meta-scriptMeet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Saweetie On Her Long-Awaited Album 'Pretty B**** Music' & Why Women Rappers "No Longer Need A Co-Sign" |
Saweetie Press Photo 2022

Photo: Pol Kurucz


Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Saweetie On Her Long-Awaited Album 'Pretty B**** Music' & Why Women Rappers "No Longer Need A Co-Sign"

Between star-studded collaborations and her debut album on the horizon, Saweetie is one of rap's busiest rising stars. With a handful of major business partnerships to boot, she's preparing to become the next rapper with a full-on empire.

GRAMMYs/Mar 29, 2022 - 08:30 pm

Saweetie has been buzzing since her first single, "Icy Grl," went viral in 2018. But in the years since, the SoCal rapper has proven to be much more than a fleeting viral star.

Born Diamonté Harper, Saweetie has been grinding nonstop — and it has paid off. Along with releasing multiple EPs, she's landed several Billboard Hot 100 hits (and three No. 1s on its Rhythmic Airplay chart), and teamed up with the likes of Dua Lipa, Jhené Aiko, and Tyga and YG.

She's making sure she builds an empire beyond her music, too. In 2021 alone, Saweetie made her TV debut on the Freeform sitcom grown-ish, hosted a Netflix comedy special called Sex: Unzipped, and secured brand partnerships with McDonalds, Sinful Colors and Prettylittlething, to name a few.

Her efforts certainly aren't going unnoticed: Saweetie is the only female rapper nominated for Best New Artist at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards. What's more, her collaboration with Doja Cat, "Best Friend," is also nominated for Best Rap Song. And to think she doesn't even have a full-length album to her name.

Saweetie's highly anticipated debut LP, Pretty B**** Music, is reportedly being released this year. No matter when the album arrives, though, the rap star is already making 2022 another busy year: She released a MAC Cosmetics campaign with Cher in January, dropped a collab with H.E.R. in February, and was recently announced as Champion's Global Cultural Consultant.

From celebrating her heritage as a Blasian entertainer, to empowering women and people of color to be their best and most confident selves, Saweetie has created a lane all her own. For Saweetie, her authenticity is inspired by her family, strong women, and the icons that have come before her. With a newfound focus on, as she puts it, "health is wealth," Saweetie wants to better herself and her community — ultimately making her one of rap's most multifaceted female voices.

Ahead of the 64th GRAMMY Awards, caught up with Saweetie to discuss her impressive work ethic, why it's important for her to represent women and POC, and how she'll bring healing with Pretty B**** Music.

What does being GRAMMY-nominated mean to you? Was this a milestone you were looking forward to or did it catch you by surprise?

It definitely caught me by surprise since I don't have an album out. But I am very appreciative. I think GRAMMYs — along with any award show — it's great for your work to be recognized. I work really hard along with my team, so to be acknowledged by [the GRAMMYs] is a huge accomplishment. I'm just so grateful.

You're the only female rapper nominated for Best New Artist. How does that make you feel, and what do you think about more women gaining respect in hip-hop?

I feel like this year, a lot more respect has been given to females in hip-hop. I know that we no longer need a co-sign. We've proven — especially through social media — that we can create our own fanbase, our own culture, our own brands.

It was a great year for women in hip-hop. To be the only one in that category nominated, I'm just so happy to represent, because it's a great group of women out right now.

What do you think should change in hip-hop to make it more inclusive for women?

That's a great question. I think the more representation we have, the more inclusive it'll be for all the women who work hard in hip-hop. I definitely hope that next year more women in hip-hop will be nominated, because I know I'm working hard, I know they're working hard, and hip-hop is the culture right now. So I would love to see more of my women in hip-hop nominated in more categories because we are highly, highly influential right now.

You're in the same category as J. Cole [Best Rap Song], who you once rapped for outside of a show. Why was he the rapper you felt comfortable performing for? What would you tell yourself then with what you've learned now?

