Monsta X

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Monsta X
Monsta X in 2019 Left to right: Joohoney, I.M, Hyungwon, Kihyun, Shownu and Minhyuk
Monsta X in 2019
Left to right: Joohoney, I.M, Hyungwon, Kihyun, Shownu and Minhyuk
Background information
OriginSeoul, South Korea
Years active2015 (2015)–present
Associated acts Edit this at Wikidata
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. The group is currently composed of six members: Shownu, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Joohoney and I.M, with former member Wonho leaving the group in October 2019.

The group debuted on May 14, 2015 with their first EP Trespass.[3] 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.[4] Since 2018, Monsta X had four Japanese singles certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. Since 2019, five of their Korean albums had been certified platinum by the Korea Music Content Association. In February 2020, Monsta X's first English album All About Luv ranked number five on the US Billboard 200 and number seven on the US Rolling Stone Top 200.[5][6]

Since debut, Monsta X has been known for their aggressive style, combining elements of hip hop, EDM and pop.[1][7] This aggressive style with "tracks centred around loud, clattering, electronic instrumentals, vicious rap verses and striking vocals" has been influential across the fourth generation of K-pop.[8]


2014–2015: No.Mercy and debut[edit]

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 in December 2014.[9] Through the course of ten episodes, twelve trainees (thirteen after I.M  joins the competition in episode 8) competed against each other through various performances and are ranked from one to twelve, with one being the best and twelve being the worst. They also have to wear a nametag with their ranking that changed following the challenges and performances set by the judges. For the show, the participants worked directly with artists from Starship Entertainment, including Hyolyn, K.Will, Mad Clown, and Soyou as well as other artists such as Rhymer, San E, Giriboy and Genius Nochang. These artists also served as judges for ranking the contestants.[10] For the concluding mission, the nine remaining members formed into three groups of three to compete and the members of Monsta X were selected from these nine in the final episode as the seven members of the group: Shownu, Wonho, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Jooheon, and I.M.[11]

No.Mercy also led to the 2014 spin-off web series Deokspatch, which also began airing in December, 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 continued on as Deokspatch X on May 14, 2015 and as Deokspatch X² in October 2015. These seasons focused on the newly formed Monsta X participating in variety show activities.[12][13]

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.[14] Jooheon, Hyungwon, and I.M also released their song "Interstellar", which was produced for the final mission by Yella Diamond on February 12, 2015.[15]

Monsta X made their debut with the release of their first extended play Trespass on May 14, 2015.[3] 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".[16] Trespass includes seven different tracks. Rapper Jooheon was the most involved member in the production of the mini-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 EP.[17]

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.[18] The mini-album contains six tracks produced by Mad Clown, Crybaby and Rhymer. Jooheon also took part in making the rap for five out of the six tracks, while fellow member I.M was involved in four songs, including the title track "Rush".[19]

In 2015, Monsta X made their first U.S. appearance performing at KCON 2015 in Los Angeles.[20] Monsta X received the Next Generation Asian Artist award at the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards and the 1theK Performance Award at the 2015 Melon Music Awards.[21][22]

2016: The Clan Pt. 1 Lost and The Clan Pt. 2 Guilty[edit]

Monsta X at KCON 2016 in Los Angeles

In January, the group released a new variety program titled Monsta X Right Now!.[23] Monsta X also appeared in a Chinese web drama Good Evening, Teacher, receiving positive responses from local viewers.[24]

In April, 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.[25]

On May 9, the group pre-released the song "Ex Girl" featuring Wheein of Mamamoo.[26][27] On May 18, Monsta X's third extended play The Clan Pt. 1 Lost, with the title track "All In" was released. The MV was directed by filmmaker Shin Dong-keul, a former winner at the Canada International Film Festival who is known for his dreamy and euphoric style in producing music videos.[28] The EP debuted at number five on Billboard's World Albums chart and stayed for two consecutive weeks on it.[29] It is also the first in the trilogy of albums, titled The Clan.[28]

In July, Monsta X held their first solo concert The First Live "X-Clan Origins" from July 16 to July 17, which sold out in five minutes.[30][31]

In August, Starship formed a project group with Monsta X and their label-mates Cosmic Girls as part of a promotional project with KT.[32] As part of the project group, they released the single "Do Better", with an accompanying music video.[33]

