Chart-topping K-pop boy band NCT 127 is one of the offshoots of the Seoul-based NCT (“Neo Culture Technology”). Debuting in 2016 with the NCT #127 EP, they soon exploded on the international stage, topping charts in Korea, Japan, and the U.S. with efforts such as Regular-Irregular (2018), Neo Zone (2020), and Loveholic (2021).
Created by S.M. Entertainment, NCT boasts an unlimited number of members who populate multiple “sub-units” based in various international locales like Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, and Bangkok. The original group was composed of members of SM Rookies. The first spinoff, NCT U, was announced in early 2016. They released a pair of singles before a second incarnation was formed in July. NCT 127 featured seven members: Taeil Moon, Taeyong Lee, Jaehyun Jung, and Haechan (born Dong-hyuck Lee) from Korea, Yuta Nakamoto from Osaka, WinWin (born Dong Sicheng) from Zhejiang, China, and Mark Lee Min-hyung from Vancouver.
The septet’s early singles “Fire Truck” and “Once Again” appeared on their first EP, NCT #127, which debuted at number two on the Billboard World Album chart. Later that year, Mark and Haechan would join the third iteration, NCT Dream, releasing “Chewing Gum” in both Korean and Mandarin versions. Meanwhile, NCT 127 added Johnny (John Seo of Chicago) and Doyoung (born Kim Dong-young) to the ranks at the end of 2016. In January 2017, NCT 127 released their second mini-album, Limitless, which debuted atop the Billboard World Albums chart. The Cherry Bomb EP followed soon after, hitting number two in both Korea and on the World Albums listing.
In 2018, NCT 127 rejoined their brethren in NCT and NCT Dream for the release of their official NCT full-length debut, NCT 2018 Empathy. The album was quickly followed by NCT 127′s Japanese debut, the Chain EP, which was issued on Avex Trax. NCT 127 rounded out their year by releasing their official debut full-length, Regular-Irregular, that October. The album debuted within the Top 100 on the Billboard 200, their first appearance on the main U.S. chart. Months later, in 2019, the crew issued their first Japanese-language effort, Awaken (Avex Trax), as well as the EP We Are Superhuman. They also undertook a major tour called Neo City: The Origin, with stops throughout Asia, Latin America, and North America, including appearances on a number of American television shows. Their first live album, Neo City: Seoul - The Origin, appeared in October of that year followed by additional U.S. dates and promotion.
The group wasted little time in 2020, releasing their second Korean-language effort that March. Neo Zone topped the Korean and U.S. World charts and was a modest hit in Japan, Canada, and the U.K. Along with a repackaging titled Neo Zone: The Final Round, NCT 127 also released NCT 2020 Resonance, Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 with the main collective, contributing “Music, Dance.” In early 2021, the crew returned to the Japanese market with the EP Loveholic, topping the charts upon release. ~ Neil Z. Yeung