Anyone who is active on social media has seen the name “BTS” before. Korean Pop, better known as K-Pop, has gained increasing popularity in the US. BTS, in particular, has enjoyed outstanding success with their recent tour in America selling out whole arenas in less than a couple of minutes. Just this weekend, BTS became the first K-Pop group to win a Billboard Music award. With the help of their dedicated and global fan base, BTS won the Top Social Artist award, despite intense competition from the fandoms of Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Selena Gomez, and Ariana Grande. This win has become legendary in the K-Pop community and led the way for many new fans. Trends like #ThirdGuyOnTheLeft mirror the growing interest of the American public in BTS. As a BTS fan myself, I would like to help cultivate this interest through this small “crash course” in BTS.
BTS experienced humble beginnings, signing with a small company called BigHit Entertainment, in South Korea. They debuted in 2013 with the album 2 Cool 4 Skool that explored and criticized social problems facing Korean youth. Through their years since their debut, they have released multiple mini-albums, EPS, and their most popular album– You Never Walk Alone.
BTS has a very distinct music style, which plays a major reason to their popularity. They possess a great influence from modern R&B, Hip-Hop, Rap, and Pop. This mixing of genres along with themes about the troubles facing youth bring for a musical masterpiece for every song they produce. Their music videos are unconventional with their intricate storylines and impressive dancing.
The group is quite impressive in their dance skills. Like other K-Pop groups, every one of their hit songs has a distinct dance. BTS combines dance styles ranging from contemporary to underground hip hop. Their dances are often high paced and require one to be in top physical shape due to their complex movements.
Fire, one of their most popular songs has a very intense beat and rhymn.
The group itself consists of seven members. The leader is Rap Monster who plays a big role in producing and writing the music for their album. Besides being musically gifted, Rap Monster possesses a very high IQ and has reportedly taught himself English. The eldest is Jin who serves the role as vocalist and the group’s “visual”, or the face of the group. Suga is a rapper who put out a solo mixtape earlier this year. He also is heavily involved in producing. J-Hope is a rapper and main dancer whose vivacious personality shines through in both endeavors. Jimin is a main vocalist and dancer whose graceful dancing, in particular, has led him to many of his own solo stages. V is a vocalist who made his debut in acting earlier this year. The youngest is Jungkook, rapper, singer, and dancer. He is often called the “golden maknae” in reference to him being the youngest yet master of many skills.
K-Pop is very different and takes a while getting used to but BTS is a great group to start with. In the words of the BTS leader, “Music is a universal language”, and BTS has great music to incorporate into the worldwide conversation.