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What The Hype: Meet Stray Kids, the up-and-coming K-pop game changer

Stray Kids are not led astray. Now, they’re on the way to pursue their dreams.

Photo: JYP Entertainment

K-pop band names are usually pre-determined by their entertainment label before their debut. But that’s not the case for Stray Kids.

Their band name Stray Kids was initially conceptualised by the members, referring to a lost child who wanted to chase their dreams.

And they did it. The eight-piece band even staged their debut performance here at the Singapore Indoor Stadium for the KAMP Festival back in 2019. Come this Sunday (5 Feb), they are slated to play a sold-out show at the same venue after four years.

Ahead of their concert, here are three reasons why Stray Kids are the up-and-coming game changer.

1. Subunit Galore

It’s not uncommon for an eight-man team like Stray Kids to split themselves up into smaller subunits. 

But what sets them apart is that they have special names for each unit — like 3RACHA, Dance Racha and Vocal Racha.


3RACHA at Music Universe K-909.

Stray Kids’ song-producing arm 3RACHA consists of Bang Chan, Chang Bin and Han. They were initially a trio under JYP Entertainment but are now a part of Stray Kids. 

The group also boasts a dance subunit with Lee Know, Hyun Jin and Felix. Named Dance Racha, the trio first made their appearance through a dance video in late 2018. Their efforts paid off as they scored opportunities to perform on tour, and most recently at year-end song festivals last year.

The last subunit, Vocal Racha is made up of Seung Min and I.N. The duo first covered labelmate JJ Project’s Tomorrow, Today (2017) and later released an original track My Universe (2020).

2. Content Kings

If you just got to know Stray Kids, you can dive into their non-exhaustive list of bite-sized content uploaded on their official Youtube Channel.

You can binge the reality survival programme that started it all – the one which all members appeared on prior to their debut. Play a compiled playlist of the members’ songs in SKZ-Replay or watch all their humorous antics on various variety programmes in SKZ Code.

3. Crafting a genre of their own

Strong, impactful and explosive. These words come to mind to describe Stray Kids. 

After the release of God’s Menu (2020), Stray Kids have cooked up a genre they call their own. It’s one which Korean media coined as a mala taste genre. The term mala originates from malatang, a popular Chinese spicy, numbing hot soup.

It’s because God’s Menu boasted a mix of loud and spicy beats that surprisingly came together nicely. But it had worked against them too. Their other tracks Thunderous (2021) and Back Door (2018) have received some criticism for being too overbearing and noisy.

But the band took it in their stride to embrace such comments. They now accept the term noise music to describe their musical colour, as revealed by leader Bang Chan in an interview with Teen Vogue.

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