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Featured Artist Friday: EXO Continue To Solidify Their Reign As Kpop Kings

EXO have a long history of being one of the top Kpop boy groups, and their reign as Kpop kings continues as the genre’s newest generation takes to the stage.

Paving the Way for the Next Kpop Generations

With Kpop being in its 4th generation, groups and their labels think much bigger than debuting to a Korean audience—they’re debuting to the world now. Groups like TXT, Stray Kids, ATEEZ, and ITZY are only some of the big names of this generation. Their efforts to not only perform for a Korean audience, but also a global audience, are admirable and effective.

However, they might never have had this global exposure had it not been for the 3rd generation groups that truly gained and paved the way for such exposure. EXO is one of those influential 3rd generation groups.

The Beginning of EXO

Represented by SM Entertainment, the EXO members actually debuted in sub-units EXO-K and EXO-M in 2012. The groups would release the same music simultaneously in both South Korea and China. EXO-K would perform and promote in Korean, while EXO-M did the same in Mandarin. Both the Korean and Chinese versions of their debut EP, Mama, quickly hit the top two spots of their relative country’s charts. The Korean version of Mama even hit No. 8 on Billboard’s World Albums chart.

In June of 2013, EXO released their first group album, XOXO. Two months later, they repackaged the album and included three new tracks: “Growl,” “XOXO,” and “Lucky.” The song “Growl” became an instant hit, and remains a classic Kpop song to this day. Combining both the original version, the repackaged version, and the Korean and Chinese versions of both of them, XOXO the album soon sold over one million copies. According to Lee Woo-young at The Korea Herald, XOXO’s success made EXO the first South Korean artists to reach that milestone in 12 years. It “solidified the members’ place as part of one of K-pop’s most successful acts ever.”

Within the first two years of their musical career, EXO won several big awards and broke huge records. For the next few years, they continued to impress fans, break records, and draw people from all over the world into Kpop.

What’s Next for the Kpop Legends?

After 11 years, EXO are still as big as ever. Their latest album, EXIST, was released on July 10th. With songs like “Hear Me Out,” “Let Me In,” and “Cream Soda,” the album was a welcome guest in fans’ hearts and homes.

When they’re not participating in group activities, the members pursue solo endeavors such as acting, singing, and fulfilling military service. Due to Kai currently serving in the military and Lay being involved in his solo promotions in China, EXIST was actually the first EXO album being promoted by a seven-member group.

Thanks to all the members’ successful solo careers, fans can be sure that, no matter the official state of the group, which can fluctuate depending on a variety of factors, the EXO boys will continue to shine.

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