I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Latina singer Becky G and Kpop group BTS’ JHOPE just released their new collab track called “Chicken Noodle Soup,” that tackles diversity in the music industry. They both sing in their own native tongues (Becky in Spanish and JHOPE in Korean), and it was phenomenal. The overall vibe of the choreography and hip hop sound is amazing—which made me think about all the incredible Kpop collaborations these past few years.
The new generation of Kpop artists and groups have definitely become more experimental with their sound and have been exploring collaborations with different artists (whether fellow Kpop artists or other foreign stars). And some of these collaborations, if I say so myself, have been the best and highest chart-topping tracks in Kpop history. If you know what I’m talking about, this will definitely be a trip down memory lane for you. And if you don’t, well buckle up, because you’ll be hearing some of the best Kpop collaborations in the past years.
“Mic Drop” by BTS and Steve Aokie
BTS is one of the biggest Kpop groups to date, and has been appearing on international TV and collaborating with different western artists. “Mic Drop” is one of their earliest collabs with DJ Steve Aokie. The electropop beats and choreography in this performance are phenomenal, and probably one of the best BTS music videos to date.
“Selfish” by Mamamoo’s Moonbyul and Red Velvet’s Seulgi
Mamamoo and Red Velvet are two of the biggest girl groups in South Korea. This is why when Mamamoo’s main rapper Moonbyul released her single featuring Red Velvet’s main dance Seulgi in early 2018, fans went wild. Moonbyul’s pop rapping paired with Seulgi singing the chorus was truly *chef’s kiss.*
“Nirilia” by G-Dragon and Missy Elliot
Now, this is definitely one of the best stages of all of Kpop history. The former member of iconic boy group Big Bang collaborated with rapper Missy Elliot for a once in a lifetime stage performance for his single “Nirilia” on Korea’s popular entertainment show “M Countdown.” The choreography, rap battle, and overall impact of this performance was huge, for this was one of the few live collaborations with a Western artist at the time, back in 2013. This definitely set the bar high for future collaborations for Kpop.
“Bermuda Triangle” by Zico, Dean, and Crush
I think almost every Kpop fan I know was in love with this song. Producer and rapper Zico, alt R&B artist Dean, and smooth crooner Crush’s “Bermuda Triangle” contains minimalistic synth and bass-heavy tunes that heavily focus on their vocals. Each artist delivers verses in a style that suits his individual musicality: Dean’s falsetto and rapid-fire vocals bookend the song while Zico’s alternating rap flow is delivered over an off-kilter beat. Crush takes a break from his usual sentimentality, and instead offers up a bravado-filled rap. Technically the song is a Zico track featuring Dean and Crush, but all three artists hold their own sense of identity through “Bermuda Triangle.”
“Q&A” by Seventeen’s Woozi, S.Coups, and Vernon with Ailee
Kpop princess Ailee’s vocals blend so well with Seventeen’s Woozi. The feel-good and playful vibe of the song makes it such a go-to track, especially with the catchy rap verses of Vernon and S.coups that make you want to learn Korean just so you can memorize and rap with them. It’s also such a romantic track that reminds you of puppy love and falling for someone for the first time.
“Written in the Stars” by Red Velvet’s Wendy and John Legend
The soothing vocals of singer-songwriter John Legend and top girl band Red Velvet’s Wendy are in perfect harmony in “Written in the Stars.” The dreamy R&B ballad, all in English, is part of SM Entertainment’s Station X 0 project, which until recently had only featured collaborations between Korean acts from different agencies and genres. The cinematic music video was reportedly shot in a Southern California desert.