All K-Pop artists have left their mark on the industry to some degree, whether they’re a member in a large group or a popular solo artist. There are some, however, that have left a bigger impression on the world in general, usually by contributing to the spread of K-Pop globally or just being known for their incredible skills. These artists are known by nearly every fan of K-Pop, and for good reason! Fans recently discussed idols that they believe would deserve to be in a K-Pop “Hall of Fame” due to their impression on the industry. Here are their 16 top choices.
1. Taemin (SHINee)
Known as one of, if not the best, dancer in K-Pop, Taemin is in a world of his own. He also has incredible stage presence and a very unique voice, and has had a huge impact within SHINee as well (who, as a whole, helped spread the love of K-Pop to Japan).
Like Taemin, BoA was known as the queen of dance in K-Pop in her prime, and is still one of the best even to this day after about 2 decades in the business. Also like Taemin, she helped to introduce K-Pop to Japan.
3. Taeyeon (Girls’ Generation)
Leader of one of the most iconic girl groups in K-Pop, an extremely talented vocalist and solo artist, winner of multiple awards and a huge advocate for mental health and wellness, Taeyeon is definitely one of the most iconic female performers in the industry.
4. Seo Taiji
Seo Taiji and Boys was one of the biggest K-Pop artists in the 90s, during the industry’s beginning years and a huge part of the first generation of K-Pop. All of today’s K-Pop artists have them and other OG groups to thank for paving the way for them to succeed, and people still talk about their music to this day!
Whether you’re talking about the original 5 members or the duo that they are today, TVXQ was a huge part of the 2nd generation of K-Pop and are still active and popular to this day. “Mirotic” was an absolute anthem, among their other hits, and they, too, helped spread K-Pop to other countries such as Japan.
This one probably doesn’t need an explanation. No one helped to make K-Pop known to the world like PSY did, and “Gangnam Style” is by far the most watched music video ever with about 3 and a half billion views.
Leader of BIGBANG, a legendary group on its own, G-Dragon was once the most popular and well-known male solo artist of his time. A talented singer, rapper, and overall performer, he’s also known for being a fashion icon in Korea as well as the rest of the world.
8. Super Junior
Another legendary group in the 2nd generation of K-Pop, Super Junior was huge in their glory days, as one of the biggest (literally, with 15 members if you include Super Junior-M members) and most successful groups at the time. There’s no one that enjoys K-Pop that hasn’t heard of “Sorry Sorry” as well as many of their other iconic bops.
H.O.T are considered to be the very first K-Pop group to exist, with their formula and model as a boy band used to create other K-Pop groups by other companies in later years. Without H.O.T, K-Pop wouldn’t exist like it does today!
EXO is one of the youngest groups on this list (though they still have 8 years under their belts), but their impact on K-Pop is undeniable. They helped to revive the physical sales market and their hit, “Growl”, is considered by many to have been the beginning of the 3rd generation of K-Pop.
11. Kim Jong Kook
A member of the K-Pop group Turbo, Kim Jong Kook is known by many today as a variety star and host, but he’s had over 20 years of experience in the K-Pop industry and was extremely well-known in the 1st generation of K-Pop during Turbo’s glory days. The group even had a comeback in the mid-2010s and are considered an active group once again!
T-ARA may have had a lot of difficulties during their career, but they were known for being able to slay any kind of concept that was given to them and have more than a couple legendary songs in their discography. They were a big part of spreading the Hallyu Wave internationally during their time as well.
Another huge boy band of the 2nd generation of K-Pop, BIGBANG is a group that even newbie fans have probably heard of. Despite controversies, scandals, and other issues arising within the group, BIGBANG still has a huge following and have a ton of songs that are considered legendary hits. Most of the members themselves also had successful solo careers.
14. Girls’ Generation
Girls’ Generation was known as the nation’s girl group for a long time, and for good reason! Before TWICE and other current girl groups, they were the top girl group in K-Pop and were nearly unmatched by anyone else in that genre besides 2NE1. Many of the members went on to have their own successful solo careers as well.
Like Girls’ Generation, 2NE1 was basically unmatched in the 2nd generation girl group genre, though their style was quite different than that of their SM Entertainment counterparts. They were iconic for breaking the typical mold of female idols in K-Pop and constantly surprised fans with their unique concepts.
BTS is the youngest group on this list, and perhaps doesn’t quite fit the mold the same as the rest of the artists on here since they are still well in their prime, but it’s impossible to ignore how they’ve spread K-Pop internationally and made millions of people fall in love with the genre.