K Music Artists Push the Boundaries

K-pop is thriving on an international stage, from folk protest anthems to dance floor bangers. But k music artists also push the boundaries of the genre with their experimental sounds.

Epik High blends hip-hop, pop, and EDM. Their achingly emotional single “Traffic Lights” pulls you through the peaks and valleys of love, loss, and depression.

Epik High

One of Korea’s most influential hip-hop groups, Epik High rose out of the rap underground at the turn of the 21st century with sample-heavy production and dense bilingual rhymes. The trio—frontman Tablo (Daniel Armand Lee), emcee Mithra Jin, and DJ Tukutz—amassed a devoted following over the course of a decade before breaking into the mainstream with 2007’s chart-topping LP, Remapping the Human Soul.

Their music is a testament to how hard it can be to survive in the rap game, as well as the many challenges of love. Their song “Free Love” is a scream for a man who is trying to navigate the perplexities of life, and reminds us that it’s not always easy or rosy—but it could be worse.

The lyrical masterpiece “Umbrella” speaks to anyone who’s ever experienced loss or the heartbreaking feeling of seeing someone you love disappear from your life. It’s no wonder that BTS and Seventeen regard Epik High as one of their greatest influences.

Lee Mujin

K-Pop is a popular music genre that has taken the world by storm. This unique style of music features catchy beats and impressive choreography. Whether you’re looking for an upbeat dance track or a slow and sensual R&B song, K-Pop has something for everyone.

Many K-Pop idols begin their careers in their teens, training for years to perfect their singing, dancing, and foreign language skills. Then, they are placed into an idol group to produce music and perform around the country. They often release a single every month or two, and their music videos are filled with colorful images and high-energy performances.

Some of the most popular groups include Girls’ Generation, YG Entertainment’s Psy, and TWICE. Each of these groups has a distinct image and sound that appeals to fans from all over the world.

VIXX

VIXX debuted in 2012 under Jellyfish Entertainment through the reality show MyDOL. The boy band consists of six members including Leo, Ken, Ravi, Hyuk, and Hongbin.

The group has become known for their innovative concepts that combine music, lyrics, and stage performances to tell a story. They often explore dark or controversial themes in their songs, making them a favorite among K-pop fans.

In 2016, the group began experimenting with different genres, releasing a song in Mandarin Chinese called Zelos. The single was a huge success, and marked the beginning of VIXX’s expansion into China and Taiwan.

In 2021, VIXX released a darker track called Voodoo Doll with a music video that was rated 19. The video has grotesque scenes and can be triggering for minors. Despite the darkness, the music video manages to keep a visual appeal with luscious colors and sharp outlines. Despite this, the concept remains dark and mysterious. This is a major change from the light-hearted concepts in their previous releases.

(G)I-DLE

Miyeon, Minnie, Soyeon, Yuqi, and Shuhua are South Korean girl group (G)I-DLE. They debuted on April 5, 2018, through Cube Entertainment. They made their first music show win on Mnet’s M Countdown with the song “LATATA.” In 2020, they became the first female K-pop band to participate in Twitch Stream Aid, a twelve-hour livestream concert aimed at raising money for COVID-19 relief.

In 2021, the group released their second EP ALL OUT. Their single “Hwaa” was a huge success, climbing to number eighty-nine on the Korea Digital Chart and topping China’s QQ Music Korean Song Chart.

They also performed the song on the League of Legends World Championship with American singers Madison Beer and Jaira Burns under a virtual girl group called K/DA. This was their first collaboration with a foreign artist. During this time, Soojin took a leave of absence from the group. The other members continued as a five-member group and received rookie awards from Korean year-end music award shows.

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