Do you remember all these OG Kpop idols?

26 September 2017
So when did this obsession with Kpop start? You have to go back to the 90s, which was a significant era for Korean music. Until then, the music scene was dominated with American and Japanese music, before Kpop took over.

Nothing much has changed. Kpop is still full of hip-hop and pop tunes, outrageous fashion and outlandish hairdos that sometimes makes us question the sanity of their stylists.

Our obsession of the good ol' bands still isn't over. Shows like Reply 1994 and Reply 1997 highlights the impact these Kpop groups had in our lives. We go crazy whenever anniversaries roll around or there are hints of a special reunion.

If you've just became a Kpop fan or just want to take a trip down memory lane, well, here are 9 first generation Kpop groups that will forever remain in our hearts.

1. Seo Taiji And Boys

Seo Taiji And Boys is long considered one of the pioneers of Kpop. Without them, it's hard to say that the Kpop industry could have come so far. They introduced Koreans to rap, rock, and techno by mixing American sounds and Korean lyrics into what we know today as Kpop. Oh, and Yang Hyun Suk, the head of YG Entertainment, also debuted as part of this group! Talk about being the forerunners of Kpop.

2. BoA

When you talk about first generation Kpop idols, you have to include BoA. She's the queen of Kpop, and the very first Kpop artist to break into Japan. The triple threat idol started her career when she was just fourteen years old, and is still going strong seventeen years later. BoA even writes and produces her own songs! It seems like there is nothing she can't do.

3. H.O.T.

Americans had Backstreet Boys; Koreans had H.O.T. The quintet, whose name stands for "High-five Of Teenagers" (Kpop group acronyms never made sense even then) to appeal to teenagers. And appeal they did. Their massive legions of fans helped the group become immensely successful inside and outside Korea. But the fans also became the first generation of sasaengs (stalkers), where H.O.T. members had to constantly move because they became a nuisance to their neighbors as fan girls would loiter outside their houses hoping to catch a glimpse of the boys. Ah, the good times.

4. Fin-KL

The girl group's name was actually selected through a poll, and stands for "Fin Killing Liberty". Yeah, it doesn't really made sense because the Korean name was chosen first, and the English name is meant to stand against the oppression of all freedom. But no matter what their name means, the girl group became one of the most popular Kpop girl groups and fashion trendsetters in the 90s. Lee Hyori was given her first taste of fame through FIN.K.L., and eventually became the 'Nation's Fairy' after starring in Family Outing.

5. G.O.D.

Standing for "Groove Over Dose", G.O.D. was well known for their R&B and rap songs with cute dancing. Their songs tended to lean towards the social commentary side, with heartfelt lyrics that make people cry until today. They recently had a reunion, and you can still constantly spot Park Joon-hyung on various reality shows. Kim Tae-Woo, the lead vocalist is also still active until today, writing and producing songs.

6. S.E.S.

S.E.S. is basically the initials of the trio's names; Sea, Eugene, Shoo. SM's female counterpart to H.O.T., S.E.S. made waves as one of the first few girl groups to dominate the scene. Like FIN.K.L., the girls also set fashion trends (I know you tried to pull off Bada's high ponytail at one point of your lives in the 90s!).

7. SechsKies

SechsKies was only around for three years, but managed to build a cult following in that short time. So great was their influence, that they were lauded as one of top boy groups in the 90s. Last year, the group reunited for a special episode of Infinite Challenge, and eventually decided to release another album. Plus they managed to sell out their 13,000 strong concert in 3 minutes, a feat that even some of the second generation groups struggle to do.

8. Roo'Ra

Roo'Ra was a South Korean hip hop and dance trio whose name stood for "Roots of Reggae". Fresh and unique, their songs beautifully paired raspy rapping and smooth vocals. Lee Sang Min's crying rap is still very well-known today, and idols often try to imitate his rapping style. Roo'Ra was so famous, they even had a mini kid-version of their group performing on a reality show, which G-Dragon was part of. Yes, Kwon Ji-yong made his onstage debut as mini Roo'Ra wayyyy before Big Bang!

9. Shinhwa

Shinhwa is probably the longest running boy bad in the history of Kpop, and also has not seen a member linup change. From 1998, Shinhwa has been through two entertainment agencies, and eventually started their own company to facilitate their group career and individual careers. See, not all groups need to break up once their contract with their agency is over.

- Michelle Ng
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