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K-Pop Korner: Where It All Began

Seo Taiji and Boys in the early 1990s. (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the US Copyright Code)

By Zoe Nix--Eagle Staff Writer

Italy has pizza, England has Big Ben, and Korea has K-Pop.

A genre of music directly from Korea, K-Pop has become more and more popular as the days pass. However, not as many people would be singing along to these famous groups if it wasn't for Seo Taiji and Boys.

“Most critics tend to agree that K-pop's origin story begins on April 11, 1992, when the trio Seo Taiji and Boys performed its soon-to-become hit "Nan Arayo (I Know)" on South Korea's Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation,” NPR writer Maria Sherman said in an article titled “Start Here: Your Guide to Getting into K-Pop”.

That performance would be something entirely brand new for Korea as they were used to ballad and patriotic songs. Hip Hop was unexpected.

The judges on MBC (Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation) were harsh on the performance, but fans began to arise all across the country.

“I don’t know many of the early, early groups, but I do know that without Seo Taiji and Boys, K-Pop wouldn’t be how we know it today,” Maria Linn, sophomore, said.

The group only lasted for four years, but they left people across the country yearning for more.

The boy band H.O.T was formed in 1996. (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the US Copyright Code)

“H.O.T is largely credited as the first idol group in K-Pop history,” Sherman said, meaning that they were the first group formed by a company.

SM Entertainment would debut many other influential groups such as S.E.S, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, and many other groups in the future.

Former Seo Taiji and Boys member Yang Hyunsuk would also form his own entertainment company called YG and would debut a five-member boy group called BigBang.

In the article, Sherman calls them “the break-dancing boy band slated to take over the West”.

This group would have their own movie in US theaters and would be a large break for the route toward world popularity.

“I like some of BigBang’s songs like 'Fantastic Baby' or 'Bang Bang Bang',” Linn said.

Also under YG would be the global superstar PSY, who would release Gangnam Style in 2012, one of YouTube's most viewed videos ever with close to four billion views.

This would be one of the ultimate stepping stones.

“I don’t really listen to K-Pop, but I do know Gangnam Style and I’m sure most everyone does,” Cameron Meredith, sophomore, said.

The final step into the states though, would belong to one world renowned group: BTS.

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