The biggest K-Pop boyband in the world is BTS. The seven-member group has cashed in on groovy dance moves, boyish looks, and talent since at least 2013. But the K-Pop juggernaut, affectionately also called the Bantang Boys, is ready to go global, and the 2018 Billboard Music Awards served as their entry into the mainstream American pop lexicon.
Lithe and young, they slinked around the stage, performing their newest hit single “Fake Love” for an arena of performance-hungry fans.
The fervor would only continue to grow as their adoring fans waited for their performance at the end of the night. Here, we jump into five things you should know about the supergroup about to take the U.S by storm.
Their Fandom Is Called The A.R.M.Y
Standing for “Adorable Representative M.C for Youth,” the A.R.M.Y is what can be heard screaming their heads off or lighting up your Twitter feeds with adorable outpourings of affection for their heroes.
Big Hit Entertainment Is The Label
Bang Si-hyuk is the head of the growing outfit, and, through savvy social-media use, elevated the platform of the group in short order. They’re an established act in South Korea, with five EP’s and four albums under their belts, but they needed something extra to compete with South Korea’s K-Pop conglomerates like YG. That turned out to be Twitter, where they’ve amassed 14.9 million followers and have broadcast their music to fans around the world.
What Are Their Names?
Familiarize yourselves with RM, J-Hope, Suga, Jin, Jimin, V, and Jungkook. They can all sing and dance, and they all have enough charisma to carry a stage. They are meticulously produced, with nary a misstep or errant note to be found in their Billboard performance. Plus they’re decked out in the flyest fits, strolling through the Billboard red carpet in Gucci.
They Put Numbers On The Board
The group has amassed accolades to match their stardom. They were the first K-Pop group to crack the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, which rapper Desiigner helped them do with his feature on “Mic Drop.” Their video for “Fake Love” garnered over 66 million views in a matter of days. “Mic Drop” allowed them to go double “platinum” in Japan (gold for us) with 500,000 records sold— the only foreign artists last year to do so. They were the first K-Pop group to ever perform at the BBMA’s, were the first to perform last year at the American Music Awards, and is propelling Big Hit to financial heights with talk that the label may go public soon.
They’ve Got Heart
In the U.S, K-Pop has come to be synonymous with over-production and a lack of authenticity. Not BTS. They’re known for penning their own lyrics and for having them cover topics other K-Pop groups shy away from, including mental and social issues. This has given them a leg up on their competition. In 2014, they even came to Los Angeles to help get a handle on rap flows and intonation with legends like Coolio. Of course, they turned it into a reality show. But still. Their authenticity means they’ve been better received by the notoriously icy U.S market, where K-Pop still largely finds itself on the outside looking in.