If you only recently heard the term “kpop”, you must be wondering what is kpop music? Is it South Korean music? Is it similar to pop music? Or a mixture of exotic genres?
We will answer all your questions below so that you become familiar with Kpop and all the intertwining terms popular in K culture in just 5 minutes.
So, what is Kpop?
Kpop is a shortened form of Korean popular music. It is mainstream Korean pop music that originated in the suburbs of South Korea in the early 1990s. Korean pop is usually stylized as: KPOP, K-pop, K Pop K pop, and Kpop. Think of it as the Britpop movement in the U.K in the early 1990s but only at a nascent scale with no worldwide appeal. Of course, Kpop is now a worldwide phenomenon.
However, it is believed that the history of kpop can be traced back to the 1950s with Western music notation and American pop culture music too having had an indirect influence on Kpop’s style and progression.
What is Kpop music?
Apart from the usual popular music, Kpop traverses many different musical genres as it could also include rock, hip hop, and electronic dance music. Kpop is synonymous with catchy beat-driven music, melodic vocals, mashed with rap, and well choreographed dance performances in music videos as well as live performances.
The very first Kpop groups to have made a public appearance in South Korea was on April 11, 1992, when the groups The Boys and Seo Taiji performed live on TV for the first time.
Subsequently, entertainment agencies such as SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, and YG Entertainment were established in 1995, 1997, and 1998, respectively to nurture musical talent and create idol groups for the younger South Korean audience.
The very first K-Pop idol group, which found somewhat commercial success, albeit within South Korea, was H.O.T.. They made their debut in 1996.
What are Kpop idols?
Kpop Idols are bands, groups and artists/band members formed by the various entertainment companies (such as JYP & SM Entertainment). Idols could be termed as the Korean culture equivalent of rock stars, pop stars, hip hop stars, you get the gist.
Kpop Idols could be both young males and females. Usually, kpop groups are formed by a group of talented teenagers under the tutelage of entertainment agencies. Each member or idol has a distinct talent and role defined within the group: singing, rapping, and dancing, beatboxing, etc.
Why is Kpop so popular and is it related to the Hallyu Wave?
Popularly known as the Korean Wave in the 21st century, Hallyu Wave is an umbrella term that refers to the rising popularity of South Korean culture globally, especially in performing arts (movies, K-drama), fashion, lifestyle and cosmetics, after the advent of Kpop’s commercial success in the early 1990s.
The Hallyu Wave first gripped younger audiences in East Asia, however nowadays it is a global phenomenon with increasing popularity in Western countries.
The impact of Kpop and Hallyu in general can be seen in current youth cultures, music, film and television industries as well as behavioral habits of the younger generation (both millennials and Gen Z.) across many parts of the globe.
What are some of the most famous Kpop groups?
There are many popular Kpop boy and girl groups. Amongst boy groups, the most famous ones include the mighty BTS (Bangtan Boys), EXO, Stray Kids, Big Bang and many more.
Among girl groups, BLACKPINK, Twice and Girls Generation are some of the most recognizable and commercially successful groups to have emerged out of South Korea on the global scene.
Just started listening to Kpop you might want to check out these groups.
And…that’s a wrap! We hope you know what is kpop now? Subscribe to our newsletter for more Kpop updates.