K-Pop

Is It True YG's Vocalists Are Worse Compared to Other Agencies?

Image credit: Legion-Media

Recently another discourse, old as time, surfaced on Twitter. Fans tried to compare idols again but some of their 'hot takes' seem questionable to anyone who's been into K-pop long enough.

No one is crazy enough to dethrone SM Entertainment. Most of the fans, no matter what fandom you are in, know that SM agency is a house for strong and powerful vocals. They've proved they are the best with such famous groups as EXO, SNSD, SHINEE, Super Junior etc.

However, when it comes to establishing a ranking order of all the other big agencies, the opinions start to differ. What shocked and enraged the fans of YG Entertainment artists is that people claimed that JYP and Hybe vocalists are much better than YG ones overall. While it might be understandable since YG artists are mostly famous for their hip-hop style, swag and unparalleled rapping skills, 'main rapper' is not the only position they can brag about.

BIGBANG

Are you really a K-pop fan if you don't know who BIGBANG is? The Kings of K-pop have released many hits that are still often played in Korean karaoke clubs, but have you really paid attention to what they can offer in terms of vocals?

GD and TOP's unique singing style that can only come from being an established rapper is unparalleled with any other in the industry. It might be impossible to find other voices like theirs anywhere. Together with Daesung and Taeyang's powerful vocals that can fill an entire stadium and the emotional gentle voice of Seungri, the artists are able to create an unforgettable and meaningful performance any time.

'Last Dance' is a song BIGBANG released in 2016 before going on hiatus for 6 years due to the members starting to leave for military service, with a 'Flower Road' single track as an exception (it was released in 2018 as a gift to fans). Having that in mind, you'll be swept with feelings as soon as you hear the chorus, or even the first line of the verse.

AKDONG MUSICIANS (AKMU)

The brother and sister duo, Lee Chanhyuk and Lee Suhyun, is well-known among not just K-pop fans but also the general public. Chanhyuk composes all songs for AKMU and does mostly rap parts or low vocals, while Suhyun adds her unique clear and bright voice. She has been participating in many singing reality and variety shows and has the ability to sing in many styles suited for her own songs or any cover. She even loves to add elements of opera-like singing which could make you wonder if she's boasting her skills, playing with the complicated melodies, high notes and techniques that easily.

You don't even need to compose a heavy-filled track or prepare a fancy choreo, just get this amazing sibling duo their microphones – and anyone's soul will sing together with them. All the other instruments are just a cherry on top of their voices.

WINNER

This group has earned themselves a reputation for their outstanding songs for a reason. WINNER has become the first YG group whose style has been mostly shaped with tropical summer melodies and beautiful mellow ballads instead of being all rough and hip-hop, typical for YG. One of the members, Kang Seungyoon, has also confidently taken the crown in 'King of Masked Singer' singing battles six consecutive times. He competed against many skillful opponents and eventually became the show's youngest champion in 2020.

Both fans and the artists hold 'Remember Me' song dear to their heart, since WINNER released this song to pay homage to their journey as a group. It also symbolized a request for the fans to not forget them and a promise to meet them again after all members finish their military service in a few years. The emotional voices of Seungyoon, Jinwoo, Mino and Seunghoon compliment the sentimental lyrics so well it'll make your heart hurt in all the right ways.

iKON

It would not be an overstatement to say that YG artists' ballads are mostly overlooked. iKON is more known for their energetic hip-hop tracks and playful romantic songs as well. However, their slow ballads with poetic lyrics can become a hidden gem to any music lover.

The husky voices of both rappers and vocalists and seamless adlibs are able to move everyone at their concerts. When all members contribute to the harmony, yet each of them has their own uniqueness in the voice. While Koo Junhoe has one of the most recognizable and distinct voices in the whole K-pop industry, it's also impossible not to be impressed by the heart-piercing high notes of Donghyuk. Bobby is a strong and fierce rapper, who adds a husky and unusual tone to a performance when he starts singing. Yunhyeong's voice always overflows with emotions, and Jinhwan's bright, strong singing connects such different voices into one entity. Meanwhile Chanwoo provides a time for you to catch your breath with his soothing low narration-like vocals before the whole group strikes you again with their overwhelming harmony and never-ending adlibs.

BLACKPINK

Blackpink is considered the most popular K-pop girl group in the world, and they are still relevant after all these years. Their main vocalist Rosé has appeared in the singing reality show 'Sea of Hope' along with AKMU's Lee Suhyun, captivating the general public with her gentle, soothing voice. And everybody knows Lisa and Jennie's unique and playful yet savage style of rapping but does anybody really pay attention to their vocal abilities?

With their energetic attitudes, both artists compliment Blackpink's vocalists Jisoo and Rosé, helping them create a charming performance where four distinct voices come together in a pleasant harmony. Again, it is not a surprise to anyone that all YG artists are versatile in both rapping and singing.

TREASURE

Treasure has added refreshing boyish charms to a clique of YG artists. Bang Yedam has been training in the agency since he was a little kid and grew up to be a powerful vocalist and a songwriter.

Despite being the youngest YG group, Treasure has already showcased their promising vocal skills in a 'WAYO' live performance. Jihoon adds confident high notes to Mashiho and Junkyu's stable voices, meanwhile Park Jeongwoo overlays the instrumental background music with a strong vocal melody. The rest of the members usually follow the leading singers to create a beautiful harmony together which will only get better and stronger with experience.

If you listen to YG's artists live performances, you will understand the confusion that fandoms express all the time: how can anybody accuse any of these groups of lip syncing? In their opinions, this sounds like an absolutely ridiculous claim.

The confusion might come from the fact that yes, YG artists' live singing sounds exactly like their CD recordings thanks to their great training, vocal abilities and experience. But the best proof that they are not faking it is the singers themselves. They love to debunk any malicious rumors by being incredibly confident on stage, always playing around with different adlibs, changing melodies and creating various harmonies all the time. And if they are forced to lip sync, you can clearly see it on their faces – some of the artists don't even bother to pretend they sing with a typical carefree YG attitude. That's how you know: if someone's mic is on, you are probably hearing their voices in full capacity of their lungs.

All of this always leaves fans eagerly waiting for every new performance to hear other beautiful versions of their favorite songs.

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