Eight-piece boy group, Stray Kids, may have only been in the K-pop industry for a little over two years, but their bold musicality and powerful stage performances only prove they're here to stay in the long run. They're one of the fastest rising K-pop acts in the past year, and I bet you'll need little to no reason not to join the Stay fandom. Believe it now: Stray Kids is only gonna get bigger than ever.
In 2017, Stray Kids started out as contestants of a K-pop survival show of the same name, which was created by JYP Entertainment and Mnet. The final episode revealed that the group would debut as a nine-member team consisting of Bang Chan, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, I.N, and former member Woojin. They officially debuted in 2018 with the hip hop and EDM track "District 9".
Known for their aggressive beats and ferocious rap lines, what gives Stray Kids a unique flavor is the group's innate artistic talent in songwriting and producing their own music. The producing trio 3RACHA—Bang Chan, Changbin, and Han—actually debuted prior to Stray Kids as a hip hop group. Now a sub-unit, they are the team heavily involved in making music for Stray Kids and have since influenced the other members to try their hand in writing and composing. As early twentysomethings, Stray Kids have a sincere self-awareness in their lyricism which tackles their personal struggles in their careers and figuring out their identities. Their 2018 single, "My Pace", is a power anthem about chasing one's dreams at your own pace and time.
In October 2019, Woojin left Stray Kids and JYP Entertainment for personal reasons. This only proved to be a minor setback for the new eight-member group's activities because they kicked off their second world tour, District 9: Unlock, the very next month. 2020 was only going to be bigger for the group: In June, Stray Kids released their first full-length album, Go Live, with the record-breaking title track "God's Menu", a bombastic dance song with cooking and food metaphors in the lyrics, choreography, and music video concept.
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Curious about these fourth-gen rising stars? Here's a quick guide to knowing more about the eight members of Stray Kids.
Bang Chan: Leader, producer, vocalist, dancer, rapper
22-year-old Bang Chan is Stray Kids' leader and oldest member of the group. Having grown up in Australia, Bang Chan is fluent in English and is the group's unofficial translator for their foreign press interviews. His members see him as one of the busiest and hardworking teammates and look up to him as an older brother. Bang Chan's vocals are sweet and clear—a contrast to his bold power moves when he dances. He is also naturally charming and vocal about his opinions, especially when it comes to addressing important issues that concern their fans. In May, Bang Chan released "I Don't Want To Admit", a song he wrote, composed, and produced himself.
Lee Know, 22, has a calm and easy-going presence in real life, but his onstage persona can't be any more different. An accomplished dancer who even went on tour with BTS in Japan, Lee Know has a sensual charisma he exudes in his performances. He's known to be quiet in public but one of his adorable quirks is posting selfies with the most random filters. See more of his dance prowess in his solo performance "DAWN".
Changbin may love his ~dark~ and brooding alter ego when he goes on stage, but he's actually an upbeat and cheerful guy off-stage. The 21-year-old also has the fastest rap skills in the team and spits out bars and verses with a distinct grit in his tone. Changbin also thinks of making music as a way of healing. In his latest solo release, "Streetlight", Changbin raps and sings about privately dealing with his personal pains.
Hyunjin: Dancer, rapper, vocalist, visual
20-year-old Hyunjin can be seen as playful and expressive, but he has a quieter side to him once the cameras go off. Apart from his scene-stealing dance talent, he has a sweet falsetto voice and is learning how to write lyrics and compose his own songs. Hyunjin has also taken on hosting and is currently one of the MCs of the MBC music show, Music Core. Check out his contemporary dance—which he self-produced and choreographed—to Billie Eilish's "When The Party's Over".
Han, 20, is arguably the funniest and wittiest member of the group. He has a natural likeability about him, especially in their press tours. But he's actually an introvert and prefers to recharge by doing solo activities. Han is also very sensitive and expresses his emotions in his solo work, like "Close". Inspired by the opening scene of the 2004 film Closer, the song is about an encounter with a stranger and sharing this inexplicable connection with them.
Just like Bang Chan, Felix also grew up in Australia and treats the former like his big Aussie brother. His members also consider him the sweetest one in the group. Even though he only trained for just one year, the 20-year-old has an intimidating and unique stage presence which is highlighted by his instantly recognizable deep voice. Felix's rap lines are so distinct that fan-made compilations of them have made the rounds online.
20-year-old Seungmin has a personality all his own: He is quite the oddball, has random bursts of energy, and is extremely affectionate to his members. Seungmin is also the biggest fanboy of labelmates DAY6 and brings them up on almost any chance he gets. He actually paid tribute to his idols when he released an emotional cover of DAY6's "You Were Beautiful".
I.N may be the youngest member of Stray Kids but there's nothing subpar in his talents. On stage, the 19-year-old looks and acts like a seasoned idol. But once the lights are out, I.N becomes the baby boy of the group that he is. I.N also has this unique talent of singing trot, a K-pop genre that originated in the '90s.
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