Seo Taiji and Boys

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Seo Taiji and Boys
Origin South Korea
Genres Rap metal, rap rock, nu metal, alternative rock, alternative metal
Years active 1992 (1992)–1996
Labels Bando Eumban
Yedang Company
Members Seo Taiji
Yang Hyun-suk
Lee Juno
Korean name
Hangul 서태지와 아이들
Revised Romanization Seo Taijiwa aideul
McCune–Reischauer Sŏ T‘aeji-wa aidŭl

Seo Taiji and Boys (Hangul: 서태지와 아이들) was a South Korea boy band. It was the first modern highly successful band in the South Korean music industry.


After the breakup of Sinawe in 1991, Seo Taiji switched gears and formed the dance group Seo Taiji & Boys (서태지와 아이들) with dancers Lee Juno (이주노) and Yang Hyun-suk. Seo Taiji came across midi technology for the first time in South Korea in the early 1990s and started experimenting with different midi sound to create a new type of music that had not been heard by the public. He initially had no plans to debut as a dance/pop boy group and Seo Taiji & Boys' mainstream success was a surprise.

1992: Nan Arayo (I Know)[edit]

The introduction of the first Seo Taiji & Boys album sparked a complete shift in the focus of popular Korean music that is still felt today. Their first single, "Nan Arayo" (난 알아요) was a hugely successful hit, being the first of its kind in Korean pop. Its New Jack Swing-inspired beats, upbeat rap lyrics and catchy choruses took Korean audiences by storm.[1] It charted on the No. 1 spot for a record-breaking 17 weeks. This record has been broken by Big Bang's 'Lies' which topped the chart for 18 weeks.

1993: Hayeoga[edit]

The second album took a different turn. While the album remained mostly a dance album, the songs had elements of rock and heavy metal added to them.

1994: Balhaereul Ggumggumyeo (Dreaming of Balhae)[edit]

The third album switched gears to being much more heavy metal and rock driven. The danceable tunes are nearly non-existent except Barhaereul Ggumggumyeo (발해를 꿈꾸며, Dreaming of Balhae), an alternative rock song which indicates a hope of reunification of Korea. Instead, songs such as the extremely controversial Gyosil Idea (교실 이데아, Class Idea) with an impressive death grunt backvocal by Ahn Heung-chan (안흥찬) of Crash took center stage. Gyosil Idea was extremely critical of the Korean education system and its brainwashing of the youth of Korea. This was the first of the numerous controversies regarding Seo Taiji and Boys. They were accused of backwards masking Satanist messages in their songs. Although the mainstream news media later proved these accusations to be based on extremely tenuous evidence, the moral panic proved difficult to eliminate entirely.

1995: Come Back Home[edit]

Not backing down, Seo Taiji and Boys' fourth album exploded with more controversial songs. "Come Back Home" was a foray into Korean gangster rap. It really made many runaway teenagers in South Korea "come back home." Pilseung (필승, "Must Triumph") was also a great hit with alternative rock sound and shouting voice. Shidaeyugam (시대유감, "Regret of the Times") was nearly banned by the Korean Performance Ethics Committee (한국공연윤리위원회, present is '한국영상물관리위원회'[Korean Video Management Committee]) for having lyrics that were considered inappropriate for youth consumption. The backlash from the fans was immense, and the system of 'pre-censorship'(사전심의제) was abolished in July 1996, partially as a result of this.

1996: Retirement[edit]

Seo-Taiji and Boys retired from South Korea's popular music scene in January 1996 during its heyday. Their announcement of retirement was a huge disappointment for millions of fans in Korea. Seotaiji headed over to the United States after retirement while Lee Juno and Yang Hyun-suk established record labels right after their retirement. Yang Hyun-suk was very successful making YG Entertainment a big corporation. After declaration on retirement, Seo Taiji and Boys released their Goodbye Best Album, which is the only compilation album from Seo Taiji and Boys. In the booklet, the writing indicates "Yes, it's not over, our love will continue as '&', not the 'End'."



  • Seo Taiji & Boys (1992)
  • Seotaiji and Boys II (1993)
  • Seotaiji and Boys III (1994)
  • Seotaiji and Boys IV (1995)

Live releases[edit]

  • Taiji Boys '95 다른 하늘이 열리고(Farewall to sky) (1995)
  • Seotaiji and Boys '93 마지막축제(Last Festival) (1994)
  • Taiji Boys Live & Techno Mix (1992)

Singles & Etc.[edit]

  • Seotaiji and Boys Goodbye Best Album (1996)
  • Sidae-Yoogam[시대유감-時代遺憾 Regret of the Times] (1996)