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33 Best K-Pop Groups Of All Time

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Idol culture has been a part of both Asian and American culture for decades; the music industry has responded to the demand for more pop music and idols by introducing a steady stream of Korean pop, or K-pop, stars.

As the popularity of K-pop continues to grow throughout the world, there will be plenty of songs and bands for years to come. Of course, with that many groups to choose from, it’s hard to pick a favorite! That’s why we created this list of the best K-pop groups of all time.

1. BTS 

BTS (방탄소년단) 'Butter' Official MV

There’s no talking about K-pop without talking about BTS. Formed in 2013, the band—originally named the Bangtan Boys—has been going strong ever since. They’ve got an impressive record that includes five consecutive number one hits, and the distinction of being the first Korean band ever to perform at the American Music Awards.

Next: The greatest K-Pop Boy Groups & Bands

2. BLACKPINK 

BLACKPINK - ‘Shut Down’ M/V

BLACKPINK is the top K-pop girl band in the world. It seems like we see this quartet everywhere—from performing at 2019’s Coachella to ads for Mac Cosmetics, and even a Netflix documentary.

They proudly hold the record as the highest-charting Korean girl group of all time and the first K-pop band to garner more than a billion views on YouTube. Their second album, 2021’s Born Pink, shot up to number one on the Billboard Top 200 chart, the first all-female band to debut there in over a decade.

Next: The greatest girl bands & groups of all time

3. EXO

EXO 엑소 'CALL ME BABY' MV

This K-pop group has truly taken mixing musical genres to the next level, incorporating everything from rock riffs to hip hop beats and R&B vocal stylings. Their music has become so well-known throughout the world that the group was invited to perform at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

EXO is known for performing and writing music in not just Korean, but also Mandarin and Japanese. Members are put into sub-groups, either EXO-M (for those singing in Mandarin) or EXO-K (for those singing in Korean).

Next: Best K-pop singers & vocalists to listen to

4. TWICE 

TWICE "Talk that Talk" M/V

Girl K-pop band, TWICE, is often referred to as the “sweethearts of K-pop” for good reason. The nine-member group is known for an energetic mix of musical styles and their sweet ‘bubblegum’ sense of fashion.

The band’s first taste of fame came when their single, “Cheer Up,” rose to number one on the Korean charts and won a Song of the Year Award from the Asian Music Awards. As of 2022, the band has released a full five studio albums in Korean and one Japanese album.

Next: Our ultimate list of the best K-pop songs ever

5. Red Velvet 

Red Velvet 레드벨벳 'Bad Boy' MV

SM Entertainment-managed Red Velvet released their debut single, “Happiness,” which garnered them fans who loved their catchy hooks and trendy sense of fashion.

The group cites their mix of musical genres as the inspiration for the name, saying that they experiment with both red music (hip hop, funk, and electronic) and velvet, which incorporates the smoother jazz and ballad genres. The band is known to have gone on hiatus several times but has also made comebacks.

Next: The top songs about happiness & feeling really happy

6. SuperM 

SuperM 슈퍼엠 ‘호랑이 (Tiger Inside)’ MV

SuperM is, indeed, a supergroup. This powerhouse K-pop ensemble’s seven members are all previous members of other fan-favorite Korean bands, including fellow list luminaries EXO, NCT127, and SHINee.

Although they are one of the newer members on the scene, they, no doubt, have a bright future ahead. SuperM holds the distinction of being the first Asian artists to earn the number one spot on the US Billboard Top 100 chart with a debut song. 

7. Drunken Tiger

Drunken Tiger - 편의점 Convenience Store (feat. Gemini)

Drunken Tiger was formed in 1999 and is widely regarded as the original Korean hip hop group and one of the top reasons for the explosion of mainstream hip hop in their home country.

Although their storied career has not been without controversy, the group continues to top the charts with their sometimes explicit rap songs. Members of the band have since gone on to work on several solo projects but continue to create music as Drunken Tiger.

