Left to right: Yang Hyunsuk, Seo Taiji and Lee Juno (Image via Twitter)

Who was the first K-pop group? Meet Seo Taiji and Boys

Seo Taiji and Boys is considered the first K-pop group that mostly resembles the K-pop groups as we see them today.

They are largely credited and praised for being the origin point for K-pop groups to flourish and take shape.


Who is Seo Taiji and Boys? The K-pop group that changed it all

Seo Taiji and Boys consisted of Seo Taiji, the leader of the group, as well as Yang Hyunsuk and Lee Juno. At the time of their official debut in 1992, they were all in their 20s; Taiji was the youngest and Juno was the oldest.


They are credited with beginning the K-pop group industry and creating a path for others to embark on.

The general public found Seo Taiji and Boys' music greatly refreshing. At the time, it was unlike anything else they had seen before. They are famously known for establishing the presence of rap in K-pop music. Not afraid to mix and combine different genres, they inadvertently created their own hybrid style of music heavily based on rock and hip-hop.


The K-pop group debuted on a talent show in 1992 with their song 난 알아요 or "I Know", where the jury scored their performance extremely low. On the flip side, the public absolutely loved it. Their album "Seo Taiji and Boys" sold around 1.5 million copies within just a month of being released.

Seo Taiji prepared and organized everything for their performances: from writing the music himself, to looking after the performances and using his own back-up dancers instead of opting for the broadcasting station's roster of dancers.

Not only did their music, mode of operation, style and choreography influence trends but their fashion did too. They often sported Western street fashion, including oversized clothing and bucket hats. They had a "swagger" to them that was unique.


The group wrote lyrics that were deemed risky and rebellious, as they often targeted the government and the country's school system for being oppressive. They also displayed a unique clothing style that wasn't commonly seen on television before. Owing to this, they faced a lot of pushback from the media and the South Korean rating board.


The K-pop trio retired in 1996 while in the process of creating their fourth album. It was decided by Seo Taiji himself, as stated by fellow member Juno. Their sudden disbandment shocked many fans, who were awaiting the release of the new album.

While there has been no official reunion since then, Seo Taiji has performed various songs from his K-pop group days with other idols. For the 25th anniversary of his career, Taiji held a concert along with BTS, performing modern remixes, rearrangements and mash-ups of his group's old songs.

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After Seo Taiji and Boys disbanded, Taiji flew to the United States. Yang Hyunsuk went on to form YG Entertainment, which grew to be known as a part of the "Big 3", i.e, one of the big three entertainment labels in South Korea right now.

Lee Juno is currently facing criminal charges. He was previously sentenced to over a year in prison after being found guilty of sexual assault and fraud.

Also Read: 5 oldest K-pop idols as of 2021


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Edited by
Sabine Algur
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