28 Most Popular Male Kpop Groups

28 Most Popular Male Kpop Groups

The explosive global success of the mega boy band BTS has amplified appreciation for K-pop worldwide. However, many phenomenal male groups with distinctive talents predate and parallel BTS across the industry landscape. From veterans who paved the way to rapidly rising rookies, a vibrant scene awaits discovery beyond just one juggernaut act.

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This introduction will preview a survey of influential icons and burgeoning newcomers collectively showcasing K-Pop’s sonic diversity. Male groups covered below span decades and stylistic flavors – weaving common threads of visuals, complex choreography, and infectious melodies.

Whether your tastes gravitate toward trendsetting hip hop or sweeping orchestral ballads, the breadth of beloved boy bands in K-Pop guarantees each listener can uncover their perfect match.

Most Popular Male Kpop Groups

1. BTS

BTS

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  • Members: 7 active members: Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook.
  • Debut: June 13, 2013
  • Current status: On hiatus
  • Company: Big Hit Entertainment

BTS, the most successful K-pop group to date, has made an indelible mark on the international music scene. From humble beginnings at Big Hit Entertainment, they’ve risen to dominate global charts with hits like “Butter” and “Permission to Dance,” sung predominantly in English, which have captivated audiences worldwide.

Despite their origins in a small company, BTS emerged with a unique sound blending rap and hip-hop influences, reflecting the cultural landscape of Korea at the time. Led by RM, their main rapper, the group takes pride in their homegrown production, with members like Suga and J-Hope contributing significantly to the lyrical composition of their songs.

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What sets BTS apart is their musical prowess and the depth and meaning embedded within their lyrics. Their songs serve as a sanctuary, offering solace and introspection amidst societal pressures and expectations, particularly notable in a conservative culture like Korea. BTS has adeptly woven social criticism and personal reflection into their music, resonating deeply with audiences worldwide.

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As the band navigates a temporary hiatus due to Jin’s military service, anticipation mounts for their upcoming album to commemorate their 2023 anniversary. BTS’s journey exemplifies resilience, creativity, and a commitment to authenticity, ensuring its enduring legacy in the music industry.

2. SEVENTEEN

SEVENTEEN

  • Members: 13 active members: S.Coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, The8, Mingyu, Woozi, DK, Seungkwan, Vernon, Dino
  • Debut: May 26, 2015
  • Current Status: Active
  • Company: Pledis Entertainment

SEVENTEEN, a 13-member group under Pledis Entertainment, stands out as one of the industry’s rare “self-produced” groups, where members actively shape their artistic direction. This involvement spans choreography, lyrics, songwriting, live performances, and conceptualization for various shows.

SEVENTEEN was envisioned as a band capable of creating its music from its inception. Pledis Entertainment’s owner handpicked Woozi to collaborate closely with producer Bumzu, allowing the group to release music at their discretion and explore diverse genres and solo projects.

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The group operates with three official subunits, each with its own focus and specialization. The hip-hop unit, comprising S.Coups, Mingyu, Wonwoo, and Vernon, prioritizes self-composed tracks. The vocal unit, featuring Woozi, Jeonghan, Joshua, DK, and Seungkwan, delivers powerful ballads and romantic melodies. Lastly, the performance unit, consisting of Hoshi, Jun, The8, and Dino, showcases dynamic choreography and presentation.

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SEVENTEEN recently made a triumphant comeback with their sub-unit BSS, consisting of Seungkwan, DK, and Hoshi. Their track “Fighting!” has garnered widespread acclaim from Korean and international audiences, reflecting the group’s growing popularity.

SEVENTEEN has steadily climbed the ladder of success through their relentless work ethic and exceptional performances. Their latest releases and albums have shattered international sales records, solidifying their status as a powerhouse in the K-pop industry. SEVENTEEN’s ascent is a testament to their dedication, talent, and unwavering commitment to delivering top-notch music and performances.

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3. NCT

NCT

  • Members: 20
  • Debut: April 9, 2016
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: SM Entertainment

NCT epitomizes the concept of a “supergroup” in the K-pop industry, a vision conceived by SM Entertainment’s founder, Lee Soo-man, to create a limitless ensemble capable of transcending borders and cultures. Intending to foster cultural content and debut groups in various countries, NCT represents a groundbreaking approach to global music promotion.