Next: The top 90s boy bands (our in-depth list)

8. BIGBANG

BIGBANG - 뱅뱅뱅 (BANG BANG BANG) M/V

It was a Korean TV series, 2006’s BIGBANG documentary, that brought this R&B quintet to audiences. Despite a series of scandals that rocked the band in 2019 and resulted in the retirement of one of its members, it remains one of the world’s most popular boy bands.

Formed in 2006, the band has played less in the later part of the 2010s. Fans were thrilled to hear about a ‘comeback’ performance scheduled for 2020’s Coachella but, unfortunately, the festival was canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. At the rate the band’s popularity continues to grow, there is little doubt that they’ll be invited back for another festival soon!

9. NCT 127

NCT 127 엔시티 127 'Superhuman' MV

Ten members strong, NCT 127 (so named for the coordinates of their home city of Seoul) lays claim to one of the most devoted fan bases in the K-pop world. Many millions of Instagram followers are tuned in to their every move.

NCT 127 is a sub-unit of  SM Entertainment’s larger Korean boy band NCT and was awarded the title of Best New Group by a number of South Korean award shows in 2016.

Next: Best songs for Instagram stories

10. Seventeen 

SEVENTEEN (세븐틴) 'HOT' Official MV

Seventeen’s 13 members make them one of the largest K-pop bands around. Each of its members joins a specific “band team” or unit—either hip hop, vocal, or performance units—and performs only those songs or dances, although the entire band does appear on stage for various numbers.

In addition to its Korean songs, Seventeen has also released two Japanese singles. Their EP, 17 Carat, holds the record for being the US’s longest-charting K-pop album of 2015. 

11. MONSTA X

2022 MONSTA X NO LIMIT US TOUR IN LOS ANGELES HIGHLIGHT

The seven-member boy group, MONSTA X, has made a name for itself by performing English-language songs, including the top hit, “Who Do U Love?” After debuting in 2015, the group went on to release a studio album in 2017 and has since had four certified gold Japanese singles and eight certified gold Korean singles.

Several of the members of MONSTA X have expressed interest in acting, with four of the members slated to appear in 2022 K-dramas.

12. iKON

iKON - '죽겠다(KILLING ME)' M/V

Seven-member group iKON burst onto the K-pop scene in 2015 with their Korean chart-topping debut single, “My Type.” Like many other K-pop sensations, it was formed as a part of the reality television competition, WIN: Who Is Next.

Its members are known not just for their music but for their unique and trendy style; band members can often be seen sporting their signature uniform of hoodies, ripped-up jeans, and stylish sneakers. 

13. GOT7 

GOT7 "Just right(딱 좋아)" M/V

GOT7 is best known for their 2020 album, Dye, but true fans love them for their unmistakable chemistry. All of the members seem to have a great bond and can often be found cracking each other up in interviews and at appearances.

That chemistry also translates to their dance moves, which incorporate complicated choreography, street dance, and even acrobatics and martial arts. Although the band got its start in Korea, it has also released a full-length Japanese language album.

Next: Greatest boy bands in music history (our in-depth list)

14. Momoland 

[MV] MOMOLAND (모모랜드) _ BBoom BBoom (뿜뿜)

Momoland is yet another band formed through Korea’s reality TV machine. The group was brought together by MLD Entertainment’s survival-style reality series, Finding Momoland. Though the lineup has changed through the years, the band continues to put out hit songs known for their catchy pop hooks.

In addition to their musical talents, the members are also known for their extensive and ongoing charitable work and support for organizations such as the Korean Red Cross, the Black Lives Matter movement, along with many other causes. 

15. Wonder Girls

Wonder Girls "Tell me" M/V

Known as South Korea’s Retro Queens, the band Wonder Girls gained fame for performing retro-tinged songs that harken back to the 1960s to 1980s. That sound and their uniquely vintage ensembles made them stand out from other groups.

Despite breaking up in 2017, their ten-year-long catalog of music continues to inspire fans around the world, including the members of their fan club, Wonderfuls. Wonder Girls are best known for the hit song, “Tell Me,” which reached number one on several different South Korean music charts. 

