Although we have BTS, EXO, BLACKPINK, TWICE, and many more widely recognized Kpop groups today, numerous groups contributed to shaping today’s global K-pop industry and the Hallyu wave. Let’s dive to explore some of the best 2nd gen Kpop groups that are still worth being in our playlist.
Best 2nd Gen Kpop Groups to be in Our Playlist
Debut: December 2003
Debut release: Hug
Original members: U-Know Yunho, Max Changmin, Xiah Junsu, Micky Yoochun, Hero Jaejoong
TVXQ originally comprised five members and debuted under SM Entertainment with Hug in December 2003. The group quickly gained popularity both inside and outside South Korea. They also released a hit song, Rising Sun, which exploded in popularity, winning first place across the board.
Unfortunately, six years after their debut, three members – Kim Junsu, Park Yoochun, and Kim Jaejoong – decided to terminate their contract with the agency. They cited two main reasons: the contracts were too excessively long (thirteen years) and unfair wages.
Eventually, Avex, the Japanese agency handling TVXQ’s activities, said they would create a subunit of the three, which we know as JYJ. Meanwhile, Yunho and Changmin continue their work as the new TVXQ with SM Entertainment until now.
Debut: November 2005
Debut release: Twins (Knock Out)
Original Members: Leeteuk, Heechul, Yesung, Sungmin, Shindong, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon, Ryeowook, Hangeng, Kangin, Kibum
Two years after debuting one of the best Kpop boy groups, TVXQ, SM Entertainment debuted one of its largest all-boy projects. In November 2005, Super Junior made their debut with Twins (Knock Out). Originally comprised of 12 members, Super Junior marked their breakthrough moment in Japan.
Kyuhyun joined the group in 2006, followed by a few changes in their lineup. Despite the ups and downs of the group, Super Junior remains one of the longest-lasting Kpop boy groups.
Their latest release, the 11th album vol 2, The Road: Celebration, brought heartwarming Christmassy songs for ELF (Super Junior fans). Besides activities as a group, the members also release several solo projects.
Debut: August 2006
Debut release: We Belong Together
Original members: G-Dragon, T.O.P, Seungri, Taeyang, Daesung
One of the key players in the growing Kpop industry is BIGBANG, which initially comprised five members under YG Entertainment. With their debut song, We Belong Together, and several hit songs like Last Farewell, Haru Haru, Sunset Glow, and Bang Bang Bang, the group topped several music charts in just no time.
However, in 2019, Seungri retired from the entertainment industry following Burning Sun scandal. And in 2022, BIGBANG returned as a quartet with Still Life.
Although it has been reported that T.O.P, Taeyang, and Daesung are leaving YG Entertainment, they promise to remain as one group that never fails their fans all over the world.
Debut: February 2007
Debut release: The Wonder Begins
Original Members: Sunye, Sohee, Sunmi, YeEun, HyunA
JYP Entertainment’s girl group, Wonder Girls, debuted with Irony in 2007. However, the group also had to face some changes as HyunA decided to part ways. Luckily, Yubin joined the group at the same time, so they stayed as a 5-member girl group.
They successfully released a hit song, Nobody, which made Wonder Girls the first South Korean act to enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart at #76.
However, in 2010, Sunmi left the group to pursue an academic career, and Hyerim joined. Two years later, leader Sunye and member Sohee announced that they would leave, and the group would go on hiatus. In 2015, Sunmi rejoined, and Wonder Girls continued to release music as a 4-member group until their disbandment in 2017.
Debut: March 2007
Debut release: The First Bloooooming
Original members: Gyuri, Seungyeon, Sunghee, Nicole
KARA is one of the best 2nd gen Kpop groups that debuted under DSP Entertainment in 2007. Unfortunately, they had to face changes soon after their debut. In the same year of their debut, one of the members, Sunghee, left. Goo Hara and Kang Jiyoung joined the group shortly after.
The group continued their activities with five members and marked their breakthrough with Honey in 2009. Other hit songs by KARA that Kpop fans must listen to are Lupin, Jumping, and Step.
Although they kept their position on the top charts, they couldn’t avoid another change. Nicole and Jiyoung decided to leave DSP Media, while Heo Youngji joined the group through a reality show called Kara Project.
In 2016, KARA disbanded. In 2022, KARA made a memorable comeback after seven years as they celebrated their 15th anniversary. They released a sentimental album, Move Again, with When I Move to serve as the title track.
Debut: August 2007
Debut release: Into the New World
Original members: Taeyeon, YoonA, Hyoyeon, Tiffany, Sunny, Sooyoung, Seohyun, Yuri, Jessica
One of the best 2nd gen Kpop groups is “The Nation’s Girl Group,” Girls’ Generation. Following their debut in 2007, the nine girls entered the Japanese scene in 2011 and became one of the top groups leading the K-wave.
