It’s been a K-Pop invasion over the past week as South Korean group BTS released their new album. They’ve performed at major award shows and they’ve broken records set by the likes of Taylor Swift. Reporter Jonathan Hunt takes a look at this growing genre.
RM, BTS leader and rapper (in “IDOL” music video): “You can call me artist (artist). You can call me idol (idol).”
K-Pop, short for Korean Pop music, entered the American music consciousness with Psy’s 2012 hit “Gangnam Style.”
Psy (in “Gangnam Style” music video): “Oppa Gangnam style.”
Jeff Benjamin, Billboard K-Pop columnist: “Psy definitely opened up so many people’s eyes to the fact that Korean music could be fun and enjoyable, and just something that you could dance to, whether or not you spoke Korean or not.”
Fast forward a few years, the boy band BTS beat out superstars Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande, earning Billboard’s 2017 and 2018 Top Social Artist Award.
Jimin, BTS vocalist and dancer (in “IDOL” music video): “You can’t stop me loving myself!”
Jeff Benjamin: “Anyone through social media can see these artists, can see their day-to-day, see them in the car, see them rehearsing for whatever performance they might have, and those are the things that make K-Pop feel intimate, feel special, feel connected to someone.”
The genre is a mix of east and west cultures, coupled with slick choreography.
Jeff Benjamin: “It incorporates all these different elements of pop and dance and hip-hop and many different styles, and many different types of music into one song.”
Minhyuk, Monsta X vocalist (in “Livin’ It Up’ music video): “Wake up, wake up tamerawanaide.”
Monsta X is the next K-Pop group hoping to hit it big, and they are putting a lot of work into that effort.
Jeff Benjamin: “Monsta X write and produce their own music. You really do feel like you get a sense of who Monsta X is in their music. That really kind of aggressive, fun, hard-hitting, K-Pop hip-hop hybrid in that way.”
The group has landed on three major Billboard charts and during their current world tour performed seven sold out shows here in the U.S.
I.M, Monsta X rapper: “It’s our dream, and we’re like dreaming right now. It’s such an honor.”
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