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Monsta X

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Monsta X
Monsta X in 2017 Left to right: I.M, Jooheon, Wonho, Shownu, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Minhyuk
Monsta X in 2017
Left to right: I.M, Jooheon, Wonho, Shownu, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Minhyuk
Background information
OriginSeoul, South Korea
Years active2015 (2015)–present
Associated acts
  • Starship Planet
  • Y Teen
Past membersWonho

Monsta X (Korean몬스타엑스; stylized as MONSTA X) is a South Korean boy group formed through the reality survival program No.Mercy by Starship Entertainment. As of November 2019, the group is composed of six members: Shownu, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Joohoney and I.M.

The group debuted on May 14, 2015 with their first EP, Trespass. In March 2017, Monsta X released their first studio album and final part of The Clan series, The Clan Pt. 2.5: The Final Chapter. In April 2018, Monsta X's Japanese single "Spotlight" received an official gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. In February 2020, Monsta X's first English album, All About Luv, ranked number 5 on the US Billboard 200.


2014–2015: No Mercy and debut

Monsta X at KCON 2015 in Los Angeles.

The group was formed as the result of a survival program called No.Mercy, which was launched by Starship Entertainment and Mnet[2] in December 2014. It consisted of 10 episodes and aired Wednesdays 11PM on Mnet. The premise of the show is that 12 trainees (13 after I.M  joins the competition in episode 8) compete against each other through various performances and are ranked from 1-12 (1 being the best and 12 being the worst). They also have to wear a nametag with their ranking that changed every time a new ranking is announced. For the show the participants worked directly with the artists of Starship Entertainment including Rhymer, San E, Giriboy and Genius Nochang. They also served as judges, alongside Hyolyn, K.Will, and Soyou.[3] For the concluding mission, nine of the remaining members had to form three groups of three and the final seven members of the group, Shownu, Wonho, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Jooheon, and I.M, were determined on the last episode of the show.

No Mercy also led to the 2014 spin-off web series “Deokspatch”, which was meant to showcase a more casual and lighthearted side to the competition in order for people to get to know the trainees better. It premiered on Dec 15, 2014. On May 14, 2015 it continued on as “Deokspatch X” and as "Deokspatch X²" on October 1, 2015.[4] These seasons focused solely on newly formed Monsta X participating in variety show activities.

The group's name, "Monsta X", contains the double meaning of "Monsters conquering the K-pop scene" and "My star" (Mon means "My" in French). The X symbolizes an unknown existence.[5] Joohoney, Hyungwon, and I.M also released their song "Interstellar" on February 12, which was produced for the final mission by producer Yella Diamond.[6]

Monsta X made their debut with the release of their first extended play, Trespass on May 14, 2015.[7] The title song of the same name is produced by Rhymer and described as a "strong and edgy track that reflects Monsta X’s unique character".[8] Trespass includes seven different tracks, rapper Jooheon was the most involved member in the production of the album and composed several songs, including "One Love," "Steal Your Heart," and "Blue Moon". Monsta X's other rapper, I.M was also involved in the rap making of several songs. Kihyun and Wonho also contributed song lyrics for the album.[9]

On September 1, the group returned with their second extended play titled Rush. The title track of the same name is described as a song representing the signature style of the group, produced by Giriboy. Keone Madrid choreographed the dance and Joo Hee-sun directed the music video.[10] The mini-album contains six tracks produced by Mad Clown, Crybaby and Rhymer. Jooheon also took part in rap making for five out of the six tracks, while fellow member I.M was involved in four songs, including the title track "Rush".[11] Monsta X also performed at the KCON 2015 in Los Angeles making it their first U.S. appearance and performance.[12] Monsta X received the Next Generation Asian Artist award at 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards and the 1theK Performance Award at 2015 Melon Music Awards.[13][14]

2016: The Clan Pt. 1 Lost and The Clan Pt. 2 Guilty

Monsta X at KCON 2016 in Los Angeles.

