Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

We all know and love the hottest K-pop groups of today, but there are certain groups that will forever hold a special place in our hearts!

So many groups come and go, but it seems there are some groups who just deserved so much more.

Whether they lacked support from their labels, weren’t treated properly, lost members, didn’t get the love they deserved from fans, or disbanded completely, check out this male edition of 10 K-pop groups that really deserved (or still deserve) better!

1) MBLAQ

MBLAQ debuted in 2009 under J. Tune Camp and put out many popular hits like “This Is War,” “Smoky Girl,” and many more over the years.

However, most fans still feel like they never got the support they needed to capitalize on their global popularity and become a lasting success. Unfortunately, their last successful comeback was in early 2014 with “Be A Man.”

In December of that year, members Lee Joon and Thunder announced they were leaving since their contracts were up. Although the remaining members made a comeback as a trio in 2015, it just wasn’t the same for many fans.

Since then, the members went on to serve in the military and membesr G.O and Mir are currently enjoying success as YouTubers. Member Sangho revealed his desire to act more and went on to star as the lead in the film “Rock N Roll Grandpa.”

2) BOYFRIEND

BOYFRIEND of Starship Entertainment debuted in 2011 with their self-titled track “Boyfriend.”

Their hot debut took the K-pop world by storm! The group was most recognizable for their high-energy songs and dances, and of course, for the fact that they had twins Youngmin and Kwangmin in the group.

The group had many recognizable songs such as ”Witch,” “Janus,” and others. In March 2015, they released their Alice in Wonderland inspired song, “Bounce.”

At this point in their musical career, the label decided to promote the group more in Japan, thus halting any Korean comebacks for almost two years. Starship then began to shift their focus to their newer groups.

The group finally made a Korean comeback in 2017 with “Star.” However, due to their long break, the song didn’t perform as well as their past songs.

As a final attempt, in 2018, four of the six BOYFRIEND members (Donghyun, Kwangmin, Youngmin, and Minwoo) participated on The KBS show “The Unit”.

After the show, no further news was released on the group until their contracts expired in May of 2019 when Starship announced the group was officially disbanding.

3) HOTSHOT

HOTSHOT is a six-member boy group under Star Crew Entertainment, consisting of members Junhyuk, Timoteo, Noh Tae Hyun, Ha Sung Woon, San, and Hojung. They debuted on October 31st, 2014, with their single album “Take a Shot.”

In March 2017, Kid Monster (Noh Tae Hyun) and Sungwoon entered the idol survival show “Produce 101: Season 2” as contestants, with the latter qualifying to become a member of Wanna One.

In October 2017, members Timoteo and Hojung entered the idol rebooting survival show “The Unit” as contestants, with the latter qualifying to become a member of UNB. Both Sungwoon and Hojung promoted with their temporary groups until January 2019.

Taehyun, on the other hand, promoted with the project group JBJ for a short while.

The group seems to be fading away with their last comeback being in 2018 and updates on their social media being few and far between. However, several of the members have released solo tracks, so fans can hold their breath that hope is still alive!

Nevertheless, this very talented group has never been able to get the full amount of love that they have deserved.

4) MADTOWN

MADTOWN was a South Korean boy group formed in 2014 by J. Tune Camp. The group consisted of Moos, Daewon, Lee GeonJota, Heo Jun, Buffy, and H.O. Their debut album, Mad Town, was released on October 6th, 2014.

In December of 2016, MADTOWN’s contracts were then sold to GNI Entertainment after J. Tune Camp closed. On September 11th, 2017, the members of MADTOWN filed for an injunction with the Seoul Central District Court against GNI Entertainment to end their exclusive contracts after the CEO was arrested for fraud. 

The Seoul Central District Court ruled in favor of MADTOWN, stating that the terms of their contracts could no longer be enforced by GNI Entertainment. On November 6th of that year, MADTOWN’s legal representative announced that the group was preparing to disband.

Daewon and Lee Geon joined the show “The Unit” and confirmed the group’s sad disbandment on air. Jota and Heo Jun turned to acting, and Moos began to focus on DJ activities.

In October 2018, Jota signed an exclusive contract with King Kong by Starship to promote as an actor under his real name. Lee Geon signed an exclusive contract with Soribada to promote as a solo singer under the new stage name, Lee Woo.

Despite cheering for their solo activities, fans still hope for a reunion in order to see all the members together again.

5) SS501

SS501 debuted on June 8, 2005, with their first EP,  Kyeonggo (Warning).Their second mini-album, entitled Snow Prince, was released in late 2005, five months after their debut.

The group earned both domestic and global popularity almost right away, even winning many rookie awards soon after.

On June 18th, 2010, DSP Media announced that SS501 would end their promotions due to the expiration of their contracts on June 7th, 2010, five years after their debut. As such, the members signed individually with other management companies while stating that they were not officially disbanding. 

Kim Hyun Joong signed with KeyEast Entertainment, Park Jung Min joined CNR Media, and Kim Hyung Jun signed with S-Plus Entertainment. Both Heo Young Saeng and Kim Kyu Jong both signed with B2M Entertainment.

Kim Hyun Joong explained in an interview that there wasn’t a company that would accept them as a whole group at the time, thus the group decided to take the chance to focus on their solo activities for a while.