Honestly, I've always just been a risk taker, overly ambitious. I saw an opportunity and I took it. I admire his music, I listened to all the mixtapes — The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights, there's two other ones. In high school, I used to play his mixtapes every morning — you know, the CDs — and play them on my radio. I just wanted a moment to connect with one of my favorite artists.

You got a degree before fully pursuing music, which isn't common. Do you think you gained anything from that experience?

One thing that I learned about college, and a gift that it gave me, was to be comfortable in any room. I went to a predominantly white school, so sometimes I'd be the only Black girl in class. And my high school wasn't that way, so I had to adjust and I had to be comfortable in uncomfortable environments.

What I also had to realize was I was making myself uncomfortable, because I was intimidated. I might have felt that I wasn't smart enough — and I actually was, obviously, since I got accepted.

I had to realize that I was my own worst enemy. After I acknowledged that, and after I became more courageous with participation and interacting with other students, I had a better experience. It taught me how to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. It taught me how to read a room, and it taught me how to adjust to any group of people who I may be in the room with.

You're involved in philanthropy, specifically for Asian and Black communities. Can you speak more about the Icy Baby Foundation and what work you hope to do with it?

With the Icy Baby Foundation, I actually founded it with my grandmother. I was raised around her, and she was always giving back. I thought she was a perfect partner for this foundation. With this foundation, we strive to teach brown and Black kids about financial literacy. We really need to teach Black and brown kids how to manage their money, how to save their money, how to invest their money, how to create generational wealth. That's really important, because even for me, saving isn't enough.

Then also, we would love to focus on women. This is something that we kind of discussed, but it would be a safe haven for women — whether they're dealing with domestic violence, they're in an unhealthy living home or space, or they need shelter for their kids. But I'll definitely be focused on financial literacy in low income communities and women who need help, essentially.

I love how you rep both sides of your cultural identity. You performed at Head in the Clouds Festival highlighting Asian artists, and you're obviously tapped into the hip-hop world. Your Met Gala look also highlighted this. Do you see fan responses to this representation, and does it motivate you to continue doing it?

Absolutely. The reason why I share both sides is because I know there are Asian kids at home, Black kids at home, and it's dope to represent where you're from — because if I can do it, I know they'll feel like they can do it.

I try to share as much as my background as possible, so that kids who need inspiration can identify with me — and so they know that if Saweetie can do it, they can too.

Some people say you have pretty privilege to downplay what you've accomplished. What's your response to criticism or judgment on your career based on your looks? How have you been working to develop as an artist?

So what is pretty privilege? I would like to know what that means, because one thing I do know is I worked hard for everything in life. I worked hard to make the volleyball team. I worked hard to get 4.0s. I worked hard to get into USC. I worked hard to be self made as a businesswoman and as a rapper. All of these hurdles have made me a wiser and stronger woman. I just don't see privilege in that DNA at all.

And obviously being a woman of color, there's a whole set of other issues.

Right, absolutely. Women are oppressed, and Black people are oppressed. So when you combine the two, you're double oppressed. And it's like two different battles you're trying to fight — woman of color, and just being a woman period.

I think that the obstacles in life have made me a stronger woman, but I definitely didn't get no handouts. I was always taught not to take a shortcut. My parents were hard workers, and I think that's where I get my hard-work ethics from.

What's the hardest obstacle you've faced lately, and how did you bounce back?

A really hard obstacle is just working a lot. I'm starting to feel the burnout. So I went to Turks [and Caicos], my mom was there, it was like a mini mental health vacation. I shaved my hair there, I was meditating a lot, praying a lot, just trying to get clarity in life.

My mom was talking to me, and she was talking about my work ethic. She was like, "You really need to start taking care of yourself before it starts catching up to you." It really created a lightbulb in my head, because I'm sure all my other ambitious people out there — my go-getters — we just think we're invincible, you know? We feel like we're superheroes and we can just accomplish anything, but we're humans, not robots. That's something I struggled with [in 2021] by allowing myself to work too much. I hope to find balance between resting and work.

