Op-Ed: 2NE1 & K-Pop

Client: POP Magazine

TOP 5

1. EXO K and EXO M are unstoppable

The group with more ships than the Spanish Armada, the 12 EXO boys made their return with ’XOXO’ after a prolonged absence. It’s triggered a hysteria of epic proportions, making them one of the biggest rookie groups of recent years in both Asia and abroad, but there’s talent to back up the pretty faces – their moves alone are worth the price of a concert ticket.

Check out: ‘Mama’ and ‘Growl’

2. YG RULZ OK!

It’s not just 2NE1 keeping busy – Big Bang are readying solo efforts. Daesung released in February but both Seungri’s and Taeyang’s material is due. A recent Instagram photo showed GD in the studio with Skrillex; after MICHI GO! – GD’s almost homage to Skrillex – perhaps we’ll get the real deal as the prolific BB leader readies another release, with Diplo and Missy Elliott already on board.

Check out: ‘Strong Baby’ (Seungri), ‘Crayon’ (G-Dragon),’Wedding Dress’ (Taeyang), D’scover (Daesung, Japanese album)

3. INFINITE GO GLOBAL

Infinite are one of the consistently good K-Pop groups and finally, after three years of excellent singles, complex videos and endearing variety show appearances, they hit the road on a decent world tour. Bringing their enviable, award winning body of work to Europe and the States, complete with Sunggyu’s solo songs and the group’s sub-unit Infinite H, it’s going to be a vital show.

Check out: ‘Destiny’ and ‘The Chaser’

4. ON A MORE SERIOUS NOTE

K-Pop isn’t always bright and fluffy. The fan debate over racism and sexism in K-Pop rages non-stop over what’s acceptable in Asia and what’s unacceptable on a worldwide level, often acerbated by statements from Korean media or record labels and even idols themselves. A delicate but fascinating subject to delve into, it often reveals the murky lower layers the industry doesn’t want you to see.

5. 2NE1 ❤ VERSUS

K-Pop style veers between sublime and ridiculous but idols and stylists sure as hell love their designer threads. 2NE1 have a number of favourites and Versus Versace is one of their most beloved labels, which is why they’re wearing it in this exclusive shoot for POP and you can see it grace a number of their iconic music videos.

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