16. ITZY

ITZY「Blah Blah Blah」Music Video

Formed in 2019, this K-pop girl group burst onto the scene by winning the Rookie (New Artist) of the Year award in a clean sweep of the big five Korean music award shows. Its five members range in age from 18 to 22 and are known for their unique styles, with each having a signature look of her own.

In 2019, the band took home Best New Female Artist awards from Melon Music Awards and MNet Asian Music Awards shows. 

17. SHINee 

SHINee 샤이니 'Don't Call Me' MV

The five-member boy band, SHINee—a play on the last letter of the Korean alphabet and the English word shine—are superstars in more ways than one. Fans tune into them for creative dance choreography and skilled vocals, and the fandom has even taken to referring to the SHINee members as the “princes of K-pop.”

18. Weeekly 

[MV] Weeekly(위클리) _ After School

South Korean group Weeekly is the second girl K-pop band from Play M Entertainment (the first being Apink). Three of the group members—Soojin, Soeun, and Jiyoon—were contestants in yet another Korean survival-style musical competition show, Mix Nine.

The group went through two name changes—from FAVE Girls to PlayM Girls—and a few personnel changes before arriving at their long-term lineup under the name Weeekly. 

19. Super Junior

SUPER JUNIOR 슈퍼주니어 'Mango' MV

Super Junior—or SJ to fans—flew to near-instant superstardom with the release of the 2009 single “Sorry.” The band has gone through several personal changes through the years, beginning with twelve members and finishing out 2021 with nine. The members of Super Junior are widely recognized for their contributions to the Korean wave or Hallyu. 

20. Miss A 

miss A "Bad Girl, Good Girl” M/V

While girl K-pop supergroup Miss A made music for only seven years, they left an indelible imprint on the music scene. The quartet’s first single, 2010’s “Bad Girl, Good Girl,” earned them the top spot on the Gaon Digital (music) Chart—the first ever act to have their debut song reach that position. All of the members of Miss A use stage names.

21. TXT

TXT (투모로우바이투게더) 'Good Boy Gone Bad' Official MV

Five-member boy band, TXT (short for Tomorrow X Together) first burst onto the scene in 2019, bringing an energetic mix of rock and hip hop to their fans. Their first EP, The Dream Chapter: Star, went to number one on the Billboard World Albums chart.

The band members have appeared in music reality shows and on television variety and documentary shows in Korea and Japan. They have been headliners on their own world tour, and have played numerous festivals and supporting shows.

22.  IVE 

IVE 아이브 'After LIKE' MV

The girl K-pop band IVE, featuring former members of the band Iz*One, debuted their first album, Eleven, in 2021. Their six members range in age from only 15 to 20 years old, though you wouldn’t know that from their incredible dance moves and strong vocals.

Two members were chosen after appearing as contestants on the television reality series, Produce 48, and performing with the since-disbanded K-pop group, Iz*One.

23. Girls’ Generation 

Girls' Generation 소녀시대 'FOREVER 1' MV

In 2017, Billboard Magazine dubbed the band Girls’ Generation  the “Top K-pop Girl Group of the Decade.” Their popularity expands far beyond Korea; in fact, the band released a Japanese album that became the first non-Japanese all-female group album to be certified million by the Recording Industry of Japan. Girls’ Generation continues to put out hit after hit, fueling their fans’ endless desire for upbeat electro-pop.  

24. Stray Kids

Stray Kids "神메뉴(God's Menu)" M/V

Nine-member boy band, Stray Kids, released their debut EP in 2018 after members were chosen via a survival-style competition show. With a massive social media presence spurred on by their television personalities, they have nowhere to go but up. Interestingly, unlike most other K-pop groups, the members of Stray Kids chose their own band name, rather than having one assigned to them by their managing company.

25. 2NE1

2NE1 - 내가 제일 잘 나가(I AM THE BEST) M/V

The four members of the South Korean girl band, 2NE1, have taken the K-pop world by storm with their first album, To Anyone. Their top singles, “Fire” and “Don’t Care,” featuring a unique mix of hip hop, rap, and R&B elements, have earned them a devoted fan base that continues to buy their music even when the band is on hiatus.

