The New K-Pop Group That’s Breaking the Charts


Thuy Pham, Journalist

New Korean pop groups are constantly being released each and every year, each with hopes of hitting it big both domestically and internationally. ATEEZ, a South Korean boy group under KQ Entertainment who debuted in October of 2018, have reinvented the traditional standard for Korean pop groups. The group is composed of eight members, each with a unique skill set from rapping to composing to dancing. The group debuted with the mini-album ‘TREASURE EP. 1: All to Zero’ with the title song, Pirate King that currently has 6.9 million views on YouTube. Since then, the group has topped music charts such as Billboard, becoming the first Korean pop “rookie” group to do so. ATEEZ is a group and a force that is not to be reckoned with, as they continue to redefine what representing K-pop in the modern era means to them.

The group was first introduced as ‘KQ Fellaz’ in May of 2018, when their very first teaser video was released as ‘Performance Video I.’ The video featured the boys dancing ‘Pick it Up’ by Famous Dex featuring A$AP Rocky, with a choreography produced in collaboration with various American choreographers from the hip hop dance scene. The video blew up across various social media platforms, which inevitably built up massive anticipation for the group’s debut, which was unknown at the time. In addition to catching the eyes of K-pop fans domestically and internationally, the boys’ facial expressions and style of dance even caught the eyes of some of K-pop’s most awarded choreographers. For instance, Lia Kim, the choreographer of girl group Twice’s hit choreography TT, honed the dance skills of the group as never-before-seen and as something that will bring them good fortune in the future. Since the release of Performance Video I, the group continued to release choreography videos until finally announcing their debut in October of 2018. With a successful debut in October, the group has continued to break into the K-pop scene even in 2019.

To Korean pop groups, being able to host a world tour or perform in the United States is considered one of the biggest achievements. ATEEZ, at the time only six months old and debuted as a group, announced their first ever world tour with the release of their second mini-album ‘TREASURE EP. 2: Zero to One’ and title track ‘Say My Name.’ Before announcing any dates in South Korea, where most groups typically start, the group announced dates in both the United States and Europe. Within minutes, the rookie group sold out all of the venues that they would be playing. Such an achievement has been recognized by music critics and journalists across Western media, from Billboard to Rolling Stones. With the group in the midst of this successfully sold out tour, their videos and music have increasingly garnered the attention of many K-pop fans and non K-pop fans around the world.