Seo’s Return

Seo Taiji, the pop star generally credited with creating the musical template that eventually became known as K-pop, is returning to the public eye this summer with a new album and a tour of South Korea expected to make more than 10 billion won ($9.7 million). 

Photo: GioMcH
in 2008

Seo Taiji and Boys formed in 1992 and featured a sound that was very different from conventional Korean pop at the time, fusing heavy metal, rap and R&B.

Seo became an instant superstar and was dubbed the “president of culture.” He was not only a fashion icon, characterized by hats with the price tags still attached and baggy trousers, but an opinion leader.

He launched an entire generation of idol groups, such as H.O.T., Sechs Kies, Shinhwa, Fin.K.L. and S.E.S. The group broke up in 1996 and Seo went solo, while also going into business for himself by launching the first international rock festival in Korea, ETPFEST. He also started his own management company.

Another member of Boys, Yang Hyun-suk, started YG Entertainment, currently one of the most important entertainment production companies in Korea.

Since the late ’90s, Seo has kept a very low profile, and only occasionally ventures out into public, but his fans have remained loyal over the years and his old records continue to sell. His tour this summer is expected to boost the overall pop market considerably, according to the Korea Herald.