On October 4, Monsta X's fourth extended play and second part of The Clan series titled The Clan Pt. 2 Guilty was released. The EP contains six tracks including the title track "Fighter".[34][35]

In December, the group was awarded the Best of Next Male Artist award at the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards.[36]

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

In January, the group launched its own variety show called Monsta X-Ray through JTBC2.[37]

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".[4] The album debuted at number one on Billboard's World Albums chart and at number ten on the Billboard's Heatseekers Albums chart and the title track "Beautiful" debuted at number four on Billboard's World Digital Song Sales chart.[38]

On May 17, Monsta X made their debut in Japan under Universal Music's new label Mercury Records Tokyo with their first Japanese single album, which included Japanese versions of "Hero" and "Stuck".[39] "Hero" reached number two on the weekly Oricon Singles Chart, number one on the Tower Records chart, and number three on the weekly Billboard Japan Hot 100 chart, making an impressive debut from a foreign artist.[40]

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", as well as the music video for "Shine Forever". The title song "Shine Forever" combines future bass and hip-hop styles and includes rap lyrics written by members Jooheon and I.M.[41][42] The group also began their first world tour Beautiful in June.[43]

Monsta X aired the second season of Monsta X-Ray in July.[44] Monsta X released a summer song "Newton" on July 27.[45] The music video for the song was produced by Yoo Sung-kyun of SunnyVisual.[46]

On August 23, their second Japanese single "Beautiful" was released. The single album contains the Japanese versions of "Beautiful" and "Ready or Not". It reached number one on Oricon's daily chart.[47]

On November 7, their fifth extended play titled The Code with title track "Dramarama" was released. On the day of the mini-album release, Monsta X held a comeback show at Jangchung Arena.[48][49] Following this, on November 14, they won their first music broadcast award through SBS MTV's The Show with "Dramarama".[50]

On December 18, the group released the special single "Lonely Christmas" as a surprise 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?[edit]

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.[51] On January 31, the group released their third Japanese single album, which included their first original Japanese song "Spotlight" and Japanese version of the group's previously released Korean track "Shine Forever".[52] They had previously performed this song in Monsta X Christmas Party 2017.[53] They also opened a collaboration cafe for a limited time from January 19 to February 18 at Shinjuku Box.[54]

In February, the group announced their second world tour The Connect, with the first show held in Seoul at Jang Chung Arena on May 26 and 27.[55]

On March 26, the group officially released their sixth mini-album The Connect: Dejavu, containing seven tracks with the lead title track "Jealousy", and the songs "If Only", co-written by Wonho, and "Special", co-written by Jooheon. "Jealousy" was produced by Hayden Bell, Shane Simmons & Harry Sommerdahland.[56] In this comeback, they won a music broadcast award again through SBS MTV's The Show.[57]

In April, Monsta X partnered with Lens Town, a fashion eyewear and contact lens company, to work as models. They 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.[58] On April 25, they released their first Japanese studio album Piece with the lead title track "Puzzle", including the songs from their previous Japanese single albums and four additional songs. Piece reached number one on Tower Records' chart all store, number three on the weekly Oricon Albums Chart and Billboard Japan Hot Albums chart. On April 27, they started their first Japan tour in Nagoya.[59][60]

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.[61]

On August 1, Monsta X released a music video for their Japanese comeback "Livin' It Up", while the single album was released on September 12.[62]

On October 1, the group became a print model for Tony Moly's new lip tint cosmetic line. On October 4, they partnered with the Italian clothing company Moncler, with the company's new flagship store in Minato ward, Tokyo.[63] On October 22, Monsta X released part one of their second studio album Take.1 Are You There?, with the title track "Shoot Out".[64] On November 9, an English version of "Shoot Out" was released.[65]

In December, Monsta X performed for iHeartRadio's Jingle Ball Tour, making them the first Korean group to perform at iHeartRadio's annual event.[66][67]

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

On January 20, Monsta X released the second part of their second studio album Take.2 We Are Here along with its lead single "Alligator".[68][69] At this time, Jooheon changed his stage name for English activities to Joohoney.[69] In March, Monsta X collaborated with music producer Steve Aoki for the track "Play It Cool" and its English version.[70]