The group comprises multiple subunits, each with its distinct characteristics and purposes. NCT U, the pioneering unit, boasts a flexible lineup, with members selected based on their suitability for specific songs. NCT 127, centered in Seoul, showcases a dynamic blend of talent from diverse backgrounds.

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NCT Dream highlights the youthful energy of its members, while WayV caters to the Chinese market, featuring Chinese members. Additionally, NCT Tokyo targets Japanese audiences, reflecting SM Entertainment’s strategic expansion efforts.

Many NCT members rose to prominence by participating in SM Rookies, a training program where aspiring artists hone their skills and showcase their potential. SM Rookies served as a platform for members to garner attention from fans and the media, paving the way for solo and collaborative endeavors.

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However, NCT’s journey has not been without challenges. Following a hiatus due to a scandal, Lucas, a member of WayV, faced consequences that led to his removal from both WayV and NCT projects. Despite this setback, Lucas is poised to embark on a solo career, demonstrating resilience and determination in adversity.

NCT’s evolution reflects the ever-changing landscape of the K-pop industry, characterized by innovation, diversity, and global outreach. As they continue pushing boundaries and captivating audiences worldwide, NCT remains at the forefront of the K-pop phenomenon, embodying the spirit of collaboration and cultural exchange.

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4. EXO

EXO

  • Members: 8 active members: Xiumin, Suho, Baekhyun, Chen, Chanyeol, DO, Kai, and Sehun. Lay is out of the company but doesn’t seem to have left EXO.
  • Debut: April 8, 2012
  • Current Status: Active
  • Company: SM Entertainment

EXO, founded by Lee Soo-man, is a cornerstone of SM Entertainment’s legacy in the K-pop industry. Initially conceptualized as a group with dual language proficiency in Korean and Mandarin, EXO-M once thrived as a sub-unit until the departure of three Chinese members led to its disbandment.

Internationally and within Korea, EXO has wielded significant influence, particularly during the peak of the Hallyu Wave in 2012, when their single “Growl” propelled them to unprecedented heights. Renowned for their vocal prowess, the group debuted with an R&B approach and later captivated audiences with powerful ballads delivered by lead vocalists DO, Chen, and Baekhyun.

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As EXO navigates the challenges of military service obligations and evolving dynamics within the group, they have diversified their activities through sub-units and solo endeavors. Despite initial criticisms regarding their involvement in songwriting, EXO members have actively contributed to crafting lyrics since 2015, showcasing their growth as artists.

Recent developments within the group, including Lay’s departure from SM Entertainment and Kai’s enlistment for military service, underscore the transitions occurring within EXO’s lineup. Additionally, the announcement by Chen, Xiumin, and Baekhyun regarding their intent to pursue legal action against SM Entertainment highlights underlying tensions regarding contract terms and compensation.

Amidst these complexities, SM Entertainment has assured fans that EXO’s activities will continue uninterrupted, with a comeback scheduled for the summer of 2023. While details surrounding the legal dispute remain unclear, EXO’s enduring commitment to their craft and the loyalty of their dedicated fanbase signal resilience in the face of challenges.

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5. BIGBANG

BIGBANG

  • Members: 3 active members: G-Dragon, Taeyang, Daesung
  • Debut: August 19, 2006
  • Current status: On hiatus
  • Company: YG Entertainment

BIGBANG often hailed as the quintessential kings of K-pop, emerged from YG Entertainment as a pioneering force that catalyzed the global recognition of the “Korean wave.” Comprising four members presently, BIGBANG’s impact on the music industry remains profound and enduring.

Initially conceived with a dual concept centered around prominent members Taeyang and G-Dragon, BIGBANG’s trajectory evolved with the inclusion of TOP, infusing the group with rap elements. Daesung and Seungri rounded out the lineup, contributing to the band’s dynamic and multifaceted appeal. Despite Seungri’s departure from the entertainment industry in 2019, BIGBANG’s legacy endures.

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In recent years, changes within YG Entertainment have led to members pursuing individual paths. Daesung and TOP departed the company, with Taeyang transitioning to The Black Label, a YG subsidiary. Despite these transitions, BIGBANG maintains that they remain intact as a group. However, TOP’s announcement of leaving Bana, a YG-affiliated platform, signals shifts within the group’s dynamics.