In January 2016, the group joined a new variety program titled Monsta X Right Now!.[15] In April 2016, the group participated on a Chinese survival program called Heroes of Remix, which was aired in June on Jiangsu Television. The show holds a remix competition in the program and each one of the participants receive a lesson from its assigned mentor and perform its stage by remixing representative Chinese music.[16] Monsta X also appeared in a Chinese web drama Good Evening, Teacher, receiving positive responses from local viewers.[17]

Monsta X's third extended play, The Clan Pt. 1 Lost was released on May 18 with the title track "All In". It was directed by filmmaker Shin Dong-keul, a former winner at the Canada International Film Festival, and is known for his dreamy and euphoric style in producing music videos.[18] The album debuted at No. 5 on Billboard's World Albums Chart and stayed for two consecutive weeks on it.[19] On May 9, the group pre-released one of the album songs, "Ex girl" featuring Wheein of Mamamoo.[20][21] The album is a starting of a large-scaled project called The Clan, composed of two and a half parts.[18]

In July 2016, Monsta X held their first solo concert, The First Live "X-Clan Origins" from July 16 to July 17, which was successfully sold out in five minutes.[22][23] In August 2016, Monsta X joined label-mates Cosmic Girls for a project unit group to promote KT's phone fare service and to release music together.[24] Monsta X's fourth extended play and second part of The Clan series titled The Clan Pt. 2 Guilty was released on October 4. The EP contains six tracks including the title track "Fighter".[25][26] In December, the group was awarded the Best of Next Male Artist award at 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards.[27]

2017: First studio album, Japanese debut and first world tour

In January, the group launched its own variety show called Monsta X-Ray through JTBC2.[28] In March, Monsta X released their first studio album and the final part of The Clan series titled The Clan Pt. 2.5: The Final Chapter with the title track "Beautiful".[29] The album debuted at no. 1 on Billboard's World Albums Chart with more than 1,000 copies sold, which makes it the band's best sales week in America. Monsta X also ranked in the Top 10 of Billboard's Heatseekers Albums Chart and debuted at no. 10. Furthermore, the title track "Beautiful" debuted at no. 4 on Billboard's World Digital Song Sales Chart.[30]

On May 17, Monsta X made their debut in Japan under Universal Music's new label Mercury Records Tokyo[31] with first Japanese single "Hero" and another Japanese version of the group's previously released Korean track, "Stuck". The single reached no. 2 on the Oricon’s weekly single chart, no. 1 on the Tower Records’s chart, and no. 2 on the Billboard Japan’s weekly chart. “Hero” is the only single album from a foreign artist who debuted in 2017 to make it into the top three of Oricon's weekly charts.[32]

On June 19, Monsta X released a repackaged version of The Clan Pt. 2.5: The Final Chapter called Shine Forever which features the original songs from the album and two extra songs "Shine Forever" and "Gravity". The music video teaser for "Shine Forever" was released on June 14. The title song, "Shine Forever" includes rap lyrics written by members Jooheon and I.M, which combines future base and hip-hop.[33][34] The group started their first world tour, The First World Tour "Beautiful" in June.[35] Monsta X aired the second season of Monsta X-Ray in July.[36] Monsta X released a summer song, "Newton" on July 27.[37] The music video for the song was produced by Yoo Sung-kyun of SUNNYVISUAL.[38]

On August 23, their second Japanese single "Beautiful" was released. The single album contains the Japanese version of "Beautiful" and "Ready or Not". It reached no. 1 on the Oricon's daily chart.[39] On November 7, their fifth extended play titled The Code with title track "Dramarama" was released. On the day of the album release, MONSTA X COMEBACK SHOW-CON held at Jangchung Arena.[40][41] Following this, on November 14, they won their first music broadcast award through SBS MTV's The Show, with "Dramarama". On December 18, the group released the special single "Lonely Christmas", as a surprise special holiday release for their fans. The song was written, produced and co-composed by Jooheon.

2018: Second world tour, Japanese album and Take.1 Are You There?

