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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NCSU chapter.

K-pop can seem like the most overwhelming thing to become interested in. I remember first being introduced to BTS and feeling like I had entered a whole new world of culture, music styles, and even a whole new vocabulary of words and phrases. Thankfully my best friend was able to take me through my beginning stages as a K-pop stan and it turned out to be one of the best and most fun parts of my life. Use this (non-exhaustive) guide to let me introduce you to the imperative things you should know as a baby K-pop stan.

1) You probably already know BTS.

BTS, short for Bangtan Sonyeondan, is currently the biggest boy group in the world. Debuting as seven members in 2013 with their song No More Dream, BTS rose from their extremely humble beginnings to being some of the most successful artists of our time. They have won countless awards, toured all over the world, and even received diplomatic passports for the impact they have had on the South Korean government and economy. They love their fans, called ARMY, and have impacted countless lives around the world. BTS was even able to release an anthology album called Proof, which highlighted all the biggest hits and moments of their career. While they announced that they will go through with their mandatory military service and are currently on a group hiatus, they are releasing solo works and plan to reconvene in 2025.

Latest Release, anthology album Proof:

Best of BTS Playlist:

2) What are all of these group positions?

If you have ever researched any K-pop group you have probably realized that there are many unfamiliar words used to describe the members such as “leader” or “maknae”. If you haven’t researched any K-pop idols before, I recommend using https://kprofiles.com/ for accurate information. Here are some definitions to get you started:

Idol: The term used to describe an individual who is a K-pop solo artist or member of a K-pop group

Leader: This one is actually pretty self explanatory. It is the member that guides the other members of the group. They usually are the member sitting in on meetings, talking the most in interviews, and leading the group’s introduction (more on that later). Korean culture places high importance on seniority, so this position establishes who is the top person of authority in the group.

Maknae: This is a Korean term used to describe the youngest member or members of a group.

Hyung/Unnie: These are gendered terms (Hyung is the male term and Unnie is the female term) used to describe the older members of the group. These are used by the maknaes to refer to those older than them.

Visual: This member or members are seen as the most attractive of the group. Yes, this is an official position. While this is in regards to Korean beauty standards and is often debated among fandoms, we can agree that they are all absolutely gorgeous.

Lines: You will often hear multiple members referred to together in a “line”. Some common lines that exist in most groups are hyung/unnie line, maknae line, vocal line, rap line, and dance line. This just means that these members have something in common. For example, the rap line of a group would be the members that typically rap, and the hyung line would be the oldest members of a boy group. Sometimes groups have another name for their lines as well. For example, Stray Kids call their lines “rachas”. Their dance line is referred to as dance racha, but it all ultimately means the same thing.

Bias: Your bias is just your favorite! This can be the member you find the most attractive, the member you identify with the most, or maybe the one whose dancing you think is the coolest. You might also hear “bias wrecker” which are just your next favorites. For example, if your top three favorite members of BTS are Suga, Jungkook, and RM, then your bias would be Suga and your bias wreckers would be Jungkook and RM. A bias line is the bias and wreckers together.

Bonus Definition:

Introductions: each K-pop group has a way of introducing themselves. This is usually with a tagline and hand motion. These introductions are used at concerts, interviews, or anywhere else the group speaks in public.

Introduction example (Stray Kids):

3) What is a comeback?

Comeback is just a term used when a group releases a new album or single. However, a group’s first release is referred to as their “debut”. To use BTS as an example, they debuted on June 13, 2013, and their last group comeback was June 10, 2022. Comebacks also tend to determine eras, which are often marked by concepts and hair colors.

4) Dancing is important.

Dancing and choreography is a huge part of K-pop. Group will spend months learning and nailing the choreography for their songs. Most groups even release dance practices, which are videos that they film in practice rooms and normal clothes to place the focus on the dancing. Choreography versions of music videos, or videos with the same concept and outfits as the music video but show the entire choreography, are also quite common.

Dance Practice Example (Stray Kids):

Choreography Version Example (SEVENTEEN):

5) Their hair colors change a lot.

One thing that you will notice, especially while trying to learn a group’s names, is that their hair colors change very often. Many K-pop idols change their hair to match the concept of their most recent comeback. Sometimes, they just change their hair for something fun and fresh. One thing that is always the case though – their fans will lose their minds when a new hair color is unveiled.

6) What are the current k-pop hits?

Some of the biggest groups right now that you may have already heard of are Stray Kids, SEVENTEEN, NewJeans, TOMORROW X TOGETHER (TXT), LE SSERAFIM, TWICE, and NCT. However, this is nowhere near all of K-pop’s current biggest groups.

Current K-pop hits/recent releases:

I encourage you to also check out some of the music videos for the songs on this playlist as well! K-pop music videos are truly cinematic works of art and I could watch them forever.

Hopefully this list was helpful! As with most hobbies and interests you can find so much good content on YouTube, TikTok, or any other social media sites! Happy stanning!! 

Amanda Bell is a student writer for the Her Campus chapter at North Carolina State University. This is her second year being a student writer. She is an avid music and pop culture fan and loves writing about events and experiences related to that. Her love of K-Pop is very obvious in her articles, but she enjoys writing about all kinds of music. Amanda is a junior at NC State majoring in Communication Media with a minor in Music Studies. Her dream job would be working in public relations for a record company. She has always been drawn to the music industry which led to her choosing her major and minor duo. Amanda hopes to get the opportunity to study abroad next year to broaden her understanding of the music industry across the world. She was raised in Youngsville, North Carolina, which is about an hour outside of Raleigh. When she is not writing for Her Campus, she enjoys hanging out with friends, listening to music, and traveling. Amanda’s favorite activity is to attend concerts, and it is even better if she gets to travel to a new place for them. Among her favorite concert destinations are New York City, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. She hopes to continue traveling and attending concerts through her last two years of college and after graduation.