6. GOT7

GOT7

  • Members: 7 members: JB, Mark, Jinyoung, Jackson, Youngjae, BamBam, and Yugyeom
  • Debut: January 16, 2014
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: JYP Entertainment

GOT7 was a seven-member boy band under the JYP Entertainment company. They were one of the most successful boy bands on their record label, gaining recognition primarily for their live performances, including martial arts and urban dance elements.

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By the time of their debut, the band drew comparisons with a previous group, 2 PM, from the same company. This was because their performances also included martial arts tricks and b-boy dancing styles. After their debut, the Korean public dubbed them as the heirs of 2 PM, and they were warmly received. But his international success would come a little later.

In 2015, they released their single “Just Right,” a song that landed them at number 3 on the international Billboard charts. This was the success that would catapult them to world stardom. Thanks to Just Right’s lyrics about embracing imperfections, the group gained a young following inspired by the positive message.

Although the group managed to break through in the international market, the company that led them did not focus enough on them. After years of poor and scant promotions, they left the company in 2021. But they have reiterated that despite not being under the same company, GOT7 would not disband. They already had a comeback under their different companies, so GOT7 continues and will continue to be active.

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7. SHINee

SHINee

  • Members: 4 active members: Onew, Key, Minho, and Taemin
  • Debut: May 22, 2008
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: SM Entertainment

SHINee, revered as the prince of K-pop, has left an indelible mark on South Korea’s music landscape with its innovative style and unparalleled talent. Initially comprised of five members, the group faced a tragic loss with the passing of lead vocalist Jonghyun in December 2017, a loss deeply felt by fans and the industry alike.

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Renowned for their R&B-infused vocal performances, SHINee’s evolution has been marked by a dynamic shift in sound and style as they matured. Their ability to seamlessly adapt and innovate has made them exceptionally accessible to fans, contributing to their enduring popularity.

SHINee’s musical prowess extends beyond vocals, with complex choreography and a unique musical identity setting them apart from their peers. Their unparalleled harmonies and emotive performances underscore their status as one of K-pop’s premier vocal acts.

Individually, SHINee’s members have also made significant strides as soloists, with Taemin, the youngest member, notably carving out a successful solo career.

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8. Monsta X

  • Members: 6 active members: Shownu, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Joohoney, and IM
  • Debut: May 14, 2015
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: Starship Entertainment

Emerging from Korean reality competition No.Mercy in 2015, seven-piece boy band Monsta X immediately carved a signature brash, EDM-infused hip hop sound. Despite member Wonho’s sudden 2019 departure, their potent musical identity fused commanding rap verses with electronic dance beats and vocal range persevered.

What began loud and aggressive evolved to allow vulnerability too – powerful album ballads spotlighting their impressive singing. Initial underground renown grew into global collaborations the past three years as their technical skills and energy attracted international fandom.

9. Stray Kids

  • Members: 8 Active Members: Bangchan, Leeknow, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, IN
  • Debut: March 25, 2018
  • Current Status: Active
  • Company: JYP Entertainment

Stray Kids emerged from a survival program of the same name, immediately capturing attention with their debut track “Hellevator,” even before officially debuting. They are prominent figures in the fourth generation of K-pop, known for their dynamic sound and bold experimentation.

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With a heavy EDM influence, Stray Kids’ music often features instrumental choruses and focuses on rap and hip-hop elements. Their evolving sound and image, characterized by versatility and innovation, captivate audiences while also polarizing some due to its at times aggressive nature.

The trio of Bang Chan, Changbin, and Han, known as 3Racha, serves as the group’s official subunit and is responsible for much of the songwriting. Their involvement in lyrics, composition, and even musical arrangements underscores their artistic prowess and contribution to Stray Kids’ identity.

Despite their relatively short time in the industry, Stray Kids has established themselves as a formidable presence in K-pop, earning significant international acclaim and recognition. Their rapid rise and unwavering creativity position them as an unstoppable force shaping the future of the genre.

10. Super Junior

  • Members: 9 Active members: Leeteuk, Kim Hee-chul, Yesung, Shindong, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon, Ryeowook, Kihyun
  • Debut: November 6, 2005
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: SM Entertainment

Iconic second generation K-pop boy band Super Junior made history promoting overseas early, especially adding Chinese members to court both countries’ markets. Their far-reaching influence persists through evolving eras.

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Debuting in 2005 under producer Lee Soo-man’s vision, Super Junior sampled visual kei sounds popular in Japan then. But 2009’s smash “Sorry Sorry” crashed electropop into the Korean mainstream and became career-defining. Members also thrived as television personalities during immense album success.

