K-POP: Changing Today’s Music Culture


Presly Edwards, Writer

If you are on social media, you have seen the word “K-pop” somewhere. But what is it exactly?

K-pop is simply Korean pop music. Originating in South Korea, the genre has been around since the early 2000’s, but lately it has taken the entire world by storm. Just a few of the most popular groups include BTS (7 members), BLACKPINK (4 members), EXO (8 members), NCT (18 members), Twice (9 members), SHINee (4 members & 1 previous member), Red Velvet (5 members), and many many more rising stars.

Currently, BTS and BLACKPINK are soaring in the United States. With BTS having just performed their new record breaking hit, “Boy With Luv”, on the popular nighttime TV show Saturday Night Live, and BLACKPINK making their Coachella debut, people just can’t get enough.

Although these two groups are shining right now, they are certainly not the first to catch America’s eye. EXO, another popular group, has had four number one Billboard hits, and another thirteen top ten. A few other groups that have achieved the number one spot on the Billboard charts include SHINee, BIGBANG, Girls’ Generation, NCT 127, GOT7 and many more.

BLACKPINK is currently on tour, with all sold out shows. NCT 127 and MONSTA X will also start their sold-out tours this year, and BTS will begin a completely sold-out stadium tour next month. The group sold out Wembley Stadium in just under 90 minutes. Shining a light on their outstanding success, BTS has won two billboard awards for Top Social Artist and is nominated again this year along with groups GOT7 and EXO. BTS is nominated for best Duo/Group this year as well.

Following that, BTS attended and presented at the 2019 Grammy awards. Additionally, BTS was on the cover of TIME magazine last year, and recently landed a spot on the TIME 100: The Most Influential People of 2019. The achievements K-pop groups have had in America go on and on, but those are just a few recent historic moments.

Despite K-pop’s booming popularity in the United States, it’s not as mainstream as some might think. Numerous students did not know about or listen to the genre. Several, however, did.

When Zion Hurt (senior) was asked who his favorite group was, he responded with, “definitely BTS.” He says he likes the genre since he grew up with it because of his Asian ethnicity. He also finds it cool that it has become so big in the United States because a lot of people are not exposed to it yet and it’s nice for people to start noticing Asian culture.

Another fan of K-pop is Vinighya Whitt (senior). Vinighya says her favorite group is BLACKPINK. She says, “It’s different. It’s not like the music we usually listen to. It’s more of their culture, but it sounds nicer to me than what Americans typically listen to.” She believes it’s a good thing K-pop groups are getting more exposure in other countries because it allows people’s music preferences to branch out.

Mohammed Karim (sophomore) says his favorite group is BLACKPINK as well. “My liking for K-pop came a while back when my sister introduced me to it. It showed me things I want to do [in music],” he said. He also stated he’s “not surprised at all” with the huge amounts of success K-pop groups have had in America.

The success of K-pop idols will not slow down anytime soon. In fact, many American K-pop fans feel the genre is just getting started here.

Some are quick to judge, saying things like “Why listen to it if you can’t understand it?”

As a fan of K-pop, I believe music is a universal language. You don’t have to understand something to enjoy it. Many others agree. The music is much stronger than the barriers of language. It is always nice to try something different, to branch out. The good thing about the United States is that there is so much diversity.

K-pop wont change the world, but it has definitely changed the music industry in an outstanding way.