Disclaimer: I’m not a musical expert. Hence, this list is incomplete. To note, I got more than 30 genres, including sub-genres, proving BTS’ versatility, flexibility, amazingness, you name it!
I’ve always seen BTS compilation videos that say BTS are versatile and have songs in genres other than hip-hop and K-Pop. These posts have always been met with criticism to the point of being maligned. I also am aware that they’re unafraid of experimentation. However, upon research, I realized that I know nothing, and even with this list, I know minimal. So here are the music genres BTS dabbled in.
Note: BTS has more than two hundred songs, that’s a lot, and I can’t listen to it all in one week to write an article.
#1 Hip Hop
BTS is famous for hip hop as it is their roots. They have three rappers, leader Kim Namjoon, also known as RM, Jung Hoseok, known for his screen name J-Hope, and Min Yoongi, known as Suga, his rapper and solo name being Agust D. So they have a lot of hip hop elements in their songs and hip hop inspired tracks.
Here are two hip-hop tracks from BTS, Cypher pt. 4 of the hip-hop Cypher series and Hip Hop Lover.
According to Master Class, the genre Rock n Roll combines elements of rhythm and blues (R&B), jazz, country music and adds the factor of electric instruments. These songs are energetic in nature and youthful. BTS has dabbled and will continue to dabble in rock, and I have more examples for that below.
Here are some rock songs from BTS discography. Boy in Luv and Fake Love (Rocking Vibe Version.)
#3 Classical Music
BTS does have classical and even theater elements in its songs. They also have a classical-inspired music entry that made people realize the power BTS holds. Often, they’re accused of being generic, stereotypical, and shallow. To these accusations, the band replied with a mouth shutting piece that even those who love Bach were intrigued.
Here is the classical piece Black Swan Orchestra Version.
#4 Folk Music
If there’s a famous complaint about BTS, it’s that they’ve forgotten their roots. In 2015-2017, BTS and ARMY received extreme bullying as a famous resort argument to justify extreme actions. In a virtual interview at the 2021 BTS Festa’s ARMY Corner Store, the boys talked about the situation.
Aside from addressing the situation, BTS showed how much they haven’t forgotten their nationality and continue to be the “Pride of Korea.” Their pop song “Idol,” released in 2018, has Korean percussions and is inspired by the Korean folk genre Pansori. The Idol MMA 2018 Remix won Jimin the Plaque of Appreciation from the Kim Baek Bong Korean Fan Dance Conservation Society.
Neo-soul is the love child of soul and contemporary R&B. It is a popular music genre that emerged in the late 1990. Now, if someone screams soul in the band, it’s probably V, also known for his real name Kim Taehyung. He has a wide and impressive vocal range that will leave anyone breathless.
V’s Neo-soul tracks include Singularity and Stigma.
BTS has three rappers and four sub-rappers. Perhaps you’ve never seen Jin angry, but he raps faster than a train when he’s mad. That’s right, BTS has rap songs and rap elements in their discography, screaming versatility in every album.
Some of their rap tracks include Ddaeng, Ugh, and Mic Drop.
#7 Funk Pop
At this point, I am not making this up. BTS does have Funk Pop Music, and Funk Pop does exist. Funk pop is derived from soul, jazz, and R&B. The music genre originated from African-American communities in the mid-1960s.
Since I couldn’t remember all of BTS’ songs, one of their funk-pop single, Look Here.
#8 Latin Inspired Music
Latin ARMYs rejoice! BTS has Latin-inspired pop songs, and with their plan to do this gig for twenty more years, you’ll probably get more in the future.
BTS’s Latin-inspired tracks include Airplane pt.2 and Jimin’s Filter.
Rhythm and blues is a popular music genre BTS often uses in their albums. R&B originates from the African-American communities dating back to the 1940s.
Some of their R&B tracks are Make it Right, which they co-wrote with Ed Sheeran and Jungkook’s My Time.
This is quite a debate because Ballad is often put under its parent genre, Folk Music. According to Ultius, Ballad is a poem set to music. Now, ballads are, in general, anything that resembles slow to midtempo love songs.
Ballads have evolved over millennia and often have a theme of love and loss. Does that ring a bell? Yes, some of BTS’ ballad tracks are Epiphany, Jamais Vu, and the eternal, chart-topping Spring Day.
