BTS, commonly known as the Bangtan Boys, debuted in 2013 under Big Hit Entertainment. The septet—Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook—co-writes and co-produces much of their own work. Originally a hip hop trio, their style has developed to include a wide range of genres; their lyrics often tackle mental health, school-age youth, coming of age, loss, self-love, and individualism. Their work references literature, philosophy, and psychology and has an alternate universe plot.
After releasing 2 Cool 4 Skool in 2013, BTS released Dark & Wild and Wake Up in 2014. Wings (2016), the group’s second Korean album, sold 1 million copies. By 2017, BTS had broken multiple sales records and entered the worldwide music market. They were the first Korean act to top the Billboard 200 with their studio album Love Yourself: Tear (2018). Love Yourself: Answer (2018) is the first Korean album awarded Platinum by the RIAA. BTS became the first all-South Korean act to top the Billboard Hot 100 and Global 200 in 2020 with “Dynamite”. After the success of their debut album, they quickly became the first artist since Justin Timberlake in 2006 to release four consecutive US number-one singles.
More than 30 million copies of Map of the Soul: 7 (2020) have been sold in South Korea as of 2022, making BTS the best-selling artist in the country’s history, according to the Circle Chart. As part of their 2019 Love Yourself World Tour, they became the first non-English speaking and Asian act to sell out both Wembley Stadium and the Rose Bowl. They also won the IFPI’s Global Recording Artist of the Year award for both 2020 and 2021. Among the many honors bestowed upon the band are multiple American Music Awards, Golden Disc Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and nominations for 2 Grammy Awards.
In 2017, they teamed with UNICEF to launch the Love Myself anti-violence campaign, addressing three UNGA sessions. Time magazine has featured BTS as “Next Generation Leaders” and “Princes of Pop” on its international covers, and the group has been named one of the 25 most influential people on the internet (2017-2019) and one of the 100 most influential people in the world (2019) by the publication. In 2018, BTS became the youngest winners of the Order of Cultural Merit from the President of South Korea for their contributions to the spread of Korean culture and language. The group will take a pause to complete their military service in 2022, with a reunion in 2025.
10 Facts About BTS (Bangtan Boys)
- BTS is an abbreviation for the Korean term “Bangtan Sonyeondan,” which translates to “Bulletproof Boy Scouts.” This is where the group got their moniker.
- It was in 2010 when Bang Si-hyuk, CEO of Big Hit Entertainment, had the idea to build a hip hop group around RM (Kim Namjoon), an underground rapper who was highly known on the music scene in Seoul. This led to the formation of BTS.
- BTS are made up of members Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook, all of whom contribute to the writing and production of a significant portion of the group’s own music.
- Members of BTS have said that artists like Seo Taiji, Boys, Nas, Eminem, Kanye West, Drake, Post Malone, Charlie Puth, and Danger have influenced their music.
- BTS’s discography has progressed from exploring “the issues and anxieties of school-age youth to themes like love, friendship, grief, death, and more,” where previously it addressed “the hardships and anxieties of school-age youth.”
- BTS were recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine on April 29, 2019, and the publication dubbed them the “Princes of Pop.”
- BTS were invited to address the UN General Assembly in September 2018 and perform before 400 officials, including former UN head Bank Ki-moon, during the 2018 Korea-France Friendship Concert in Paris.
- They has won many American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Golden Disc Awards, and have been nominated for two Grammys, among other honors.
- BTS has prioritized hip hop since its inception, partly due to RM and Suga’s history as underground rappers; on US travels, the group has received coaching from American rappers.
- The members of BTS are obligated to perform mandatory military service in South Korea and will be on sabbatical beginning in the latter half of 2022. A reunion is scheduled for the year 2025.