In just eight years, BTS has skyrocketed to an unprecedented level of fame, charged into the global mainstream, and redefined what it means to be a K-Pop artist.
In fact, some fans feel that BTS has transcended K-Pop and become their own genre. BTS began their careers as hip-hop artists but have since experimented with a variety of musical styles, to the point where any music BTS creates is BTS music; they are no longer tied to a particular sound or genre.
“I know that many fans don’t see BTS as part of K-pop,” Rolling Stone interviewer Brian Hiatt told RM. “And you, yourselves, have said that ‘BTS is the genre.’ How do you see it?”
“That’s a very important debate,” RM replied. He began by talking about K-Pop’s expansion and how K-Pop music is no longer only being created by Korean musicians.
That’s a very important debate. Because what they call K-pop, that genre is expanding very fast. For example, some so-called K-pop groups have only foreigners, from Europe, India, China, like, everywhere. There are no Korean members, but they do the K-pop thing, they’re switching the parts, and so on.
Some people define K-Pop as songs sung by Koreans in the Korean language, but RM disputed this by pointing to “Dynamite.” The lyrics of BTS’s 2020 mega-hit are entirely in English.
BTS is expanding very fast as well. And K-pop is now so wide. Somebody could say that K-pop is for Koreans who sing a Korean song. That could be K-pop. But what about “Dynamite”? We sing the song in English. But we’re all Koreans, so somebody may say it’s a K-pop song. Or they may say it’s just a pop song, because it’s in English.
RM said that although the “Is it K-Pop?” debate is an important one for the music industry, BTS’s members “don’t actually really care” about how they are defined.
But we don’t actually really care about whether people see us as inside or outside K-pop. The important fact is that we’re all Koreans, and we’re singing a pop song. So that’s the reason why we said that our genre is just BTS. That debate is very important for the music industry, but it doesn’t mean very much for us members.
Read more from his interview here: