Feature

The Top Ten Best K-Pop Producers

Though most of k-pop fandom’s obsession rests on groups and individual artists, I have just as strong a bias toward certain producers as the performers themselves. That’s why I started The Bias List‘s Producer Spotlight feature. There are dozens of amazing individuals and teams working behind the scenes to craft k-pop’s best songs. Here are my favorites:

Honorable Mentions:

Shinsadong Tiger
Black Eyed Pilseung
LDN Noise
Ryan S Jhun
Andrew Choi


10. Duble Sidekick

Duble Sidekick has a vast catalog of songs, and not every one of them is a winner. But they’re one of the most reliably hit-worthy teams out there, and their best work has gone on to become iconic.

Producer Spotlight Profile

A favorite song:

9. JYP

In addition to his own solo work, JYP‘s gifted nearly every one of his acts with at least one hit that carries his trademark groovy, riff-based styling. His music is instantly recognizable and wonderfully idiosyncratic.

Producer Spotlight Profile

A favorite song:

8. Kenzie

SM Entertainment has a few composers that they’ve stuck with from the beginning, and Kenzie is one of their most reliable creators of high-quality, consistently evolving pop music. She’s crafted more hits than most casual fans would realize, and her name guarantees quality.

Producer Spotlight Profile

A favorite song:

7. Brave Brothers

With his 80’s synths and layers of swirling, repetitive hooks, Brave Brothers has become synonymous with a very specific sound. In many cases his name headlines a track, even above the actual artist. I can’t get enough of the 80’s, and Brave Brothers is an endless supplier.

Producer Spotlight Profile

A favorite song:

6. Teddy

What would YG Entertainment be without Teddy? He’s responsible for many of the agency’s biggest classics, bringing a melodic sense of hip-hop drama that has become its own niche within the k-pop market. For many listeners, his music is the pure definition of k-pop.

Producer Spotlight Profile

A favorite song:

5. Jung Jinyoung

Though his material was constrained to his group B1A4 for most of his career, Jinyoung has recently branched out and proven that his lush, melodic pop style can transfer to a variety of acts and genres. I have an immense admiration for his gift of melody and attention to detail when it comes to a song’s instrumental.

Producer Spotlight Profile

A favorite song:

4. Youngbae / Iggy

This team has leapfrogged its way to the top half of my countdown over the past few years, providing an ultra poppy, gorgeously intricate production style for groups like GFriend and Astro. If I had it my way, they’d be composing for even more acts. Their material feels timeless, tied more strongly to melody than trendiness.

Producer Spotlight Profile

A favorite song:

3. Thomas Troelsen

I followed Thomas Troelsen’s work long before I followed k-pop, so he naturally became a huge part of my introduction to the vast world of Korean music. SM Entertainment is infamous for buying songs from European and American composers, but Troelsen was their very best find. His ear for a classic melody, combined with his synth-infused dance instrumentals, creates an unmatched sucker punch of pop bliss.

K-Pop Producer Spotlight

A favorite song:

2. Yoo Young-Jin

To a large extent, when I think of k-pop, I think of Yoo Young-Jin. Not only did he help kickstart the idol movement with hits for groups like H.O.T, Shinhwa and S.E.S, but he’s largely responsible for crafting SM Entertainment’s trademark sound. His blend of rock, hip-hop and dance is truly unlike anything else in the world, and he has a way of arranging vocals that consistently gives me chills. His magic touch has been sorely missed over the past few years.

Producer Spotlight Profile

A favorite song:

1. Sweetune

The true mark of a standout producer is whether their name alone can hype a track regardless of the artist. I will listen to anything by Sweetune, no matter the group or individual they’re working with. Their music has everything I love: retro arrangements, lush vocal layering, enormous pop choruses, and a polished, propulsive style. Some listeners might say all their music sounds the same, but that’s fine by me when it’s all so good. Their work with Infinite was k-pop’s greatest match made in heaven, and I’d kill to hear the two collaborate again.

K-Pop Producer Spotlight

A favorite song:

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