Much like fans of movies and comic books have the Marvel universe to explore, K-pop’s global army have their own array of heroes in the musical phenom known as NCT. Launched by K-pop producer and impresario Lee Soo-man in 2016, NCT (Neo Culture Technology) reimagined the boy-band model of superstar acts like BTS and EXO by expanding it to include an unlimited number of members spread across a variety of sometimes overlapping configurations. Apple Music Up Next artists NCT 127 (the number indicates the longitude of their Seoul hometown) were the first of these sub-units to make their debut in 2016, with the six-strong NCT U, their teenaged counterparts in NCT DREAM and the China-based offshoot WayV soon following. While the NCT groups share high standards when it comes to good looks and slickly choreographed dance moves, there’s also some room for musical individuality. Listeners eager for some bass-heavy hip-hop swagger turn to NCT 127 hits like 2017’s “Cherry Bomb” while NCT DREAM combine pop hooks with spaced-out EDM in 2020’s “Ridin’.” The second album to combine members from the sub-units, NCT RESONANCE Pt. 1 - The 2nd Album, is the action-packed, Avengers-style matchup it promised to be; this explains why it racked up over a million in presales before hitting No. 1 in South Korea and No. 2 in Japan in the fall of 2020.
HOMETOWNSeoul, South Korea