Feature

The Top 10 K-Pop Producers of 2021

Top 10 Producers of 2021

This is one of those “unique to The Bias List” countdowns, since most end-of-year lists focus on the artists and not the behind-the-scenes talent. But, I’ve always been a sucker for a great songwriter. Few K-pop acts stick with the same producers for long, making it even more important to find your favorite composers and follow their careers.

Here are ten talents that really fueled 2021 with excellent work.

2021 Year-End Masterpost


10. MOON KIM

Moon Kim

Branching out from his work with Royal Pirates, Moon Kim collaborated on a lot of idol releases this year. For me, it’s a mixed bag of music. But, he’d earn his spot on this list for DRIPPIN’s fantastic Reach Out Your Hands alone!

2021 Highlights:
DRIPPIN – Reach Out Your Hands
P1Harmony – Scared, Reset, Ayaya, End It
Victon – Up To You
EXO – Don’t Fight The Feeling
SF9 – Hey Hi Bye, Memory, Dreams, On And On
ONF – Whistle
Pentagon – Honey Drop
WEi – Breathing
CRAVITY – Call My Name
MCND – Cat Waltz


9. BUMZU

Bumzu

After a year away from this list, Bumzu’s work with Seventeen and Nu’est brings him back. It feels like his sound expanded in 2021, which was especially evident on Nu’est Romanticize album.

The Bias List Producer Spotlight

2021 Highlights:
Seventeen – Ready To Love, Rock With You, Anyone, To You, Heaven’s Cloud, GAM3 BO1, Wave, Same Dream, Same Mind, Same Night, Crush, Pang!, Imperfect Love, I Can’t Run Away, 2 Minus 1
Nu’est – Inside Out, Dress, Don’t Wanna Go, Black, Earphone, Need It, Doom Doom, Rocket Rocket, I’m Not


8. EDENARY

Edenary

Even if I thought the overall quality of their work stalled a bit in 2021, there’s no denying the power (and popularity) of Edenary tracks. They crafted a few standouts for frequent collaborators ATEEZ and Dreamcatcher.

The Bias List Producer Spotlight (Leez)

2021 Highlights:
ATEEZ – Take Me Home, Fireworks (I’m The One), Eternal Sunshine, Deja Vu, Turbulence, The Real, The Leaders, Time Of Love, Celebrate, Still Here, Be My Lover, Feeling Like I Do, Rocky, All About You, Not Too Late, Be With You, The Letter
Dreamcatcher – Odd Eye, BEcause, Wind Blows, Poison Love, 4 Memory, New Days, Airplane, Whistle, Alldaylong, A Heart Of Sunflower


7. CHO WONSANG

Cho Wonsang

As Lucy’s main producer, Cho Wonsang co-wrote all their best material this year. He’s an extremely gifted arranger and musician, and I appreciate how he’s pushing himself (and his band) toward a diverse set of sounds.

2021 Highlights:
Lucy – I Got U, Hero, Rolling Rolling, Irrelevant Answer, Buddy, One By One, Stove, You’re Right, Sequel, Love Me Love You


6. KENZIE

kenzie

Kenzie is a K-pop legend for a reason. Her work with SM artists has resulted in classic after classic, and her touch almost guarantees a song’s quality. She helped craft fantastic work for SHINee, Key and NCT this year, proving her continued ability to both embrace and set trends.

The Bias List Producer Spotlight

2021 Highlights:
SHINee – Don’t Call Me, CØDE
Key – Bad Love
NCT Dream – Hello Future, Diggity, Bungee
aespa – I’ll Make You Cry
NCT 127 – Favorite (Vampire)
NCT U – Universe (Let’s Play Ball), OK!
Red Velvet – Pushin’ N Pullin’


5. “HITMAN” BANG

Hitman Bang

HYBE’s tracks are often composed by SO many people, making it hard to know who was really responsible for their success. But when looking at my favorite 2021 songs from the agency, one name was credited in almost all of them. As HYBE’s chairman, Bang Si-hyuk still manages to harness his creativity. Now, get rid of that awful vocal processing and we’ll be good!

2021 Highlights:
TXT – 0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You), LO$ER=L♡VER, Anti-Romantic, Frost, Ice Cream, What If I Had Been That Puma, No Rules, Dear Sputnik
ENHYPEN – Drunk-Dazed, Tamed-Dashed, Fever, Not For Sale, Go Big Or Go Home, Upper Side Dreamin, Just A Little Bit
Seventeen – Ready To Love
2AM – Should’ve Known


4. RYAN S. JHUN

Ryan S. Jhun must have been the most prolific producer in K-pop this past year. Just look at all the songs he was part of! With so much content, the results are bound to be mixed. I certainly don’t enjoy every song he produces, but anyone who gives us SHINee’s I Really Want You and Mirae’s Killa in the same year deserves attention.

