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The rise of BTS: How the group is changing the face of K-Pop with a message of hope

By Maria A. | Apr 09, 2017 07:16 PM EDT
BTS in attendance during the 24th Seoul Music Award.
(Photo : Getty Images/Chung Sung Jun) BTS in attendance during the 24th Seoul Music Award.

BTS is one of the most popular K-Pop idol groups to date. Not only is the group hugely successful in South Korea, but BTS has also managed to break into the global music scene particularly in the West. With BTS enjoying its current winning streak, the group and its company still has more in store for fans.

"Change" is the latest project from BTS member Rap Monster, which he recorded together with American rapper Wale. The song speaks of voting rights and online harassment, a similar tune for BTS who are known for addressing mental health issues in their songs.

While some K-Pop bands would shy away from controversial topics and instead focus on love songs accompanied by dance-heavy music videos, BTS has been singing about socially and politically relevant topics. Rap Monster tells Billboard being outspoken "is important to us. And the bigger the voice we get, the more powerful our words become."

Rap Monster's collaborative track with Wale is perhaps a precursor of the many things Big Hit Entertainment CEO Bang Si Hyuk has in store for the group. In the same interview with Billboard, Bang says that for BTS' entry into mainstream US music they add "special features" to the group's sound in order to cater to international fans while maintaining the group's distinct K-Pop flavor.

While BTS attempts to make a more expansive impact overseas, the group has nevertheless maintained their dominance in South Korea. According to allkpop, BTS is still the number 1 group in terms of brand value.

The list is curated by the Korean Reputation Center after analyzing data from various categories such as social media score and community score, to name a few.

But the group's reach doesn't stop with the fans. BTS' authenticity and growth has made them an influencer to younger K-Pop groups. Member Jungkook reveals when they first started in 2013, they were the ones heavily influenced by their seniors. Now, they are the ones being looked up to, and that the new breed of K-Pop groups is the ones that follows them.

With everything that they've achieved, what's one thing BTS are still aiming for? Rap Monster says it's definitely a worldwide stadium tour. 

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