Over a pioneering trajectory, Super Junior resisted pigeonholing into any one genre as they explored pop, rock, R&B, Latin and hip hop styles. This sonic risk-taking solidified global fandom. Juniors still honor their legacy frequently through cover versions.

11. TOMORROW, X TOGETHER

  • Members: 5 active members: Yeonjun, Soobin, Beomgyu, Taehyun, Huening Kai
  • Debut: March 4, 2019
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: Big Hit Entertainment

As only Big Hit Entertainment’s second boy band after BTS, TXT (Tomorrow X Together) quickly made moves after a record-setting 2019 debut single “Crown.” Their early flower boy concept soon gave way to more hard-hitting introspective tracks as the group found its voice.

Similar to BTS’s narrative-driven discography, TXT’s recent singles have connected into an overarching story hinting at artistic ambition beyond their years. Members Huening Kai and Beomgyu even actively study music production with their seniors in mind, ensuring creative growth perseveres.

Though still early in their lifespan, TXT displays the star power that’s made Big Hit priority name in the industry. If their self-penned story indicates anything, it’s that this promising quintet have only begun spinning musical magic with a style all their own.

12. ATEEZ

  • Members: 8 active members: Seonghwa, Hoongjoong, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Mingi, Wooyoung, Jongho
  • Debut: October 24, 2018
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: KQ Produce

Ateez, a prominent group from the fourth generation of K-pop, is hailed as a rookie ensemble with immense potential. Under KQ Produce, which hadn’t debuted any boy group since Block B, Ateez’s inception stemmed from a mixtape sent by one member who admired Block B.

Formed initially as KQ Fellaz, the group underwent a transformative journey showcased through dedicated shows, ultimately leading to the official debut of Ateez. Collaborating with artist EDEN, Ateez has crafted a distinctive sound characterized by aggression and power, occasionally infused with tropical elements evoking a summer vibe.

While it remains unclear if they will delve into self-producing their lyrics and songs in the future, Ateez’s trajectory reflects a promising ascent within the K-pop landscape. With their dynamic sound and relentless ambition, Ateez emerges as a formidable force poised to leave an indelible mark on the industry.

13. WINNER

  • Members: 4 active members: Mino, Yoon, Jinu, Hoon
  • Debut: August 15, 2014
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: YG Entertainment

Winner’s genesis traces back to YG Entertainment’s survival show, “WIN: WHO IS NEXT?”—a platform that also laid the groundwork for BIGBANG and later, iKON. Despite YG’s traditional inclination towards rap and hip-hop, Winner defied expectations with a debut power ballad, a departure from the label’s usual sound.

This bold move paid off, as Winner quickly garnered popularity. However, the departure of one original member prompted the group to undergo a transformative phase, both in image and sound. Embracing a tropical concept with the single “Really,” Winner, with the help of member-produced tracks and expert production, catapulted to international fame.

“Really” resonated with Western audiences, propelled by its catchy choreography and accessible sound. Winner’s ability to adapt and evolve, coupled with their innate talent, solidified their status as a formidable presence in the K-pop landscape, ensuring their enduring legacy in the industry.

14. iKON

  • Members: 6 active members: Jay, Song, Bobby, DK, Ju-ne, Chan
  • Debut: September 15, 2015
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: 143 Entertainment

iKON’s journey began with members participating in YG Entertainment’s “WIN: WHO IS NEXT?” trainee survival show. Following this, the company launched “Mix & Match,” a program aimed at completing the group’s lineup, resulting in the formation of a seven-member ensemble.

Initially, iKON’s sound leaned heavily on hip-hop and rap, consistent with YG’s brand, but it was “Love Scenario” that propelled them to unparalleled fame. The song’s widespread popularity even led to its ban from preschools due to its infectious nature.

BI, the group’s primary songwriter, faced controversy and subsequently left the group. However, iKON’s music continued to evolve positively, shedding aggressive traits for a more accessible sound.

In 2023, iKON departed from YG Entertainment, signing with 143 Entertainment. They are gearing up for a world tour, spanning Europe, Latin America, and North America, showcasing their global appeal and commitment to reaching diverse audiences.

