South Korean girl group Itzy was just the second K-pop act of any kind to debut a new release on the Billboard 200 in 2021, following Tomorrow X Together, who had previously placed on the tally. The outfit first landed at No. 148 with Guess Who in May, and then they went on to repeat their success in October with their follow-up Crazy In Love. That title nearly broke into the top 10, but it stalled one space shy of the highest tier.
Just two weeks after Itzy earned their first appearance on the Billboard 200, Enhypen managed the same with their set Border: Carnival, which launched at No. 18. The band would go on to match Itzy’s placement months later, as their second win of 2021, Dimension: Dilemma, opened and peaked at No. 11, failing to hit the top 10 by one very frustrating position.
Boy band Ateez is still just getting started, and they have now only been releasing music for a little more than three years. In that time, they have quickly conquered the South Korean music industry in many ways, and 2021 saw them reach many new American listeners as well. The group’s Zero: Fever Part.3 EP nearly became their first top 40 win on the tally, as it opened at No. 42. In the last chart week of the year, their follow-up Zero: Fever Epilogue peaked at No. 73.
Of all the acts mentioned in this article, Aespa is the newest of them all, as they have only released one project in the year they’ve been together. The girl group’s Savage EP was a massive success in their home country of South Korea, and it was also a quick win in the U.S. as well. The short project peaked at No. 20, a very impressive placement for a band that only had a few tunes to their credit by the time it arrived.