K-pop 101: #7 tough guys edition

by: Jeffrey posted: 4 years ago


This blog was transferred from the old wordpress website.

Dear readers and patients,


The guys in K-pop have the image of being quite feminine. With all that make-up that is used by a lot of them it’s not weird that they have this image. The whole flower boy image that became popular in Korea a few years ago doesn’t help either. So now it’s time to give the spotlight to the tough guys of K-pop.

Shinhwa – Sniper

Toughness status: Long-lasting

Shinhwa is the Korean word for myth or legend. The name fits them well, because they truly are legends. They are the longest-running boy group in the history of K-pop. Although with an average age of 35 they really shouldn’t be called a boy group anymore. The group debuted under SM entertainment on March 24 1998, but they moved to Good entertainment in July 2003 when their contract expired. In the following years Shinwha went on hiatus various times with the members doing various solo activities. After their mandatory military service they were the first K-pop group to own their own entertainment company, Shinhwa company. Things didn’t go as planned of course and a fight broke out about who owned the name Shinhwa. In May 2015 they won however and could use their own name.


TVXQ – Keep your head down

Toughness status: Charisma

DBSK, Tohoshinki and TVXQ. U-Know Yunho and Max Changmin are known under different names in different countries. However, the names all mean the same thing: Rising Gods of the East. The group has had lots of problems in the past, which you can read more about in K-pop 101 #5: dark edition. While the group had 5 members their fan club was one of the biggest in the world. In 2008 they even made it into the Guinness book of records as “the world’s largest fan club” with more than 800,000 members. These numbers have diminished somewhat in the last couple of years after the group became a duo, but it is still going strong. Keep your head down is the first song as a duo and shows why Billboard magazine called them “K-pop royalty”.


BTS – We are bulletproof pt2

Toughness status: Don’t give a f*ck

No, BTS doesn’t stand for Behind The Scenes. It stands for Bangtan Boys or in Korean Bangtan Sonyeondan. However, the literal translation of their name is “bulletproof boy scouts”. Which explains why they claim to be bulletproof in their second single. It’s not about real bullets though. It’s about blocking out the worlds bullets. BTS is known for writing music about society’s oppressions as well as other things that the youth may relate to. While they debuted only two years ago they already have a big following as can be seen by the view count on their music videos. Most of them reach at least 10 million views. Their latest video Dope even reached 1,000,000 views in less than 15 hours.


B.A.P. – Warrior

Toughness status: Powerful

B.A.P made their way into the K-pop scene during a time where pretty-boy male idol groups dominated the K-pop world. Before their official debut single, Warrior, they starred in their own reality show “Ta-dah, It’s B.A.P”. The show played into a concept that was somewhat similar to the group EXO that debuted around the same time. Both groups are supposedly aliens coming from another planet. B.A.P concept was a little bit cooler though, in my opinion. The six-member group play the role of aliens, who worked together to debut as B.A.P and invade Earth to help save their dying planet: Planet Mato. TS Entertainment, the label behind B.A.P, has created a very rich backstory for the group with colourful mascots called Matoki’s that feature in their own comic. But as usual there is trouble in K-pop land as B.A.P filed a lawsuit against their label in November of 2014. They wanted to nullify their contract due to unfair conditions and profit distribution. Luckily both parties reached a settlement in August of 2015.


LC9 – Mama beat

Toughness status: Not human

League of Competition #9, or LC9 for short are a group from the same label as the popular girl group Brown Eyed Girls. I can’t help but see quite a bit of similarities between B.A.P’s music video and LC9’s debut. “Mama beat” does feature a lot of heavier imagery though. This may be the reason why LC9 have not been commercially successful until now. Most music videos that are 19+ rated are not played on the South Korea’s big TV networks. The group currently consists of 5 five members. One member left the group and moved back to Canada to focus on his studies. While still in the group one member, Rasa, is currently fulfilling his mandatory military service, leaving the group with only four active members. After two unsuccessful singles and two covers I highly doubt LC9 will ever become as popular as the other groups on this list.


After all these flashy K-pop videos I have shown you, it’s time to show you a list of entirely different music videos in the next K-pop 101 with K-pop 101 #8: artsy edition.


Yours sincerely,


Dr. Hallyu

K-pop 101: #6 cute girls edition K-pop 101: #8 artsy edition

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