Recently, another speech, as old as time, resurfaced on Twitter. Fans tried to compare the idols again, but some of their “hot hits” seem questionable to anyone who’s been in K-pop long enough.
Nobody is crazy enough to dethrone SM Entertainment. Most fans, regardless of their band, know SM Agency is a home for loud, powerful vocals. They proved to be the best with such famous bands as EXO, SNSD, SHINEE, Super Junior etc.
However, when it comes to establishing a ranking order of all the other major agencies, opinions start to differ. What shocked and enraged fans of YG Entertainment artists is that people claimed that JYP and Hybe’s singers were much better than YG’s overall. While it might be understandable since YG artists are mostly famous for their hip-hop style, swag, and unparalleled rapping skills, “main rapper” isn’t the only position they can boast of.
Are you really a K-pop fan if you don’t know who BIGBANG is? The Kings of K-pop have released many hits that are still often played in Korean karaoke clubs, but have you really paid attention to what they can offer in terms of vocals?
GD and TOP’s unique singing style, which can only come from being an established rapper, is unparalleled in the industry. It might be impossible to find other voices like theirs anywhere. With Daesung and Taeyang’s powerful vocals that can fill an entire stadium and Seungri’s sweet emotional voice, artists are able to create an unforgettable and meaningful performance at any time.
‘Last Dance’ is a BIGBANG song released in 2016 before being hiatus for 6 years due to members leaving for military service, with only one track ‘Flower Road’ except (it was released in 2018 in gift to Fans). With that in mind, you’ll be overwhelmed with feelings as soon as you hear the chorus, or even the first line of the verse.
AKDONG MUSICIANS (AKMU)
The brother and sister duo, Lee Chanhyuk and Lee Suhyun, are well known not only to K-pop fans but also to the general public. Chanhyuk composes all the songs for AKMU and mostly does rap parts or bass vocals, while Suhyun adds his unique clear and bright vocals. She has appeared on many reality and variety shows and has the ability to sing in many styles suitable for her own songs or any cover. She even loves to add opera singing elements that might make you wonder if she boasts of her skills, playing with the complicated melodies, high notes and techniques so easily.
You don’t even have to compose a heavy track or prepare a fancy choreography, just get this amazing sibling duo their microphones – and anyone’s soul will sing along. All the other instruments are just icing on the cake of their vocals.
This band has earned a reputation for their outstanding songs for a reason. WINNER became the first YG group whose style was mainly shaped with tropical summer melodies and beautiful soft ballads instead of being all rough and hip-hop, typical of YG. One of the members, Kang Seungyoon, also confidently won the crown in the “King of Masked Singer” singing battles six times in a row. He faced many skilled opponents and eventually became the show’s youngest champion in 2020.
Fans and artists have held the song “Remember Me” dear to their hearts ever since WINNER released the song to pay tribute to their journey as a group. It also symbolized a request for fans not to forget them and a promise to see them again after all the members finished their military service in a few years. The emotional vocals of Seungyoon, Jinwoo, Mino, and Seunghoon complement the sentimental lyrics so well that they will make your heart ache in all the right ways.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the ballads of YG artists are mostly overlooked. iKON is best known for its high-energy hip-hop tracks and playful romantic songs. However, their slow ballads with poetic lyrics can become a hidden gem for any music lover.
The hoarse voices of rappers and singers and the flawless adlibs are capable of moving everyone at their concerts. When all the members contribute to the harmony, yet each of them has their own uniqueness in voice. Although Koo Junhoe has one of the most recognizable and distinct voices in the entire K-pop industry, it’s also impossible not to be impressed by Donghyuk’s heartbreaking high notes. Bobby is a loud and fierce rapper, who adds a raspy and unusual tone to a performance when he begins to sing. Yunhyeong’s voice is always overflowing with emotion, and Jinhwan’s bright and strong vocals tie these different voices together into one. Meanwhile, Chanwoo gives you time to catch your breath with his soothing, narration-like vocals before the whole band hits you again with his overwhelming harmony and endless adlibs.
Blackpink are considered the most popular K-pop girl group in the world, and they are still going strong after all these years. Their lead singer Rosé appeared on the singing reality show “Sea of Hope” alongside AKMU’s Lee Suhyun, captivating the general public with her smooth and soothing vocals. And everyone knows Lisa and Jennie’s unique and playful yet wild rapping style, but does anyone really pay attention to their vocal abilities?
With their energetic attitudes, the two artists compliment Blackpink vocalists Jisoo and Rosé, helping them create a charming performance where four distinct voices come together in pleasing harmony. Again, it’s no surprise to anyone that all YG artists are versatile in both rapping and singing.
Treasure has added refreshing childish charms to a clique of YG artists. Bang Yedam trained at the agency since he was a small child and grew up to be a powerful singer and songwriter.
Although they are the youngest YG group, Treasure has already shown off their promising vocal talents in a live performance “WAYO”. Jihoon adds confident high notes to Mashiho and Junkyu’s steady vocals, while Park Jeongwoo covers the instrumental background music with a strong vocal melody. The rest of the members usually follow the lead singers together to create a beautiful harmony that will only get better and stronger with experience.
If you listen to the live performances of YG artists, you will understand the confusion that fandoms express all the time: how can anyone accuse one of these bands of lip syncing? To them, that sounds like an absolutely ridiculous claim.
The confusion might come from the fact that yes, the live vocals of YG artists sound exactly like their CD recordings thanks to their excellent training, vocal abilities and experience. But the best proof that they’re not pretending is the singers themselves. They love to debunk all malicious rumors by being incredibly confident on stage, always playing with different adlibs, changing melodies and creating various harmonies all the time. And if they’re forced to lip-sync, it’s evident on their faces — some artists don’t even bother to pretend to sing with a typical YG carefree attitude. That’s how you know: if someone’s mic is on, you’re probably hearing their voice at full lung capacity.
All of this still leaves fans looking forward to each new performance to hear more great versions of their favorite songs.