Article: Top 10 Collabs Between Korean Acts And Western Artists

The global phenomenon called K-pop made a foray into world music, holding the hand of PSY, whose unforgettable smash hit “Gangnam style” took the world by storm. The song dominated charts worldwide and had state leaders and Hollywood actors dancing to its beat. Many acknowledge PSY’s role in introducing K-pop into world music and making possible the success of numerous Korean acts in the world music market, especially in North America, where it’s harder to break into because of language barriers and prejudice. Third-generation groups like BTS, BLACKPINK, EXO, NCT-127, Twice, and Got7 dominated the Billboard and iTunes charts with their mesmerizing concepts, fast beats, and jaws-dropping choreographies. Fourth-generation groups like Ateez, Stray Kids, Itzy, Enhypen, and Aespa followed suit. Western music began to acknowledge the tour de force that is K-pop. Like us, many artists fell under their spell and collaborated with Korean artists on multiple projects. This incredible fusion of western music and Korean culture produced some extraordinary music. We rank them below:

1. Boy With Luv (BTS, Halsey)

The K-Pop supergroup BTS is almost synonymous with K-Pop. Even if you are not acquainted with K-Pop, you have heard of BTS. Since their debut in 2013, they have taken K-Pop to new heights. They are the first K-Pop group to be nominated for a Grammy award. They have collaborated with prominent artists like Steve Aoki, Coldplay, Megan Thee Stallion, Halsey, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Nas X. For “Boy with Luv,” they partnered with Halsey. The result is a sweet pop song with an addictive chorus that blends Korean and English lyrics. The music video has a whopping 1.5 billion views on YouTube.


2. Ice Cream (BLACKPINK, Selena Gomez)

BLACKPINK is one of the most successful exports of K-Pop. The girl group has reigned over the charts and collaborated with the likes of Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa, Selena Gomez, and Cardi B. The bubblegum pop song “Ice Cream” made in collaboration with Selena Gomez, was criticized for its double entendres, but was a success, garnering over 700 million views on YouTube.


3. Written In The Stars (Wendy (Red Velvet), John Legend) 

“Witten in the Stars” flew under most people’s radars, but this soulful duet is undoubtedly one of the best collaborations between an American and a Korean artist. The R&B ballad was sung by EGOT winner John Legend and Red Velvet’s Wendy. Wendy’s angelic tunes and John Legend’s rich baritone heighten the emotions of the sweet love song.


4. Dream Of You (Chung Ha, R3HAB)

For “Dream of You,” soloist Chung Ha teamed up with Dutch-Morrocan DJ R3HAB. Chung Ha shines in the risqué concept, which attests to her versatility as an artist. The bass-heavy EDM track boasts her powerful vocals and employs the anti-drop. An anti-drop is when the build-up is followed by a minimal chorus instead of a climactic one.


5. Pretty Please  (Jackson Wang (Got7), Galantis)

While technically Chinese, Jackson Wang is a member of the veteran K-Pop group Got7. He is multilingual, and recently became the first Chinese solo artist to perform at Coachella. In “Pretty Please,” he collaborated with Galantis, a Swedish electronic dance music duo where he showcases his raspy vocals and dance skills. The music video is directed by Jackson, and he acknowledges his inspiration from the classic 90’s Honk Kong movies.


6. Let's Shut Up And Dance (Lay (EXO), NCT 127, Jason Derulo)

This collaboration between Jason Derulo, EXO’s Lay, and NCT 127 is marked by sensual vocals, lively beats, and incredible choreography. Besides being the perfect dance track, “Let’s Shut Up and Dance” calls for global unity through dance and music. The music video was filmed in South Korea, Ethiopia, Jamaica, London, and Los Angeles and featured the performances of amazing underground street dancers and professionals.


7. Physical (Hwasa (MAMAMOO), Dua Lipa)

“Physical” is the collaboration of two queens- the current “it girl” Dua Lipa and Hwasa. A part of the girl group Mamamoo and a successful soloist in her own right, Hwasa featured on Dua Lipa’s remixed track “Physical.” The song features Korean and English lyrics sung in the vein of ‘80s synth dance. Hwasa also opened Dua Lipa’s performance in MAMA 2019.


8. Hangover (PSY, Snoop Dogg)

The collaboration between Korean superstar PSY and the eccentric American rapper Snoop Dogg baffled many people. While unlikely to cure an actual hangover with its cacophonous hook, the music video is amusing. It features delightful shenanigans by PSY and Snoop Dogg where the duo bathes in a fountain and skips through an amusement park accompanied by two middle-aged Korean women.


9. Dirty Vibe (G-Dragon (Big Bang), CL (2NE1), Skrillex)

Any collaboration between the iconic groups, Big Bang and 2NE1, is bound to be incredible. CL has become a successful soloist since the girl group’s hiatus in 2015, while G-Dragon is the leader of the supergroup Big Bang and ofttimes referred to as the ‘King of K-pop’ for his achievements and influence as a musician. “Dirty Vibe” features explicit all-English lyrics by CL and G-Dragon with the backing of an EDM track by Skrillex.


10. A Little Space (ATEEZ, Pentatonix)

In 2021, three times Grammy winners Pentatonix collaborated with Ateez, a promising fourth-generation group, in their remix of “A Little Space.” Pentatonix reached out to the South Korean boy group. The song has newly added Korean lyrics and features Yunho, San, and Jongho of Ateez. All three of them were praised for their melodious voices, which perfectly complemented the upbeat track.