Take a look at K-pop’s brightest stars.

With elements of hip-hop, electro-pop and rap, K-pop bands are taking over. With high concept videos and killer aesthetics, the wave of Korean acts are creating fresh, fun, catchy pop music that seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongues.

Modern-day Korean pop ‘idol’ culture began in 1996 with the boy band H.O.T. The subculture exploded throughout South Korea before a brief hiatus until the mid ’00s, when a new generation of K-pop idols burst onto the scene. With the development of social media, the K-pop phenomenon has reached a global audience, dominating the Asian market, K-pop now has huge followings in North America, South Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

We take a look at K-pop’s brightest stars.


Blackpink is the highest-charting female K-pop act on both Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200. They are also the first female K-pop group to have four number-one singles on Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart. At the time of its release, their single “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du” was the most-viewed Korean music video in 24 hours on YouTube, and in January 2019, it became the most viewed music video by a K-pop group on the website.

The girls are back with their new hit and best to date, “Kill this Love” which had over 50 millions views on YouTube in just three hours. The group are also making history by being the first K-pop girl group to perform at Coachella this April.

Girls’ Generation 

Founded in 2007, Girls’ Generation’s big break came in 2009 with the release of their single “Gee”, which was voted the most popular single of the 2000s in South Korea.

In 2010, the group signed with a major Japanese record label, and their 2011 album peaked at number one on the Japanese Albums Charts. The album became the first album by a non-Japanese girl group to be certified “Million” by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. The group’s third Korean studio album, “The Boys”, was released in October 2011 and became the best-selling album of 2011 in South Korea.

Red Velvet 

With hits like “Ice Cream Cake”, “Dumb Dumb”, “Russian Roulette”, “Rookie”, “Peek-a-Boo”, and “Bad Boy”, Red Velvet have been topping the Korean charts since 2014. The group is known for choreography and their fusion of sugar pop mixed with electro-R&B.


The group rose to fame with the release of their studio albums, To Anyone (2010) and follow up hit Crush (2014), both albums peaked at number one. They also scored nine number one hits with “Try to Follow Me”, “Go Away”, “Lonely”, “I Am the Best”, “Ugly”, “I Love You”, “Falling in Love”, “Missing You”, and “Come Back Home”.

At the peak of their career and prior to their split, 2NE1 was considered one of the most successful and popular girl groups in South Korea. Having sold 66.5 million records, Billboard magazine ranked 2NE1 as one of the best K-pop girl groups of the past decade while The New York Times named 2NE1’s performance at the Prudential Center in New Jersey as one of the “Best Concerts of 2012”.

Founding member CL went on to find success in America as a muse to Jeremy Scott, a solo U.S tour and worked with Diplo.


With a string of number one hits, great reviews from critics f(x) found moderate success in America. f(x) made the cable channel Fuse best albums of 2013 list. They were even the first K-pop band to perform at SXSW.

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