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A Look Into NCT

K-pop’s Biggest Boy Group
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NCT in Tokyo, Japan for NCT NATION: To The World

   In the ever-evolving world of K-pop, another group that has risen to immense popularity is NCT. Like other third-generation groups such as BTS and Blackpink, NCT has captured fans worldwide with their unique sound and stellar performances, singing mostly in Korean but with some songs in English.  

   Since their debut in 2016, NCT has grown exponentially in popularity, solidifying their place as one of the top groups in the industry. Their innovative music and dynamic group structure have set them apart, making them a force to be reckoned in K-pop. 


Who is NCT 

   NCT is a K-pop boy group with 26 members. According to the website KProfiles NCT stands for Neo Cultural Technology, and it was formed under the company SM Entertainment. The group was first introduced to the world in January 2016, but it wasn’t until April that the first sub-unit debuted. The 26 members are divided into six different sub-units except for members Mark and Haechan who are in 3 sub-units: NCT U, NCT 127, and NCT DREAM. 

    The NCT Fandom Wiki mentions that before any of the members debuted, most trained under SM Entertainments pre-debut team, SMROOKIES. Originally, people speculated that the group would contain 40 members; however, they debuted with 20 members at first, and six members were added, creating the final sub-unit NCT WISH.  


Popularity Among Students 

    Every K-pop group has a strong teenage fanbase, and NCT is no exception. Junior Gabriela Betancourt said, “The amount of members in NCT is what first sparked my interest, and so I decided to learn the members’ names. The different subunits made me get more interested in wanting to learn more about them.”  

     Another junior, Nathalia Delgado, said, “I got into NCT when I was watching reaction videos and through that, they were suggested to me.”  

     I personally got into NCT because I would often see edits of them on social media such as Instagram and TikTok. The first song that I ever heard from the group was “From Home” and this got me interested in the group. 



     Debuting on April 9, 2016, NCT U became the first official sub-unit of NCT. They debuted with the double digital single “The 7th Sense” and “Without You.” With every release, the line-up of NCT U changes. The Kpop Fandom Wiki states the group’s original members were Taeyong, Mark, Ten, Doyoung, and Jaehyun. The group is most known for their R&B and alternative music style.  

    NCT U has several popular songs such as “Baby Don’t Stop,” “Make a Wish,” “90s Love,” and “Baggy Jeans.” While not all the original members are included in every song, at least three or four of them sing in every song. Depending on the song and the lyrics, the member line-up changes.  

NCT 127 

     NCT 127 is the first fixed and second sub-unit of NCT. They were the first sub-unit to have a consistent and unchanging lineup of seven members: Taeil, Yuta, Taeyong, Winwin, Jaehyun, Mark, and Haechan. In December 2016, two more members, Doyoung and Johnny, were added to the unit. In September 2018, the final member, Jungwoo was introduced to the group. 

    They are known for their experimental hip-hop based music, which they often refer to as “neo music” as well as their choreographies, performances, vocal and rap abilities. The website Kpopping states that on July 7, 2016, the group debuted with “Fire Truck” with the original seven members. One of their most popular songs is “Sticker” which was released on September 17, 2021. The website K-pop Archives shows the song received a total of 10 first place awards.



    On August 18, 2016, SM Entertainment announced the third sub-unit NCT DREAM. They debuted on August 25, 2016, with their single “Chewing Gum” with members: Mark, Renjun, Chenle, Jaemin, Haechan, Jeno, Jisung.  Their debut single peaked at number two on the Billboard World Digital Songs Sales chart as well as number 23 on the Spotify Viral 50 chart upon release.  

NCT DREAM while filming their cover of “Candy” From left to right: Chenle, Jeno, Mark, Renjun, Haechan, Jaemin, Jisung

    A senior at Green Springs High School, Alejandra Estrada, said, “NCT DREAM is 100% my favorite unit! I love their concept and their bond.”  

    On December 16, 2022, they released a remake version of Candy by first generation group H.O.T. for their Winter Special Mini Album. According to YouTube, it currently has 56 million views and they also received two music show wins for their cover.  



    Chinese boy group WayV is the fourth sub-unit for NCT. Unlike the three previous sub-units, WayV is under Label V, which is SM Entertainment’s Chinese sub-level. According to an article posted on the Korean pop culture website Soompi, WayV made their official debut on January 17, 2019, with a Chinese version of NCT 127’s “Regular.” The unit has six members: Kun, Ten, Winwin, Hendery, Xiaojun, and Yangyang.  

    The name WayV stands for “We are your Vision”, and the group mostly promotes in China, but they also promote in other countries and participate in NCT activities. They’re the second fixed sub-unit after NCT 127 as well as the only sub-unit that didn’t name their fandom NCTzen. The website Allkpop states that while NCTzen is the official fandom name for NCT fans, Wayv fans are called WayZenNi.  



    Dojaejung, the fifth sub-unit of NCT, consists of three members: Doyoung, Jaehyun, and Jungwoo. According to the website Koreaboo, the unit name consists of the three members names – “Do” from Doyoung, “Jae” from Jaehyun, and “Jung” from Jungwoo. While the group was formed in early 2022, it wasn’t until March 2023 that SM confirmed the unit would debut as another NCT sub-unit. On April 17th, 2023, the trio officially debuted with their extended play (EP) “Perfume.” 

   Junior Gabriela Betancourt says, “I know NCT DOJAEJUNG because of their hit song “Perfume.” I also know their other song “Kiss” and both songs are bangers.” Gabriela says that she likes the members’ visuals and their amazing voices. 



    The sixth and final addition, NCT WISH, is the Japanese sub-unit of NCT. The group consists of six members: Yushi, Jaehee, Sion, Riku, Ryo, Sakuya. On October 8, 2023, they released their single “Hands Up” but didn’t officially debut until February 28, 2024. After 21 days had passed since they debuted, they received their first music show win on “The Show”. In January 2024, US Grammy selected NCT WISH as “11 Rookie K-pop Acts to Know in 2024” on their official website.  

NCT WISH after receiving their first win on The Show. From left to right: Yushi, Sion, Sakuya, Riku, Ryo, Jaehee

    During the pre-debut era of NCT WISH, I closely followed their journey towards their debut on Instagram. The visuals the group members had drew me into them, and I eagerly waited for them to debut. Their pre-debut song “Hands Up” quickly became a favorite of mine and I couldn’t wait for them to release more music. 

    Although NCT has been in the industry for almost eight years, their popularity hasn’t stopped increasing. With their catchy tunes and visually appealing performances, they’ve captured the hearts of young fans who are eager to dive deeper into the diverse world of this talented group. 


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