#11 Electronic Dance Music (EDM)
BTS is often generalized as EDM. While it is so wrong, they do have EDM tracks. Now, what is EDM? EDM is a music genre that’s essentially club music. According to Wikipedia, it’s a broad range of percussive electronic music genres. Where is it played? Nightclubs, festivals, in my room at 4 am due to insomnia. What does it not include? Useless and meaningless, though a lot of EDMs are, it shouldn’t be generalized.
BTS being BTS, they always have a meaning to their songs. One of their EDM songs is DNA.
Trap Music is essentially a subgenre with six parent genres. EDM and Trap are often interchanged with each other. However, Trap Music is largely influenced by Southern hip hop, rap, and snap music. The subgenre bloomed in the early 2000s.
BTS’ Trap Music songs include Intro: Persona, N.O., and We On.
#13 Bubblegum Pop
Bubblegum Pop is basically a subgenre that includes catchy and upbeat elements often marketed to the general public. Despite the simplified example, Bubblegum Pop actually dates back to the 1960s. Its parent genres are pop, unbelievable but rock, novelty songs, and more.
The only track that came up in my search on BTS Bubblegum Pop was Boy With Luv.
#14 Rap Rock
Rap Rock is a fusion genre that dates back to the 1980s and later evolved in the 2000s. BTS’ Album Map of the Soul showed how forward-thinking they are in creating music. Many people were blown away by their Rap Rock single Dionysus, and for a reason, aside from it’s not average, it screams BTS.
#15 Soft Pop
Soft pop, or sunshine pop, is a subgenre of Pop Music. It dates back to Southern California in the mid-1960s. Soft pop is the combination of nostalgia or calming with the purpose of making listeners see the beauty of the world.
BTS has this mission to light up the world, so it’s no surprise that they’d have sunshine pop. After all, they have the Sun in existence, J-Hope.
Two of BTS’ soft pop tracks are 00:00 (Zero o’Clock) and Serendipity.
#16 Pop Rock
People may be surprised by this one, but Pop Rock’s parent genres are Pop, Rock, and Doo-Wop. Rock doesn’t always mean guitar rifts, and pop-rock is a prime example of that. This genre emphasizes more on the songwriting aspect and crafting. This genre dates back to the late 1950s, when it became an alternative to normal rock and roll.
So what are BTS’ pop-rock hits? Some of them are Friends, Moon, and Respect.
Map of the Soul album is truly one of BTS’ most experimental works. One of the tracks is Afrobeat inspired. Afrobeat is a popular music genre that incorporates African elements, such as Fuji music and highlife, with jazz, funk, and soul.
So what track is primarily Afrobeat? That’s right; it’s J-Hope’s Outro: Ego.
I have to admit that while searching and creating this list, I was dumbfounded by Moombahton. My music knowledge is extremely limited, and it’s only because of BTS that I’m learning about these genres, and moombahton is quite complex. For one, moombah refers to a track. The -ton comes from reggaeton, one of its parent genres.
Moombahton is a fusion genre of house electronic dance music, reggaeton, dancehall, dutch house, even reggae fusion, and Afrobeat. So what song is too complex to put into a certain genre?
BTS is also associated with Reggae. This music genre evolved in the 1960s and originated in Jamaica. When it evolved, elements of rhythm and blues were incorporated as well. A famous figure known for this genre is Bob Marley, and in modern times, BTS’ controversial track “Am I Wrong.”
In 2016, the Ministry of Education Na Hyang Wook stated that South Korea needed a caste system and depicted average people as “dogs and pigs” to be treated as such. In the song, Suga didn’t “obviously” address the scandal but talked about the implication of these societal and political issues on their listeners. This song could’ve gotten them blacklisted.
#20 Low Bap
Low Bap is a music subgenre of Greek Hip-hop. The subgenre was born in the mid-1990s by the Greek Hip-hop group Active Member. Low Bap is made up of a slower tempo, rapping, and sociopolitical content.
Does the last one surprise you? Yes, there’s a genre that focuses on sociopolitical content and beats. Now, who is the member that fearlessly incorporated sociopolitical content in his solo album? Agust D, everybody.
#21 Funk Rap
Funk rap, also known as gangsta-funk, is a sub-genre of gangsta rap heavily influenced by 1970s psychedelic funk sound. It emerged in the 1980s and is used to this day.
My brain cannot handle this one, but yes, BTS dabbled in funk rap. What certain track? Ma City, where it sounds like they’re enticing you to visit their hometowns only to realize they’re talking about the dark side.
Urban contemporary music is a music genre in the 1980s and 90s. It’s a combination of recordings of R&B or soul with crossovers such as hip hop. The term Urban was coined by the New York radio DJ Frankie Crocker.