15. PENTAGON

  • Members: 9 active members: Hongseok, Shinwon, Yeo One, Yanan, Yuto, Kino, Wooseok, Jinho, HUI
  • Debut: October 10, 2016
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: CUBE Entertainment

Pentagon rose to prominence through the Pentagon Maker program, a reality show by CUBE Entertainment aimed at introducing new members to the group. Despite early eliminations, Pentagon solidified as a ten-member ensemble, showcasing diverse talents in composition and lyricism.

Notably, main rappers Wooseok and Yuto contribute to writing their rap lines, while Hui and E’Dawn spearheaded composition duties. Hui continued as the group’s music manager even after E’Dawn’s departure from both the lineup and the company.

In 2018, Pentagon achieved international acclaim with the breakout single “Shine,” characterized by its simple yet catchy melody and choreography inspired by American fashion. The song’s viral success propelled the group to new heights.

As Hui completes his military service, Pentagon is gearing up for a triumphant comeback, marking a return to nine active members. With renewed vigor and talent, Pentagon’s resurgence promises to captivate audiences once again, cementing their status as a dynamic force in the K-pop landscape.

16. Day6

  • Members: 4 active members: SungJin, Young K, Wonpil, Dowoon
  • Debut: September 7, 2015
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: JYP Entertainment

Day6 stands out as one of the rare rock bands in the realm of K-pop, distinguished by the active involvement of all its members in the composition and writing process. Originally a six-member ensemble, the band experienced a lineup change due to personal reasons.

Born from the same program as GOT7, Day6 emerged from WIN: Who’s Next? with a unique acoustic band concept envisioned by their managing company. Eschewing mainstream promotions, the group opted for live street performances, or busking, to showcase their musical talents.

The ambitious “Every Day6” project served as a platform for Day6 to expand their discography, with a goal of adding 25 songs. Their sound, characterized by its versatility, constantly evolves, encompassing heavy rock tracks, poignant ballads, and uplifting anthems, reflecting the diverse musical influences within the band.

Day6’s commitment to musical experimentation and authenticity has earned them a dedicated fanbase, solidifying their status as trailblazers in the K-pop rock genre. With their dynamic sound and heartfelt lyrics, Day6 continues to captivate audiences worldwide, leaving an indelible mark on the Korean music industry.

17. TVXQ

  • Members: 2 active members: Changmin, Yunho
  • Debut: December 26, 2003
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: SM Entertainment

TVXQ, also known as DBSK, stands as an iconic and influential boy group in the history of K-pop. Despite initial success and widespread acclaim, their journey also shed light on the darker aspects of the industry.

Originally a five-member ensemble, TVXQ enjoyed unprecedented popularity in Korea and Japan, with hits like “Mirotic” solidifying their status as kings of their generation. However, behind the scenes, the group faced challenges, including excessively long contracts and unfair working conditions.

In a landmark legal battle, three members—Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu—challenged SM Entertainment over these issues, sparking discussions about the industry’s “slave contracts.” Eventually, an agreement was reached, and the contracts of the three members were terminated.

Despite the turmoil, TVXQ’s legacy remains undeniable, with their impact still reverberating throughout Korea and Japan. They are revered as one of the most successful K-pop groups in Japan and continue to hold a significant place in K-pop royalty, leaving an indelible mark on the genre’s history and evolution.

18. ONEUS

  • Members: 6 active members: Ravn, Seoho, Leedo, Keonhee, Hwanwoong, Xion
  • Debut: January 9, 2019
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: RBW

RBW, the music company renowned for the success of Mamamoo, ventured into debuting a six-member boy group in 2019, initially known as RBW Boyz before rebranding as ONEUS. Drawing from experiences in survival shows like Mix Nine and Produce 101, the group garnered moderate recognition.

Their explosive debut with “Valkyrie” captured media attention, positioning ONEUS as an intriguing act for new K-pop enthusiasts. The group’s dynamic sound has drawn comparisons to a male counterpart of Blackpink, featuring a powerful vocal line complemented by a strong rap section.

Notably, ONEUS has collaborated with their labelmate ONEWE, an alternative rock band, showcasing RBW’s diverse musical portfolio and the group’s versatility in exploring different genres and styles. With their unique blend of talent and charisma, ONEUS continues to carve out their place in the ever-evolving landscape of K-pop.

