By now, we all know BTS, and any self-respecting K-pop fan should be up to date with the outpouring and ongoings of Exo and NCT. But the story hardly started there. If you’re a true fan, get to know these second generation boy groups who put K-pop on the map, paving the way for their younger contemporaries. Before Blackpink – 7 second-gen K-pop girl groups you need to know TVXQ: rising gods of the east One of the most notable pioneers of the second Hallyu wave is TVXQ. Originally a five-member band, ex-members formed their own group, JYJ, while remaining members perform as a duo. From their debut in 2003, to their breakthrough with Rising Sun in 2005 and the record-breaking Mirotic three years later, TVXQ have been supported by a steady fanbase, known globally as Cassiopeias and a dedicated Japanese fandom who call themselves BigEast. Super Junior: kings of the Hallyu wave Debuting with 12 members in 2005, Super Junior took the world by storm after its bestselling single, Sorry, Sorry became a commercial success. The group dominated the K-pop landscape for several years, in Korea, across Asia, and globally; and was the first to introduce subunit groups that catered to specific fandoms, such as in China. Why doesn’t K-pop star Taeyang have any friends? Bigbang: kings of K-pop Bigbang rose to fame after their hit song, Lies topped charts and won them major awards in 2007. Since then, the five-member group ruled the scene, praised for their ingenuity, creativity and versatility in approaching multiple genres. To this day, Bigbang members are each popular on their own, collaborating with label-mates and releasing solo tracks and becoming icons in spheres outside music, such as in fashion and the art scene. 5 things to know about BigBang’s lead singer Daesung SHINee: the princes of K-pop Thanks in part to the fame of their hyungs Super Junior, SHINee’s 2008 debut with the song Replay , was an instant success, making them best new male group that year. Because of SHINee’s staying power, the bands fans, nicknamed Shawols, have grown up together with their idols. More than a decade after the group’s debut and following band member’s Jonghyun’s death by suicide in 2017 , his memory lives on with SHINee and Shawols. Why is K-pop’s Taemin, of SHINee and SuperM, nicknamed ‘Magic Hands’? 2PM: beast Idols Unlike their flower boy contemporaries, 2PM flaunted a tough boy image, thus earning the nickname “jim seung-dol” which means “beast idols”. From their bulky frames to their choice of clothes, intense acrobatic choreography and mature themes in their songs, 2PM’s macho image was evident. Debuting in 2009 as a seven-member group before Jay Park left, 2PM has carried on and continues to enjoy enormous fame to this day. How Jay Park bridges from K-pop to hip-hop Beast/Highlight: kings of the ballad Since its members come from different agencies and are long-time trainees, or have auditioned to be a part of other groups but rejected, the band once known as Beast, or B2ST, were nicknamed an underdog act. Banding together, they debuted in 2009 and proved themselves as one of Korea’s most talented singers. After line-up changes and switching agencies to form their own, the group is now known as Highlight and remains well-loved by fans all over the world. 4 times Blackpink caused controversy – before the How You Like That MV FT Island: first idol band Regarded as Korea’s first “idol group”, FT Island debuted in 2007, taking an unusual path by focusing on promotions overseas. FT Island gained popularity in Japan and topped charts, performed at Japanese music festivals and released a Japanese debut album. Their global success paved the way for other idol bands, such as CNBlue and N Flying. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .