Soul in Seoul: African American Popular Music and K-pop

Soul in Seoul: African American Popular Music and K-pop is the first scholarly book to examine how contemporary Korean popular music (K-pop) references and incorporate musical and performative elements of various genres of African American popular music. Specifically, it argues that K-pop simultaneously cites instrumentation and vocals from various genres of black popular music and employs distinct Korean musical strategies, thereby enhancing the R&B music tradition. Such citational strategies are deemed authentic by global fan critics who function as part of K-pop’s music press. Defining K-pop as an umbrella rather than a genre, the book explores music by Korean pop (commonly referred to as “idols”), R&B and hip-hop solo artists and groups to reveal how K-pop functions as a global branch in a  global tradition of R&B music.

Soul in Seoul Playlist

Korean Pop Groups (“Idols”)

g.o.d (Groove Overdose): One of the oldest K-pop “idol” groups, g.o.d’s sound is based on a consistent engagement of funk leveraged with the powerhouse R&B vocals of its lead vocalist.

  1. Observation, Chapter 1 (1999)* | 2. So You Can Come Back to Me, Chapter 1 (1999) | 3. With Little Men, Chapter 1 (1999) | 4. Promise, Chapter 1 (1999) | 5. Love and Remember, Chapter 2 (1999) | 6. Dance All Night, Chapter 2 (1999) | 7. Friday Night, Chapter 2 (1999) | 8. Five Men’s Story, Chapter 2 (1999) | 9. 21C Our Hope, Chapter 2 (1999) | 10. One Candle, Chapter 3 (2000)* | 11. Need You, Chapter 3 (2000) | 12. Lie, Chapter 3 (2000) | 13. Dance With Me, Chapter 3 (2000) | 14. Road, Chapter 4 (2001) | 15. The Place You Where You Should Be, Chapter 4 (2001) | 16. Let’s Go, Chapter 4 (2001) | 17. Report to the Dance Floor, Chapter 5: Letter (2002) | 18. Lately, Chapter 5: Letter (2002) | 19. The Reason Why Opposites Attract (Bandaega Kkeulrineun Iyu), Ordinary Day (2004) |  20. I Don’t Know Your Heart (Ni Mameul Molla), Into the Sky (2005) |  21. It’s Alright (ft. G-Soul), Into the Sky (2005) | 22. Crime (Mujoe), Into the Sky (2005) | 23. Change, Into the Sky (2005) | 24. Sky Blue Promise, Chapter 8 (2014)* | 25. Stand Up, Chapter 8 (2014) | 26. Saturday Night, Chapter 8 (2014)* | 27. G’swag, Chapter 8 (2014)