To date, over fifty K-Pop albums have managed to make it onto Billboard‘s weekly ranking of the top albums in the United States: the Billboard 200. However, almost all of these albums are from K-Pop groups. These six stars are actually the only Korean soloists to ever make it onto the chart so far.
1. J-Hope (BTS)
Several BTS members have charted solo albums on the Billboard 200, but J-Hope was the first. His first mixtape, Hope World, debuted at no.63 on the chart in March 2018, racking up 9,000 equivalent sales in less than one day of tracking. It went on to chart for two weeks and peaked at no.38 with 12,000 equivalent sales, making it the longest-charting Billboard 200 album by a soloist so far.
2. RM (BTS)
The next BTS member to reach the Billboard 200 as a soloist was RM. In November 2018, mono. went to no.26 after selling 21,000 equivalent units, staying on the chart for one week. Billboard writers described mono. as introspective, highlighting the music video and the track “moonchild.”
3. Suga (BTS)
And, most recently, BTS’s Suga made it onto the chart in June 2020 under his other stage name, Agust D. Agust D’s D-2 peaked no.11 with 33,000 equivalent album units sold, charting for one week. Overall, it’s the highest-charting K-Pop solo album so far.
4. Jonghyun (SHINee)
SHINee’s Jonghyun is another soloist who reached the Billboard 200. Released posthumously, his album Poet | Artist ranked at no.177 for one week. Poet | Artist accumulated 5,000 equivalent sales in its first tracking week, and Billboard went on to name it the second-best K-Pop album of 2018.
The first-ever K-Pop soloist to rank on the Billboard 200—and the only female Korean soloist so far—was BoA. Her self-titled album BoA reached no.127 all the way back in 2009, charting for one week. BoA was BoA’s first U.S. studio album with all the songs recorded in English.
6. Taeyang (BIGBANG)
Last but not least, BIGBANG’s Taeyang was the first male Korean soloist to chart on the Billboard 200. In 2014, Rise charted for one week, peaking at no.112. Billboard ranked Rise the sixth-best K-Pop album of 2014, highlighting its excellence in R&B.