Nevertheless, they had to part ways with Jessica in 2014. Girls’ Generation returned as an 8-member group with their sixth album, Holiday Night. In 2017, Tiffany, Sooyoung, and Seolhyun decided to leave SM Entertainment and focus on their solo activities.
In 2022, Girls’ Generation soothed their fans by having an impressive comeback as an 8-member girl group. They released a 15th-anniversary comeback music video, FOREVER 1. They also made appearances on several stages that bring back the memory of their young times.
Debut: May 2008
Debut release: Replay
Original members: Onew, Key, Minho, Taemin, Jonghyun
Another 2nd gen Kpop group by SM Entertainment we have to stan until now is SHINee. Their debut single, Replay, is still gaining more new listeners and fans. Moreover, their hit addictive songs like Ring Ding Dong and Lucifer are still favorites. Fans love SHINee for their powerful choreography, and it’s not surprising that they won the Best Dance Performance Award at Mnet Asian Music Awards three years in a row.
Originally comprised of five members, SHINee remains a quartet since Jonghyun’s death in December 2017, which leaves a hole in Shawols’ heart until now.
Debut: July 2008
Debut release: This Song
Original members: Jo Kwon, Lee Changmin, Jeong Jinwoon Lim Seulong,
2AM is a Kpopboy group created by JYP Entertainment alongside their brother group, 2PM. Together, they are an 11-group called One Day, managed by JYP and Big Hit Entertainment. 2AM songs were mostly ballads like Never Let You Go and You Wouldn’t Answer My Calls.
Following their successful debut in South Korea, 2AM made a Japanese debut in 2013. However, Seulong, Jiwoon, and Changmin decided to part ways with JYP two years after. Since then, the group has been on an indefinite break until they reunited in 2021. They released Ballad 21 F/W, their fourth EP, featuring two tracks written by Bang Si-hyuk (Big Hit) and JYP.
Debut: September 2008
Debut release: Hottest Time of the Day
Original members: Taecyeon, Wooyoung, Nichkun, Jun. K, Junho, Chansung, Jay Park
Alongside their brother group by JYP Entertainment, 2PM debuted as a 7-member group. We can’t deny 2PM is still one of the best 2nd gen Kpop groups you have to listen to. The septet was known for their acrobatic choreography, where they created a human pyramid.
Unfortunately, as the other 2nd gen Kpop groups experienced, 2PM must adapt to some changes. In 2009, the leader of the group, Jay Park, left. Since then, 2PM moved on as a sextet without an official group leader and kept releasing good music until several members enlisted in the military.
One of 2PM members, Chansung, announced his marriage in 2021, following their latest studio album release, MUST.
Debut: May 2009
Debut release: Fire
Original members: CL, Sandara Park, Park Bom, Minzy
2NE1 is one of the most powerful Kpop girl groups under YG Entertainment. The quartet debuted with a powerful song, Fire, and released a collaborative single Lollipop with BIGBANG to promote LG’s lollipop phone.
If you wonder who started to bring Kpop on a world tour, 2NE1 is the answer! 2NE1 was the first Kpop girl group to go on a world tour from Asia to North America in 2012.
Although the group has received many awards and topped several charts, again, changes are inevitable. 2NE1 went on hiatus as Sandara decided to focus on her acting career, and CL pursued her solo career in 2015. And in 2016, Minzy left, and the group released their final track, Goodbye, in early 2017.
Although said 2NE1 disbanded, their sisterhood remains forever as they still celebrate member’s birthday. And during the 2022 Coachella, CL invited her three groupmates for a surprise on-stage reunion.
Debut: September 2009
Debut release: LA chA TA
Original members: Krystal, Amber, Luna, Victoria, Sulli
In 2009, SM Entertainment officially announced the debut of their new girl group, f(x). They have had many releases and participated in several ads since then. However, in 2015, Sulli decided to focus on her acting career. Followed by the hiatus of the group in 2016, and in the following years, Amber, Krystal, and Victoria left. Although fans might think f(x) has disbanded, they never officially announced their disbandment.
Debut: June 2009
Debut release: Hot Issue
Original members: HyunA, Jiyoon, Gayoon, Sohyun, Jihyun
In 2009, 4Minute debuted as a 5-member girl group under Cube Entertainment. The group’s leader is a former member of Wonder Girls, HyunA. In 2010, Cube Entertainment teamed up with Universal Music Group to reach a more global audience for 4Minute.
However, following their Ep and mini-album releases, 4Minute didn’t have a chance to stay longer in the Kpop industry. In 2016, after releasing Hate (collaborating with Skrillex), 4Minute had to face disbandment.
Which 2nd gen Kpop groups are your favorite? And what is the best song from them? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. And stay with us at Kpoppost and our social media: Instagram, Facebook, and Telegram for more Kpop updates.
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