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.[71][72]

On May 27, Monsta X was rendered by Cartoon Network in an episode of the animated series We Bare Bears, making them the first-ever guest stars in an American animated series.[73] On May 28, Monsta X signed with Epic Records for their English language recordings and distribution outside South Korea.[74] On June 14, Monsta X released a new English song called "Who Do U Love?" featuring French Montana.[75] On September 20, the group released another English song called "Love U" and a remix version of "Who Do U Love?" by[76]

In June, NCSoft announced its collaboration with Monsta X though the creation of TwoTuckGom (투턱곰). TwoTuckGom are bears designed to represent each member of Monsta X, and NCSoft released goods themed around the bears, including stationary and plushes.[77] For promotion of the goods, Monsta X began a series of variety shows with TwoTuckGom.[78][79][80]

In September, it was announced that Monsta X had partnered with TogetherBand to become ambassadors for the United Nations' Goal 16.[81][82]

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.[83] On October 28, the group released their seventh EP Follow: Find You containing eight tracks with the lead singles "Find You" and "Follow".[84]

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.[85][86][87] Fans expressed their disapproval and requested of Starship that he be reinstated in the group.[88][89] Wonho was subsequently cleared of drug charges in March 2020 and was signed with a subsidiary of Starship Entertainment to pursue a solo career.[90]

On December 4, the group performed at the 2019 Mnet Asian Music Awards at the Nagoya Dome in Japan.[91] In December, the group performed for the second year in a row for iHeartRadio's Jingle Ball Tour.[92] On December 19, the group released "Magnetic", a collaboration with Colombian singer Sebastián Yatra, with Yatra singing in Spanish and Monsta X singing in English and Spanish.[93] The group also performed at MDL Beast festival in Saudi Arabia, performing thirteen songs including performing "Play It Cool" alongside Steve Aoki.[94]

2020: All About Luv, Fantasia X and Fatal Love[edit]

On January 11, Joohoney announced that he would take a break from the group to focus on his mental health.[95]

On Valentine's Day, Monsta X released their sixth studio album and first all-English album All About Luv.[7] It debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200 and number seven on the US Rolling Stone Top 200.[5][6]

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, Monbebe.[96]

On March 30, the group released their seventh Japanese single "Wish on the Same Sky", ahead of the physical release of the single album of the same name on April 15. Upon debut, it ranked number one on the weekly Tower Records chart and number seven on the weekly Billboard Japan Hot 100 chart.[97] It ranked number one overall for the first half of 2020 on the Tower Records chart.[98]

On May 26, the group had their first Korean comeback of the year, with the debut of their eighth EP Fantasia X, with the lead single "Fantasia".[99] Prior to this comeback, Joohoney had rejoined promotions with the group and thus, they were a six-member group for the promotion of "Fantasia".[100]

The group performed at the Time 100 Talks, where they also voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as drawing attention to the work of medical professionals during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[82][101]

The group had announced a fourth world tour,[102] 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.[103][104] They also announced they would hold a live-streamed concert Live From Seoul With Luv.[105] 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.[106] They held the event through the streaming platform LiveXLive and performed several songs from their English-language album All About Luv, as well as several from their most recent Korean EP Fantasia X and several older title tracks.[107]

In September, the group was announced to be participating in the "Visit Cultural Heritage Campaign", a campaign to promote traditional Korean culture through tours of South Korea's UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[108][109][110]

In October, Monsta X announced their third studio album Fatal Love, which was released on November 2, with the lead single "Love Killa".[111][112][113] Monsta X also announced their eighth Japanese single album, which included the Japanese versions of their title tracks "Love Killa" and "Fantasia", and was released on December 16.[114]

The group was announced as the ambassadors for the 19th International Anti-Corruption Conference, which was hosted in Seoul in December 2020.[115]

2021: Flavors of Love, One of a Kind, Shownu's enlistment and The Dreaming[edit]

In January, the group was announced as global brand ambadassors for the cosmetics brand Urban Decay.[116][117] The group was also announced to be one of the artists featuring on NCSoft's new platform Universe, beginning with an original series called Area 51: The Code.[118]