On January 13, the group served as torchbearers on the first day of the Seoul leg of the Olympic torch relay in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics torch relay.[42] On January 31, the group officially released their third Japanese single album and their first Japanese original song "Spotlight" with another Japanese version of the group's previously released Korean track, "Shine Forever". They had previously performed this song in Monsta X Christmas Party 2017. They also opened a collaboration cafe for a limited time from January 19 to February 18 at Shinjuku Box.[43][44]

On February 22, the group's official Twitter account revealed a poster for their second world tour, announcing that the first show will be held in Seoul at Jang Chung Arena on May 26 and 27.[45] On March 26, the group officially released their sixth mini album The Connect: Dejavu containing seven tracks with the lead title track "Jealousy", including "If Only," co-written by Wonho, and "Special," co-written by Jooheon. The title song of the same name was produced by Hayden Bell, Shane Simmons & Harry Sommerdahland.[46] In this comeback, they won a music broadcast award again through SBS MTV's The Show.[47] In April, Monsta X cooperated with Lens Town, a widely known global fashion eyewear and contact lens company as models. They actively participated in the release process with Lens Town to produced their lens as Monsta X Lens or MnX and the members coordinated their design and detail points. The lens released officially in May.[48]

On April 25, they released their first Japanese album Piece with the lead title track "Puzzle", featuring the original songs from their previous Japanese single albums and four additional songs. Piece reached No. 1 on Tower Records’ chart all store, No. 3 on the Oricon's weekly album and Billboard Japan's weekly chart. On April 27, they started their first Japan live tour in Nagoya.[49][50] On May 2, they attended the cultural festival, C-Festival 2018 as official ambassadors for its promotion, held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Embassy of Thailand (Embassy of the Republic of Korea), Gangnam-gu, the largest public-private partnership event in Korea hosted by COEX.[51]

On August 1, Monsta X released a music video for their Japanese comeback, "Livin' It Up". The single album was released on September 12. On October 1, the group became a print model for Tony Moly's new lip tint cosmetic line. On October 4, it was followed by a partial sponsorship by Italian clothing company Moncler in conjunction with their new flagship store in Minato ward, Tokyo.

On October 7, Monsta X announced their second full album Take.1 Are You There? and title track "Shoot Out" for release on October 22.[52][53] On November 9, an English version of "Shoot Out" was released.

2019: Take.2 We Are Here, international expansion, and Wonho's departure

On January 20, Monsta X released third studio album Take.2 We Are Here along its lead single "Alligator" [54][55] and later declared Jooheon to Joohoney. [55] In March, Monsta X collaborated with music producer Steve Aoki on this album with track "Play It Cool" for its English version.[56]

In addition, the group signed another five-year renewal contract with Litmus as its print commercial models. Their parent company, Starship Entertainment, announced a world tour of 12 countries and 18 cities, making it their largest to date.[57][58]

On May 27, Monsta X was rendered by the Cartoon Network in episode of the animated series, We Bare Bears.[59] On May 28, Monsta X signed with Epic Records for their English language recordings and distribution outside South Korea.[60] On June 14, Monsta X released a new English song called "Who Do U Love?" featuring French Montana.[61] On September 20, the group released another English song called "Love U" and a remix version of "Who Do U Love?" by[62]

In June, NC Soft announced its collaboration with Monsta X though the creation of TwoTuckGom (투턱곰). TwoTuckGom are bears designed to represent each member of Monsta X, and NC Soft released goods themed around the bears, including stationary and plushes.[63] For promotion of the goods, Monsta X began a series of variety shows with TwoTuckGom.