19. TREASURE

  • Members: 12 active members: Hyunsuk, Jihoon, Yoshi, Junkyu, Mashihho, Jae Hyuk, Asahi, Yedam, Doyoung, Haruto, Jeongwoo, Junghwan
  • Debut: 07 August 2020
  • Current Status: Active Company: YG Entertainment

TREASURE emerged as a dominant force in 2020, marking the year with their highly successful debut that earned them numerous accolades and acclaim as rookies of the year. Their debut project featured three singles integrated into their first album, comprising a total of 10 songs.

Following the trend of many fourth-generation male groups, TREASURE’s music heavily emphasizes electronic elements and dynamic choruses driven by melody rather than vocal lines. This formula has contributed to their rapid rise and popularity within the industry.

Expanding their reach beyond Korea, TREASURE is actively pursuing the Japanese market, evident in their theme song contribution to the Black Clover anime. Additionally, they released a Japanese album featuring their original songs from the debut album, now in Japanese. Their latest single, “Hello,” continues to showcase their evolving sound and commitment to captivating audiences both domestically and internationally.

20. ASTRO

  • Members: 4 active members: MJ, JinJin, Cha Eun Woo, Sanha
  • Debut: February 23, 2016
  • Current status: On hiatus
  • Company: Fantagio Entertainment

Talented six-piece ASTRO garnered early buzz from 2015 reality show “To Be An ASTRO”, yet widespread fame still frustratingly eludes them. Appealing member Eunwoo found separate acting success, the group toured continents, and they crossed into self-produced music – but a loyal supportive base hasn’t swelled as deserved.

Then sudden tragedy struck with beloved member Moonbin’s untimely 2023 passing during promotions, ravaging hearts as management weighs uncertain futures. It’s currently unclear whether they continue on.

Yet persevering against misfortune has defined them from promising debut onwards – perhaps ASTRO will overcome once more. Regardless of music industry politics, admiration persists for these six friends’ passionate artistry and resilience chasing dreams against adversity. Light awaits stars determined to shine.

21. The Boyz

  • Members: 11 Active members: Sangyeon, Jacob, Younghoon, Hyunjae, Juyeon, Kevin, New, Q, Juhak Nyeon, Sunwoo, Eric
  • Debut: December 6, 2017
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: IST Entertainment

The Boyz, originally named Cre.kerz, is a South Korean boy group formed by Cre.ker Entertainment. They debuted with the theme “I’m Your Boy” and initially consisted of 12 members. However, Hwall left the group in 2019 due to health reasons.

The Boyz indeed achieved considerable fame in Korea and won various awards, including Rookie of the Year. They also participated in the Kingdom program, a competition show that increased their popularity both domestically and internationally. The show featured performances from several K-pop groups, including Pentagon, and winners were determined based on various criteria.

In 2021, The Boyz signed with Sony Music Japan to promote in Japan, expanding their reach beyond South Korea. To commemorate their fourth anniversary, they released a single titled “Breaking Dawn.” Their most recent single, “Maverick,” was released in 2022.

22. Enhypen

  • Members: 7 active members: Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo, Jungwon, Ni-Ki
  • Debut: November 30, 2020
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: BELIFT LAB

Seeking to discover global K-Pop stars, agencies BELIFT and HYBE held reality competition I-LAND in 2020, debuting victors as seven-member boy band ENHYPEN months later.

Though initial single “Given-Taken” hinted at promise, 2021’s dynamic “Drunk-Dazed” brought international celebrity. Despite Korean censorship over depictions of vice, the track resonated hugely.

Now dominating even more with recent catchy hits “Blessed-Cursed” and especially viral “Polaroid Love,” ENHYPEN is realizing their preordained potential. From manufactured beginnings, they’ve organically blossomed into chart-topping sensations with bright futures remaining.

23. BTOB

  • Members: 6 active members: Eunkwang, Minhyuk, Changusb, Peniel, Hyunsik, Sungjae
  • Debut: March 21, 2012
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: Cube Entertainment

Arriving on the scene in 2012 with upbeat singles “Insane” and “Imagine,” seven-member vocal group BTOB later embraced emotional balladry to hallmark their sound. Creative member participation in songwriting further distinguishes them.

After the launch of subsidiary trio BTOB Blue in 2021 and departure of rapper Ilhoon, the remaining band still thrives – recently bolstered by a welcome comeback. In particular, vocalist/actor Sungjae continues rising in fame following evergreen K-drama fame.

