Kpop 101: Kpop Positions Explained
Updated: Aug 6, 2018
The Korean wave is taking the world by storm, and in the forefront of it is Kpop. Which is hardly surprising, given the catchy beat, mesmerising dance choreography and sheer #aesthetic just about every hit music video is instilled with. And if you’ve been around the Kpop scene long enough, you may have noticed that each group member seems to serve a specific role in the group.
Can you name and describe them all?
In the vast majority of Kpop groups, there is a group leader. Those who are elected as leaders are generally the oldest or one of the older members of the group, or those who are in the middle of the various ages in order to easily connect with both the older and younger members. These group leaders are often mature, charismatic, and responsible, and are therefore able to look after, motivate and represent the other members when needed.
They are also expected to serve as mediators to maintain harmony in their respective groups. The ability to handle all of the attention that is often on them is also a must.
The Main Vocalist: Has the strongest singing ability and will often get to sing a lot of lines in a song. Vocally challenging lines are often designated to them.
The Lead Vocalist: Usually “leads” the Main Vocalist into the song, and often sings the chorus with the backing of the Main Vocalist. They usually replace the Main Vocalist should the aforementioned be unable to perform.
The Sub Vocalist: Serves as a support for both the Main and Lead Vocalists. They only get to sing a few lines in a song.
The Main Rapper: Is the rapper with the best rapping ability. Gets most of the rapping lines.
The Lead Rapper: Usually “leads” the Main Rapper into the rapping parts. Is quite skilled as well, but is not on the same level as the Main Rapper.
The Main Dancer: Especially skilled dancer. Will get the main and solo dancing parts. There is less focus on singing as they need to focus more of their energy on giving an amazing performance.
The Lead Dancer: Again, the Lead Dancer “leads” the group into the dancing parts and will dance in front of them.
The Maknae does not serve a specific role in the group. Instead, they are simply given the role because they are the youngest and therefore the baby in the group.
Perhaps the most controversial position in every Kpop group is the role of the Visual. The Visual is the group member who is considered to be the most attractive, and who will naturally draw the attention of potential new fans to the group through their extreme beauty. They are also likely to be the ones who are hired to endorse products, be it in commercials or ads.
The Face is often mistaken for the Visual. This is because along with their prolific presence in the public eye, they are also extremely attractive. However, despite these similarities with the Visual, there are distinctions between the two roles that enables fans to differentiate them. First off, while the Visual is the best-looking member, the Face is expected to do more than serve as eye-candy; they are also supposed to wow the crowd with their lovable personality.
Second, this is the person who lightens the mood with jokes and is invited to lots of variety shows, effectively serving as the spokesperson of the group. They are seen as the representative of the group, which is why it is crucial for them to uphold appearances.
So do you know your Kpop positions now? If you’re a fan of Kpop, tell us all about your favourite members in the Comment section below!
Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini