 saw the rise of Electronica dominate the K-pop scene. Notable examples include Jewelry's "One More Time" and Brown Eyed Girls' "L.O.V.E. Even artists that release music in other genres have released electronica-influenced albums to suit the current trends, including Epik High, Gummy, Clazziquai, and Lee Seung Chul.

Famous Korean Pop artists

See also


External links

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