The Bias List Producer Spotlight

2021 Highlights:
SHINee – I Really Want You
Youha – Abittipsy
Mirae – Killa, We Are Future
Oh My Girl – Dun Dun Dance, Dear You, My Doll, Quest, Who Comes Who Knows, Swan
IU – Celebrity, Flu
CRAVITY – My Turn, Mammoth, Bad Habits
WayV – Kick Back
Weeekly – After School
WJSN The Black – Easy
Taemin – Strings, Sad Kids
LOONA – PTT, WOW, Not Friends, Hula Hoop
Kim Woojin – Still Dream, My Growing Pains, In My Space
Moon Jongup – Us
The Boyz – B.O.Y (Bet On You)
NCT U – Maniac, Universe (Let’s Play Ball)
BTOB – Outsider
fromis_9 – Talk & Talk
NCT 127 – Focus, The Rainy Night
bugAboo – bugAboo, All Night Play
Kai – Peaches, Blue
IVE – Eleven


3. BRAVE BROTHERS

brave-brothers

Representing the second-gen sound, Brave Brothers made a huge resurgence alongside his group Brave Girls. He may not have as many 2021 credits as others on this list, but it’s a matter of quality over quantity. He pretty much soundtracked my whole summer.

The Bias List Producer Spotlight

2021 Highlights:
Brave Girls – Chi Mat Ba Ram, After We Ride, Pool Party, Summer By Myself
DKB – Rollercoaster


2. SCORE & MEGATONE (13)

Score & Megatone

Going into 2022, this is the team I’m most excited about. Score and Megatone make their debut on this list thanks to the killer trilogy of Born To Be Wild, Burn It and Fanfare. This is coming off the heels of last year’s Criminal by Taemin. When their polished, melodic touch is in full bloom, these guys are unstoppable.

The Bias List Producer Spotlight

2021 Highlights:
Golden Child – Burn It, Fanfare
JO1 – Born To Be Wild, Speed Of Light, Freedom
Produce 101 Japan – Season Two – Runway
ONF – Dry Ice
Victon – Into The Mirror
Lee Eunsang – Undo


1. HWANG HYUN

Hwang Hyun

Hwang Hyun is the most exciting producer working in K-pop today. I’m not sure what he’s going to do during ONF’s enlistment (I selfishly hope Golden Child will become his new muse), but as long as he’s making great music I’ll be happy. He’s so good at fusing experimental sounds to big pop melodies, crafting tracks that are both approachable and compelling.

The Bias List Producer Spotlight

2021 Highlights:
ONF – Beautiful Beautiful, Ugly Dance, Popping, Goosebumps, My Name Is, Secret Triangle, On-You, Trip Advisor, Feedback, I.T.I.L.U., Lights On, My Genesis (Übermensch), Summer Poem, Dry Ice, Summer End, Whistle, Fat And Sugar, Show Must Go On
Kwon Eunbi – Door
Ailee – Don’t Teach Me
Girls Planet 999 – O.O.O (Over&Over&Over)

14 thoughts on “The Top 10 K-Pop Producers of 2021

  1. Pingback: Best of 2021 Masterpost | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  2. It’s interesting how different this list is from last year’s. It’s so interesting who has a more prolific year than others.
    Absolutely 100% love seeing Hwang Hyun at #1 here.

    But this made me realize how much I missed Frants songs (tho i did enjoy his work with Sunmi)…I feel like he had a way less prolific 2021 than 2020. I really hope he’s pen Viviz’s debut. His material w Gfriend was sooooo good last year.

    I think with Ryan Jhun it’s also notable how many of these tracks were co-produced with Alawn.

    Anyways, always love and anticipate this list!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this list!

    And also btw, I noticed the 13 team had an addition of the member Luke which I found out was actually Hayoung of TRCNG! He’s credited in Golden Child’s Fanfare and PDJP’s Runway and in 2 JO1 songs (i think). Glad he got in a team of great producers!

    Like

  4. Kenzie’s work on the Key mini was everything that I wanted. Really a fan of her work there and even if I don’t love the NCT 127 tracks that she worked on, they’re worming their melodies in.

    Not a fan of how far Ryan Jhun spread himself this year, and thus worried about the SuperW track with so many SM artists I love. I’m a huge fan of Youha and Oh My Girl, but when I look at his work with Loona and elsewhere I struggle to find his touch. There’s the throbbing drumbeat, but not much else stands out.

    Hard to deny Hwang Hyun this year, though I hope Edenary shows off more dimension with another (hopefully!) full Dreamcatcher album.

    Like

  5. My favourite producer from this list has to be score and megatone. Dry ice and fanfare alone deserves a mention and I hope they work with some third gen groups next year. I also seriously wish to see Hwang Hyun’s material being made for the 3rd gen groups as a unique extension to their sound.

    Like

  6. I’m so happy to see Edenary here!! Not just as producing but all the work they put in lyrics adjusting the sound and everything in the song to the groups’ storyline and still making the lyrics meaningful.. I admire them so much ❤

    Like

  7. Pingback: The Top 10 K-Pop Producers of 2021 | Beatsway

  8. Pingback: Song Review: Seventeen – Darl+ing | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

Leave a Reply to in_a_dream Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.