In September, it was announced that Monsta X had partnered with TogetherBand to become ambassadors for the United Nations' Goal16.[64][65]

On September 27, the group was announced to participate in the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour.[66] On October 4, Monsta X released another English song titled "Someone's Someone" co-written by Before You Exit members and Monsta X's Shownu.[67] On October 28, the group released their seventh EP Follow: Find You containing eight tracks with the lead singles "Find You" and "Follow".[68]

On October 31, Starship Entertainment publicly declared that member Wonho would be departing following recent allegations of owed money and assets, and that the company intends to "hold legal liability" for "malicious and distorted claims" about him.[69][70][71] Supporting fans expressed their disapproval and request that Starship that he be reinstated back into the group.[72][73] Wonho was subsequently cleared of drug charges in March 2020 and was signed with a subsidiary of Starship Entertainment to pursue a solo career.[74]

On December 4, the group performed at the 2019 Mnet Asian Music Awards in Nagoya Dome in Japan.[75] In December, the group released "Magnetic", a collaboration with Colombian singer Sebastián Yatra, with Yatra singing in Spanish and Monsta X singing in English and Spanish.[76]

2020: All About Luv and Fantasia X

On January 11, Joohoney announced that he would be taking a break from the group to focus on his mental health.[77]

On Valentine's Day, Monsta X released their sixth studio album and first all-English album, All About Luv.[78] It debuted at number 5 on the US Billboard 200.[79]

In March, the group donated 100 million won to the Good Neighbors, a charity organization helping low-income families in South Korea, and were later included in "The Neighbors Club" for their contributions, listing themselves alongside their fanbase, Monbebes.[80]

On March 30, the group released their seventh Japanese single, "Wish on the Same Sky", ahead of the release of the single album Wish on the Same Sky on April 15. Upon debut, it ranked no. 1 on Tower Records weekly chart and no. 2 on Billboard Japan.[81] It ranked no. 1 overall for the first half of 2020 on Tower Records chart.[82]

On May 26, the group had their first Korean comeback of the year, with the debut of their eigth EP Fantasia X, with lead single "Fantasia". Prior to this comeback, Joohoney had rejoined promotions with the group, and thus they were a six member group for the promotion of "Fantasia".

The group performed at the Time 100 Talks, where they also voiced suport for the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as drawing attention to the work of medical professionals during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[65][83]

The group had announced a fourth world tour,[84] but it had to be delayed because of COVID-19. Unable to perform at in-person concerts, they participated in the live-streamed KCON event, K:CONTACT 2020.[85][86] They also announced they would hold a live-streamed concert, "Live From Seoul With Luv."[87] The concert was initially scheduled for July 25, but was rescheduled to August 8, to allow Shownu to recover from an unexpected surgery he had undergone.[88] They held the event through the streaming platform LiveXLive, and performed several songs from their English-lanuguage album, All About Luv, as well as several from their most recent Korean EP, Fantasia X, and several older title tracks.[89]

In September, the group announced they were preparing for a new comeback, intending to release their new album in Autumn 2020, but without a set date.[90][91]


Current members

Former member


Korean albums

Japanese albums

English albums



Year Network Series Role Ref.
2019 Cartoon Network We Bare Bears Themselves [94]


Year Network Series Role Ref.
2015 KBS2 The Producers Themselves [95]
Naver TV Cast High-End Crush [96]
2016 iQiyi Good Evening, Teacher [17]
2017 KBS2 Hit the Top [97]

Reality shows

Year Network Show Ref.
2014–2015 Mnet No.Mercy [98]
1theK Deokspatch
2015 Deokspatch X [99]
Deokspatch X²
2016 Right Now! [15]
2017 V Live No Exit Broadcast [100]
JTBC2 Monsta X-Ray [28]
Monsta X-Ray 2 [36]
2018 Monsta X-Ray 3 [101]
Rakuten Viki When You Call My Name (with Gallant) [102]
2019 TWOTUCKGOM (투턱곰) Monsta X's Puppy Day [103]
2020 Monsta X's TWOTUCKBEBE Day
KT Seezn Monsta X's on Vacation [104]
TWOTUCKGOM (투턱곰) Monsta X's Newtroland [105]

Tours and concerts

Asian tours

  • The First Live "X-Clan Origins" (2016-2017)
  • Japan First Live Tour "Piece" (2018)

World tours

Virtual concerts

  • Live From Seoul With Luv (2020)

Awards and nominations


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