Monsta X also released a new Japanese single album on March 10, with the lead single "Wanted" and another original Japanese track "Neo Universe".[119] The lead single "Wanted" was pre-released ahead of the physical album release on February 10, and the music video was released on February 13.[120][121] Following the release of "Wanted", Monsta X announced the release of their third Japanese studio album Flavors of Love, released on May 5, which includes their Japanese singles released since 2020, as well as five new Japanese tracks.[122]

In May, the group announced the release of their ninth EP One of a Kind and its lead single "Gambler", set for June 1.[123] Starship announced that Shownu will take a hiatus from the group and will not participate in the group's upcoming promotional activities due to resurfacing issues of retinal detachment.[124]

On June 15, the group's American manager, Eshy Gazit announced the launch of a new label venture Intertwine, in partnership with BMG. Monsta X and Wonho are the first two artists involved in the partnership. The venture also finalized a separate distribution deal for Monsta X's two upcoming Korean albums, partnering with South Korea's Starship Entertainment, as well as confirming a 2021 release for the group's second English-language album.[2]

Shownu enlisted for his mandatory military service on July 22. He will serve as public service worker due to previous surgery for left eye retinal detachment.[125]

On July 26, Monsta X released the promotional single "Kiss or Death" through Universe Music for the mobile application Universe.[126]

In September, the group announced their new single "One Day", set to be released on September 10.[127][128]

In October, Monsta X is announced to be joining this year's iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour. The group is set to perform at Philadelphia on December 13, Washington D.C. on December 14, Atlanta on December 16, and Miami on December 19.[129][130] Monsta X also announced that they would be making a comeback in late-November.[131]

On December 10, Monsta X will release their second English-language album The Dreaming.[132]


Monsta X is known for having a unique style, often described as intense or aggressive, they combine elements of hip hop, EDM and pop.[1][7] Philip Merrill described their sound for the Grammy's news publication as distinct in the K-pop scene with Monsta X "adding their Korean eclectic backgrounds to a meld between American rap, rock and pop, they bring a throbbing rhythmic bounce, lyrics hard enough to slide in raps at will, melodies pop enough to hold you, all with a rock edge as the greater context".[133] Their aggressive style with "tracks centred around loud, clattering, electronic instrumentals, vicious rap verses and striking vocals" has been influential across the fourth generation of K-pop.[8]

While they are often known for their intense style, their albums frequently are a mix between intense songs and softer ballads. For example, Michael Cerio of described their album Follow: Find You as "a balance of ballads and bangers".[134] Their English album All About Luv, was noted for its sound change from much of their Korean work, being less of a "dance-orientated album" and instead focused on "an overwhelming sense of sentimentality and smoothness".[135] The album was also said to have proven that "K-pop transcends language barriers".[136]


Current members[edit]

Former member[edit]


Korean albums[edit]

Japanese albums[edit]

English albums[edit]



Year Network Series Role Ref.
2019 Cartoon Network We Bare Bears Themselves [139]


Year Network Series Role Ref.
2015 KBS2 The Producers Themselves [140]
Naver TV Cast High-End Crush [141]
2016 iQiyi Good Evening, Teacher [24]
2017 KBS2 Hit the Top [142]
2021 Universe Area 51: The Code [118]

Reality shows[edit]

Year Network Show Ref.
2014–2015 Mnet No.Mercy [143]
1theK Deokspatch
2015 Deokspatch X [12]
Deokspatch X²
2016 Right Now! [23]
2017 V Live No Exit Broadcast [144]
JTBC2 Monsta X-Ray [37]
Monsta X-Ray 2 [44]
2018 Monsta X-Ray 3 [145]
Rakuten Viki When You Call My Name (with Gallant) [146]
2019 TWOTUCKGOM (투턱곰) Monsta X's Puppy Day [78]
2020 Monsta X's TWOTUCKBEBE Day [79]
KT Seezn Monsta X's on Vacation [147]
TWOTUCKGOM (투턱곰) Monsta X's Newtroland [80]
2021 Naver Now Let's Go [148]

Tours and concerts[edit]

Asian tours[edit]

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

World tours[edit]

Virtual concerts[edit]

  • Live From Seoul With Luv (2020)

Awards and nominations[edit]


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External links[edit]