Hashtag takeovers on Twitter and dance video trends of TikTok have served to bring K-Pop further into US consciousness over the past year. But, K-Pop artists have been fans of American music for years, especially hip hop. Many K-Pop tracks are heavily influenced by rap and R&B, and more and more feature prominent US artists. Getting into any new genre can be a little overwhelming, especially in a niche as huge as K-Pop. Curious about this Eastern import? Start with the bands and songs below.
Start with: Obsession
Founding member Kai cites Lil Kim, Missy Elliot, Usher and other American hip hop and R&B artists as massive influences, and you can hear it in the super group's songs. Obsession, the title track from the band's sixth album, mixes a heavy beat with hypnotic repeating vocal samples.
Start with: Bomb Bomb
One of K-Pop's rare co-ed groups, KARD shows influences that range from EDM to reggaeton. The infectious "Bomb Bomb" mixes Korean and English lyrics in rapped and sung verses. The band's Korean-American rapper BM says that Tupac and J. Cole made him want to go into music.
Start with: MIC Drop
Even if you've never listened to a note of K-Pop, chances are you've heard of this internationally famous boy band. Only the Beatles achieved number one hits faster; BTS accumulated four in a period of two years after their US chart debut.
Hip hop has always been part of the band's sound, and they've produced multiple collaborations with US artists. The band released a remix of their hit "IDOL" with guest vocals from Nicki Mina in 2018cj. Rumored upcoming collaborations with Jay-Z and Beyonce will bring these guys even further into the mainstream.
Start with: Chicken Noodle Soup
This solo effort from BTS member J-Hope sees the high energy rapper collaborating with Becky G on a cover of the 2006 Young B and Webstar hit "Chicken Noodle Soup." This version incorporates English, Korean and Spanish lyrics and a video that pays strong homage to the original. J-Hope says that when he was first learning to dance, "Chicken Noodle Soup" was one of his most frequent choices.
Start with: Bet You Wanna
Cardi B became one of the most recent rappers to collaborate with a popular K-pop band with this collaboration with girl group Blackpink. Cardi B's rapped verses blend perfectly with Blackpink's bubbly, harmonic pop.