What is an Urban single of theirs? I NEED U.
#23 Emo Rock
Emo rock originates from hardcore punk rock. It puts heavy emphasis on emotional expression. What are BTS tracks that are heavily influenced by emo-rock?
#24 Hard Rock
Though BTS doesn’t have that many rock songs, they do have entries in different subgenres. That is the same for hard rock or heavy rock. Now, hard rock has a loose definition, with its typical use of aggressive vocals, distorted electric guitars, drums, and such.
BTS’s early days represented teenagers in love, aspirations, and mixed emotions. Their songs Danger and Boy in Luv somewhat belong to the hard rock genre.
#25 Contemporary R&B
Contemporary R&B was born in the 1970s when people experimented with the boundaries of R&B. This subgenre is a fusion of rhythm and blues with influences of pop, soul, funk, hip hop, and electronic music.
Contemporary R&B has distinctive features such as pitch-corrected vocals and an extensive style of vocal arrangement.
One of BTS’ tracks belonging to this subgenre is Hold Me Tight.
#26 Hip-Hop Rap
This is a fusion as hip hop is synonymous with rap music, but rapping is not a required component of hip hop music. That is why there’s a Hip hop/rap subgenre.
A track that doesn’t belong equally to two genres, ending up in the middle, is Louder than Bombs.
#27 Power Pop
Power Pop is a famous genre popularized by legendary bands such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and the Byrds, to name a few. It is a more aggressive form of the pop-rock genre, born in the mid-1960s to early 1970s. Power Pop is known for its catchy and melodic hooks and presents energetic moods.
BTS has many power pop songs, but one that stands out is their Japanese single Stay Gold.
No, they did not sing a Christian song. However, some of their songs are American Gospel Music-inspired. If you remember Map of the Soul’s Outro: Ego, you’d hear the background that’s similar to what you’d hear in a modern church. But a single of theirs that has the heaviest influence of this genre is under the Wings album—J-Hope’s very own MAMA.
#29 Future Bass
Masterclass described future bass as 21st century EDM that somehow aligns with trap music and dubstep. Future bass is the term of EDM mixed with bass music. One of the notable bands that do this type of music worked with BTS’ friend Halsey, The Chainsmokers.
Future bass is recognized with its warm bounce as opposed to dubstep and trap’s “bruteness.” BTS’ entry to this subgenre is their song Save Me. Now, who wants to make fun of Jimin’s opening moves?
#30 Dance Pop
Fun fact! Dance-pop is a subgenre dating back to the late 1970s to early 1980s. It was generally intended to be nightclub dance music, but it became suitable for radios.
One of BTS’ notable Dance Pop songs is their chart smashing single Butter.
Disco is a music genre and a subculture that stemmed from the US’ 1970s urban nightlife scheme. Disco has the elements of basslines, synthesizers, and electric rhythm guitars.
An obvious Disco song is Dynamite. I mean, “Disco overload, I’m into that, I’m good to go. I’m diamond, you know I glow up. So let’s go!”
#32 Jazz Hip-hop
Jazz hip-hop, or Jazz rap, is the love child of jazz and hip hop music. It’s also the subgenre of hip-hop that came into being in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Two of BTS’ Jazz Hip-hop entries are their Pluto-inspired 134340 and Love Maze.
Several sources stated that the Pop Genre’s modern form came into life in the mid-1950s. Its origins include traditional pop, rock, surprisingly, and folk music. Pop also means popular music, which, if we take all of BTS’ discography into context, right?
A famous BTS pop song is the heartwarming Mikrokosmos.
#34 Mellow Pop
Universal Production Music describes Mellow Pop as passionate, intimate, and reflective pop instrumentals. Its laid-back, dreamy, and sets a soothing atmosphere.
To be fair, Pied Piper is very soothing because instead of studying, we dance to it.
#35 Folk Indie
BTS does have Folk Indie songs. Folk Indie, or Indie Folk, rose in the 1990s to indie-rock musicians whose music was influenced by folk music. It is a hybrid of contemporary instruments and acoustic guitar melodies.
RM and V’s 4 o’clock is a great entry to this genre. I only found their practice video on YouTube.
People who are more musically inclined and knowledgeable than I am can probably complete this list and explain it better. This was an exhausting article to write but a very informative one and made me appreciate BTS more. Now I can finally cry in a corner how my standards in men are high, and no one’s going to make me feel loved the way Magic Shop does.
Anyways, till next time!