They are known for their energetic and smooth performances. In 2012, the New York Times named a New Jersey 2NE1 concert the second-best music concert of the year.

26. Aespa

aespa 에스파 'Black Mamba' MV

Aespa is one of SM Entertainment’s top K-pop girl groups. Their unique name is made up of a combination of the English words avatar, experience, and aspect; the group says that the name stands for “meeting another self and experiencing the new world.”

The hyper pop/EDM group was formed in 2017 and released its first single, “Black Mamba,” in November of the same year. The year 2022 proved to be very successful for the band, as it was chosen to play at Coachella and received multiple awards, including Artist of the Year at the Golden Disc Awards.

27. The Rose

The Rose (더로즈) – Childhood | Official Video

Four-member South Korean boy band, The Rose, began their careers busking on the streets and writing their own songs before being picked up by the management company, J&Star.

The Rose released its first single, “Sorry,” in 2017, the same year that Billboard Magazine named it one of the best Korean pop songs on its year-end list. Prior to landing with the entertainment company J&Star, The Rose had already gained a following as an indie group.

28.  Everglow

봉봉쇼콜라 Bon Bon Chocolat

The name of this South Korean girl band might be less familiar than others on this list, but you’re sure to hear more about them soon. Stone Music Entertainment brought the band together in 2019, following a social media and publicity blitz that included a fan cafe and a live YouTube announcement of the members’ names.

Their song “Bon Bon Chocolat” went all the way to number five on the Billboard World Digital Sales chart in September 2019.

29. Mamamoo 

[MV] MAMAMOO(마마무) _ Egotistic(너나 해)

Formed in 2014, the band released its first single, “Mr. Ambiguous,” after several collaborations with other K-pop stars and groups. Mamamoo has released several albums since, with their work even appearing on the soundtrack for a Korean drama titled Marriage, Not Dating.

While several members of the band worked on solo projects in 2021 and 2022, they have continued to get together as a group to work on music.

30. 2PM

2PM "Again & Again" M/V

JYP Management’s boy band, 2PM, began as a seven-member group but lost member Jaebeom in 2009 as the result of a social media scandal. 2PM is the hip hop offshoot of the larger 11-member band, One Day, which was formed for a documentary series titled Hot Blood Men.

2PM has won numerous awards, including Best New Artist and Best Album awards from Asian music associations such as the Global Chinese Music Awards and Golden Disc.

31. Wonder Girls 

Wonder Girls "NOBODY (Eng. Ver)" M/V

Wonder Girls is yet another star group from the JYP Management company. One of a pioneering wave of K-pop artists in the early 2000s, it was first introduced via a television series called MTV Wonder Girls.

Since their introduction to the world in 2007, when they released their first hit single, “Irony,” they have continued to chart all over the world. They are probably best known in the US for the song, “Nobody,” which reached number 76 on the US Billboard Top 100.

32. T-ara 

T-ara(티아라) _ Lovey-Dovey (좀비 ver.) MV

Although girl band T-ara (pronounced like ‘tiara’) was only active from 2009 to 2017, their music continues to captivate the fans who made their single, “Roly-Poly,” South Korea’s most downloaded song of 2011. Although the band announced that it was taking an “indefinite hiatus” in order for members to pursue solo projects, the members reunited in 2021 to release a new album, Re:T-ara.

33. ENHYPEN 

ENHYPEN (엔하이픈) 'Drunk-Dazed' Official MV

Boy band, Enhypen, is yet another K-pop group to emerge from the trenches of a television competition show. The seven band members were chosen via a survival-style competition titled I-Land. The group has breached the US Billboard 200 chart in addition to earning a respectable number nine album on the World Albums Chart. 

Once considered to be the strict domain of teenage girls, the K-pop fanbase has greatly expanded to include men, women, and children of all ages from around the world. Fans are attracted to not only the variety and quality of music but the care that is put into creating personas and stories within and between K-pop groups.

With a steady stream of new K-pop artists and albums, whatever your preferred genre, you are sure to find an artist that matches your taste.