It’s hard to imagine any new Kpop group surpassing the popularity of BTS and Blackpink, but in the past year, there have been some serious contenders for the top spot on the international charts! I am a massive fan of BTS (ARMY) and Blackpink (Blink), but since my love for Kpop runs even deeper and broader, here are some of the most exciting next-generation Kpop groups dominating the global charts right now!
1. NCT DREAM
2021 has been the year for NCT DREAM! The third sub-unit of the boy group NCT, NCT Dream, consisting of 7 members, Mark, Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle, and Jisung, has officially become a triple-million seller. Thanks to its two 2021 albums, “Hot Sauce” and “Hello Future,” NCT Dream has become the best-selling Kpop group of 2021.
Fun fact: NCT Dream is the youngest group in K-pop to achieve the triple-million seller status, with the eldest member, Mark, at 21 and the youngest member, Jisung, at 19.
Although relative rookies in the industry, Ateez has navigated the competitive world of Kpop like veterans. Its songs feature strong vocals, creative and powerful rap, and rigorous choreography. The group’s leader, Hongjoong, is a rare talent who composes and writes all the music for Ateez’s tracks. 2021 has been the biggest year yet for Ateez on the Billboard charts, and the group has placed five songs on the World Digital Song Sales ranking. My personal favorites, “Answer” and “Inception,” are must-listens — you will be hooked!
Fun fact: Four of the 8 members of ATTEZ star in the webtoon-based Kdrama, Imitation.
Tommorow x Together (TXT)
Tomorrow X Together, also known as TXT, released “The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE” in May of this year and it has been dominating the Billboard charts! TXT’s “Magic” is charted at No. 38 on Pop Airplay chart, which ranks songs based on total weekly plays on mainstream radio stations across the United States. Last month, TXT performed “Magic” on “The Late Late Show” and “Good Morning America,” and additionally performed “I Know I Love You” on “Good Morning America.” Their newest single is titled “LOSER LOVER.”
Fun fact: TXT is only the second idol group to be launched by the agency Big Hit Entertainment (now Hybe) which debuted BTS back in 2013.
Having been formed through the survival reality television show I-Land (which I watched religiously along with millions of others) ENHYPEN had already garnered a huge global fanbase before debuting in November 2020 with its EP Border: Day One. In a short time, ENHYPEN has made its mark on four Billboard charts with its new album “BORDER: CARNIVAL” and the title track “Drunk-Dazed.” Enhypen’s music is the epitome of excellence, but this new kpop group’s biggest strength is its incredible stage performances! Its new single “Drunk Dazed” demonstrates intense choreography worth a watch!
Fun fact: I-Land was a brilliant joint venture between Big Hit Entertainment and CJ ENM to create the next generation of Kpop.
As SM Entertainment’s first girl since 2014, Aespa received considerable attention, even before its debut. Shortly after the group debuted with “Black Mamba” in November 2020, the music video broke the record for the most-viewed Kpop debut music video in the first 24 hours. Since then, Aespa released “Forever” and its newest hit, “Next Level”. On February 10, 2021, Aespa was announced as the 2021 ambassador of Givenchy, becoming the first K-pop artists to be chosen for the role. Fun fact: Aespa’s interesting, if not odd, the concept has undeniably captivated Kpop fans –the group consists of 4 members (Karina, Winter, Giselle, and NingNing), each of whom has a virtual counterpart.
Fun fact: Aespa’s interesting, if not odd, the concept has undeniably captivated Kpop fans –the group consists of 4 members (Karina, Winter, Giselle, and NingNing), each of whom has a virtual counterpart.
JYP Entertainment’s first girl group, “ITZY,” also known as the “monster rookie,” is already breaking records! While its music focuses on being yourself and practicing self-love, ITZY’s choreography is considered to be the most challenging in the industry. Like the other groups on this list, ITZY’s songs have dominated the Billboard charts and this year, but notably, ITZY entered the Billboard 200 for the first time.
Fun Fact: In March 2021, Maybelline New York announced ITZY as its new global spokesmodel!
Ella Shin is an intern at Best of Korea and a student in New York City, who loves composing music and everything Hallyu.