K-Pop, the unique blend of pop and electronica that hails from South Korea, has been around for decades. But over the past 12 months, some of K-pop’s biggest names – 2NE1, Psy, Wonder Girls, Girls’ Generation and IU — have set their sights on the U.S. and helped the genre amass what is slowly becoming a cult-like following in the States. Here’s a look at 20 key moments that have helped K-Pop achieve a massive growth spurt over the past year.
K-Pop Dominates In Japan
Many groups struck gold in Japan. Girls’ Generation and T-ara both earned No. 1s on the Japan Hot 100 with singles “Paparazzi” and “Bo Peep Bo Beep” respectively. TVXQ made history with a record-breaking 100,000 fans attending their series of fanclub meetings. Other exciting moves came from top groups like KARA (with double single “Speed Up” and “Girl’s Power”), Wonder Girls (a Japanese version of “Nobody”), and After School (with “Lady Luck” and “Dilly Dally” that were both placed in Japanese commercials). 2NE1, 2PM, Girls’ Generation, and After School all won awards at the MTV Video Music Awards Japan while T-ara and TVXQ also got Top Pop Artists nods at the Billboard Japan Music Awards in March.
Western Superstars Jump On The Korean Wave
Some of the Western World’s biggest names in the industry collaborated with some of K-pop’s biggest names this year. Girls’ Generation saw EDM genius Steve Aoki remix their hit single “Mr. Taxi” and hitmakers The Cataracs and Dev created a half-English, half-Japanese dubstep version of “Bad Girl.” Snoop Dogg also lent several bars for a remix of “The Boys” which appeared on their Interscope-backed album of the same name. The Wonder Girls have a new English single “Like Money” that features Akon. 2NE1 found fans in will.i.am who confirmed he is featuring the group on his new solo disc as well as in The Wanted member Jay McGuinness who called them talented (amongst other adjectives) on Twitter. Nelly Furtado showed herself to be a K-pop fan revealing that she had hoped to feature BIGBANG member T.O.P. on her single “Big Hoops (Bigger The Better).” Far East Movement released a remix of their Justin Bieber-assisted single “Live My Life” with veteran hip-hop acts Tiger JK and Yoon Mi Rae.
2NE1 Rock Live Animals On Comeback Stage
2NE1 is known for their fearless attitudes when it comes to performing confident singles like “I Am The Best” and “Can’t Nobody.” Yet when they released their 2012 comeback track “I Love You,” fans wondered what other surprises would be in store. Per usual, the girls did not disappoint with their comeback sage on entertainment show “Inkigayo” including live animals. Leader CL kicked things off with a fierce rap section in English with a parrot perched on her shoulder, and when the foursome performed their new track, the stage included a pond with swans. Following the performance, their agency did offer an apology to the animal lovers made uncomfortable by the theatrics, but did ensure everything was set after consulting with animal experts. Regardless of controversy, the comeback was one to remember.
What was your Most Memorable 2NE1 moment so far in 2012?