Heo Young Saeng, Kim Kyu Jong, and Kim Hyung Jun later got together as the trio sub-unit Double S 301 in 2016, and several of the members have joined each other on joint tours around the globe.

On May 13th of this year, Heo Young Saeng’s new agency, KQ Entertainment, spoke to the media about the possibility of SS501 reuniting by saying, “We are discussing it periodically, but there is nothing we can officially announce yet. We will try to give you good news.”

Despite the passage of time, we hope they’ll still be welcomed warmly when they decide to return!

6) B.A.P

If you are a long-time K-pop fan, you will for sure remember when B.A.P first shook the K-pop scene with hits such as “Warrior,” “1004,” “One Shot,” and more.

The group debuted back in 2012 and gained extensive popularity across the globe. However, in 2014, they had legal conflicts with their agency TS Entertainment.

Leader Bang Yongguk soon inspired many when he took their conflict public in an effort to help the members under his care. After resolving things as best that they could at the time, B.A.P came back to the K-pop scene in November 2015 with “Young, Wild & Free.

In 2018, Yongguk and maknae Zelo left at the end of their contracts, and the rest of the members followed soon after. 

Fans worldwide have debated about the wasted potential of B.A.P to reach an even higher level— despite being an ultra-talented and top-performing group— simply because of their company. There is no doubt that fans wait to see them together again, especially knowing how much they deserved better as a group.

7) THE LEGEND

The Legend debuted under SS Entertainment in 2014 with five members: ListenRoi, Jaehyuk, Lito, and Changsun. They debuted on July 9th, 2014, with the single “Left Out.”

They officially disbanded in May 2017 after their contracts with SS Entertainment were cancelled through a lawsuit.

Though not much is known about their activities since the disbandment, the group had an ardent fanbase, albeit small. It is needless to mention that this group had incredible potential, only if it could have been put to use properly by a good management company.

To see their potential in action, just check out the music video for “Left Out” below!

8) U-KISS

Insanely popular during their prime, U-KISS debuted under NH Media in 2008. Their breakthrough hit was “Man Man Ha Ni” (2009) from their EP ContiUKiss.

After many more popular releases, the group then started facing various changes to the member lineup. With time, U-KISS became another group that was moved by their company to promote more heavily in Japan. As such, their last Korean comeback was in 2016.

Recently, two more members of the K-pop boy group, Eli and Kiseop, decided not to renew their contract and left the group. The group now currently has three members, Soohyun, Hoon, and Jun. 

Soohyun and Hoon are both currently serving in South Korea’s mandatory military service, whereas Jun is currently busy with solo activities and acting.

While no statements have been made about the group’s future or potential disbandment, with the group now down to three members, there is no doubt that many fans feel like the group deserves much better.

9) BLOCK B

There’s always a handful of groups that K-pop fans, as well as non-fans, acknowledge as being next level.

BLOCK B is definitely one of those artists. Right from the title tracks down to the B-sides, from the sub-units to the soloists, this group has done it all (and successfully!).

However, things did not necessarily work out for them to reach the level they hoped as they were overlooked by many.

Although leader Zico brought a lot of attention to the group, it can sometimes be a problem when all of the attention is on just one front man. This proved to be the case when he decided to leave the group, and many fans decided a lot of Block B’s appeal had been lost.

Since then, the group’s future as a seven-member group has been up in the air, despite the other members being incredibly talented themselves and the group worthy of a continued future together.

Altogether, BLOCK B’s discography has an incredible range as there’s always something for everyone’s taste. We wish BLOCK B receives the recognition they truly deserve and can continue successfully in the future as well!

10) ZE:A

ZE:A, composed of nine members, debuted under Star Empire Entertainment in 2010. The group released their debut single album, entitled Nativity, with the lead single “Mazeltov” on January 7, 2010.

The group was full of talent and captured fans’ hearts with their catchy songs (such as “Breathe” below), cool dances, fun personalities, variety show appearances, and much more. In addition, multiple members proved themselves to be incredible actors as well!

On February 9, 2017, it was falsely stated that ZE:A was likely to disband. It was later denied by the members themselves, stating that this was not the case and that they would focus on solo activities with some of the members joining different companies for the time being.

On April 12th, Star Empire gave an official statement confirming that ZE:A is not disbanding and will come back as a group again when the time is right.

As the group is still technically on hiatus and the members seem close, fans anticipate that there may be another comeback someday. However, during the group’s run in the past, they were often overlooked.

Considering the immense talent that came out of this group, they definitely deserved better!

Disbanded or just more deserving, other groups could have also been added to this list: MYNAME, BEATWIN, HISTORY, SPEED, Boys Republic, LU4US, and many more.

Whether these groups didn’t receive the proper support and promotions from their label or just the love and attention they deserved from fans, it’s never too late to go back and listen to their music today!

After all, they’re great groups with amazing discographies that can still be considered bops to this day! For newer fans that did not know about these groups, we hope you have a great time revisiting these classics!


Do you love some of these groups and wish they were more popular too? What other groups would have added to this list? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting to us @whatthekpop1!

Ishani Sarkar is a self-professed learner for life, trying to find meaning and happiness in the smallest of things. She found her safe haven within the world of Korean entertainment and she’s never letting go.

Media: As Credited
Featured Image: DSP Media, TS Entertainment, NH Media