THE ORIGINS OF KPOP

The genre emerged with one of the earliest K-pop groups, Seo Taiji and Boys, forming in 1992. Their experimentation with different styles of music “reshaped Korea’s music scene”. As a result, the integration of foreign musical elements has now become common practice with K-pop artists.

1990s: Development of modern K-pop

In the 1990s, Korean pop musicians incorporated American popular music styles like rap, rock and techno in their music.In 1992 the emergence of Seo Taiji & Boys marked a revolutionary moment in the history of K-pop. The trio debuted on MBC’s talent show with their song “Nan Arayo”  and got the lowest rating from the jury;however, the song and album of the same name became so successful that it paved the way for other songs of the same format. The song’s success was attributed to its new jack swing-inspired beats and memorable chorus, as well as innovative lyrics which dealt with the problems of Korean society. Their footsteps were followed by a wave of successful hip hop and R&B artists like Yoo Seung-jun, Jinusean, Deux, 1TYM and Drunken Tiger.

In 1995, South Korean record producer Lee Soo-man founded the entertainment company, S.M. Entertainment. Former Seo Taiji & Boys Yang Hyun-suk’s member formed YG entertainment in 1996, as did South Korean K-pop singer Park Jin-young established JYP Entertainment in 1997.

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