Seotaiji and Boys

Incorporating influences from Western music such as rap, rock, and techno, South Korean boy band Seotaiji and Boys were one of the pioneering groups of modern K-Pop. Founded in 1992 by singer Seo Taiji and dancers/backup singers Yang Hyun-suk and Lee Juno, the band dramatically changed the South Korean music landscape by bringing hip-hop elements into the country’s American and Japanese folk-dominated music scene. Born from the ashes of heavy metal outfit Sinawe, Seotaiji and Boys rose to the forefront of Korean pop helped by MIDI technology and a whole host of Western influences that propelled their 1992 eponymous debut to new heights of popularity. The album contained the hit single “Nan Arayo,” which introduced New Jack Swing to Korean audiences and was awarded a Golden Disc Award upon its release. A more eclectic affair, their sophomore effort Seo Taiji and Boys II (1993) was also a trailblazing effort, spearheaded by the lead single “Hayoega,” a heavy metal song with Korean folklore undertones that earned them their second Golden Disc Award. Despite the censorship carried out by several ethics committees, “Hayeoga” proved to be a smashing success and thus turned its parent album into an unprecedented commercial success, selling over 2 million copies. After the controversial, alternative rock-tinged Seo Taiji and Boys III (1994), the group returned with a fourth volume titled Seo Taiji and Boys IV in 1995, which turned out to be both their best-selling album and their swan song. It featured the single “Come Back Home,” a gangsta rap-inspired track that influenced a generation of Korean artists, including BTS, who released a cover version in 2017.

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