With vocal prowess cementing BTOB’s relevance, the emotional resonances in their self-written contemporary ballads attract fans thirsty for evocative male harmony. A decade in, these Korean balladeers only amplify their musical draw.

24. Eric Nam

  • Debut Soloist: January 23, 2013
  • Current Status: Active
  • Company: Stone Music Entertainment

Eric Nam is a popular singer known for his heartfelt ballads and solo performances in Korea. You might have heard his songs playing on radio stations worldwide because he’s become a big name internationally too. He’s not just a singer; Eric is also a talented composer who’s been playing the piano and cello since he was a kid. Back in 2012, he was part of a group called Namaste.

One of the cool things about Eric is that he blends Korean and English seamlessly in his music. He grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, so he’s got that American vibe too. He’s collaborated with other artists like Wendy from Red Velvet, which is pretty awesome.

Besides making music, Eric is also known for his work as an MC and reporter. You might have seen him on the MBC Section TV show doing his thing.

25. SF9

  • Members: 9 active members: Youngbin, Inseong, Jaeyoon, Dawon, Rowoon, Zuho, Taeyang, Hwiyoung, Chani
  • Debut: October 5, 2016
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: FNC Entertainment

SF9’s path began in 2015, originally debuting as an 11-member Neoz Dance in Korea after competing on FNC’s talent program.

By 2016, reshuffled into the 9-piece boy band SF9 that stands now, their first single, “KO” kicked off steady growth fueled by infectious songs like the viral hit “Fanfare.” 2017 brought an EP reaching the Billboard charts, plus visits to the U.S. for tours, including KCON festivals.

Into 2023, SF9 recently reunited with member Rowoon from the military to drop the new EP “The Piece OF9,” as Jae Yoon currently serves. With early trials behind them, they continue maturing into K-pop success.

26. ONEWE

  • Members: 5 active members: Yong Hoon, Ha Rin, Kang Hyun, Dong Myeong, CyA
  • Debut: May 13, 2019
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: RBW

The talented boys of ONEWE took an unconventional path pre-debut. Originally performing as another band, they first gained attention on a 2017 competition show.

After members’ stints on big talent programs Produce 101 and The Unit, their current label signed them for a refreshing “We Will Debut” project. Hence, ONEWE was born – also holding a special “sister band” connection to ONEUS via twin brothers in both groups!

Now building their niche as a Korea rock band playing live instruments, ONEWE continues promoting the 2023 mini-album “Gravity” after some early career highlights. With moderate success so far, thanks to vocal and musical skills, their gradual rise warrants more attention as we advance!

27. F.T. Island

  • Members: 3 active members: Hong Gi, Jae Jin, and Min Hwan
  • Debut: June 07, 2007
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: FNC Entertainment

Initially debuting as five members, rock band FT Island introduced themselves on Korean TV in 2007 before releasing their first album, “Cheerful Sensibility.”

Now just a trio after some lineup shuffling, FT Island quickly gained attention for their live instrumentation and energetic concerts. Balancing music with acting, members Hongki and Jaejin also appeared in Korean dramas and variety shows.

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While racking up major awards like MMAs and Seoul Music Awards at home, FT Island also toured abroad extensively, gathering fans from Japan and the US with their vocals and musicianship. Known for their signature rock sound, they remain a versatile group that is still evolving after over a decade.

28. Ninety

  • Members: 5 active members: Bae Jinyoung, Kim Seunghun, BX, Yonghee, and Hyunsuk
  • Debut: July 23, 2019
  • Current status: Active
  • Company: C9 Entertainment

CIX made their debut in July 2019 with the release of their first mini-album, “Hello, Stranger,” marking the beginning of a successful career in the K-pop scene. With subsequent releases like “Numb,” “Movie Star,” and “Jungle,” their musical style blends elements of pop, R&B, and hip-hop, captivating audiences with its versatility.

Renowned for their vocal prowess and dynamic dance performances, CIX members have garnered acclaim and numerous awards on Korean music shows. Their talent has also taken them beyond South Korea, as they have toured in Asia and participated in various music festivals.

In addition to their music endeavors, CIX members have ventured into acting. Bae Jinyoung has graced Korean dramas such as “At Eighteen” and “I’m Not a Robot,” showcasing his versatility as an entertainer. Similarly, Kim Seunghun has made appearances on the show “The Unit,” demonstrating the group’s multifaceted talents across different entertainment platforms.

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