I've heard your album is coming out soon. What can we expect from it? What direction did you go in artistically?

I was going to curate either a song or two just to introduce people to Pretty Bitch Music. With this album, I want to create art. That's why I shaved my hair off. It's time for a fresh start, it's time for clarity, it's time for a rebirth, and it's time for a reboot. I want a clean slate with my artistry.

I want to really have time to create, and I actually [had] the first three months [of 2022] blocked off to finish, and to keep creating this album. With the visuals, the instruments I choose, it needs to feel like art, inspiration. It needs to be empowering, because I feel like the world needs healing right now.

With this music, I hope to heal. That's why I really want to take my time with it. I think I know what the purpose of this album is — it's to inspire, and to heal.

One of my songs is a meditation song, because meditation has really helped me. It's helped me calm down my brain. It's helped me center my spirit, because with the music industry, it gets chaotic sometimes, and peace is so important. I hope to just promote love and peace with this album.

Are you going to go into different genres, or is it still going to be hip-hop?

It's still going to be Saweetie. It's gonna be an elevated Saweetie. A couple people asked me, with me shaving my hair off, was I going to take a different direction. I'm just like, "It's not a new me, it's an elevated me."

I'm still the Icy Girl, but this time, I really want to take time with my music. With High Maintenance, with the Icy EP, all of those were done under crunch time. I want to create a whole bunch of amazing songs, and then my good problem is having to cut down the songs. Instead of just trying to rush and put something out, art can't be rushed. I'm really excited about this.

I know you dropped the Pretty Summer Playlist and you've been doing a lot of collaborations. Why was it important to you to highlight smaller artists?

I know what it feels like to be a smaller artist. Honestly, I wouldn't change anything about my journey, but what I would say, as a smaller artist — because I know what it feels like to be there — we do appreciate moments of appreciation with someone else sharing their platform. Because I love all these artists, I wanted to share my platform.

Little artists matter, too. The following, the success, that's not what makes me want to collaborate with the artist. I truly love to meet an artist, and then collaborate with them.

Do you have a dream collab?

I would love to collaborate with Rihanna.

It's a big part of your brand to empower women. Is that something you're cognizant of when making songs and choosing brand deals?

You know what's so funny? I don't think it's cognitive, I think it's innate. I grew up with a lot of loving, supportive women, so for me, it's not even a brand — it's not something that I strategically do. I just love women.

I come from confident, business-oriented, beautiful women, who I watched as a little girl hustle. I watched them get ready, I saw them not tolerate no bullshit. I'm really happy I'm from a strong village of women, because they were able to pass that down to me.

I love that. What else is in the works right now?

I'm working on creating a true company. I'm actually looking for a warehouse right now, so that the Icy Business has a campus — almost like Facebook. Right now I'm looking for a warehouse so I can establish my parent company, Icy, which will house merchandise, makeup and all of my other cool quirky ideas.

So you're building an empire.

Yes, ma'am. I really want to have everything in-house. I want to make my own merch, perfume — I want to make my own full line.

I'm on this spiritual and body journey, too. I'm going to document it and post it on Youtube, it'll be a whole rollout. I really want people to take care of their bodies and their brains. Everything that I need to be a successful artist, I would love to share that with the world through the products I make.

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Zayn Malik attends the Valentino Menswear Fall/Winter 2024-2025 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 20, 2024 in Paris, France

Photo: Marc Piasecki/WireImage via Getty Images


New Music Friday: Listen To Songs & Albums From Zayn, The Avett Brothers, Bebe Rexha & More

As Billie Eilish fans rejoice over the release of her latest album, they're not the only fandom jamming new tunes on May 17. Check out new music from Maria Becerra, Saweetie, Galantis, and more.

GRAMMYs/May 17, 2024 - 04:12 pm

As music fans know, Friday is the official weekday of new releases — but this week began with a bang.

On Monday, May 13, Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, released Atavista, a "finished" version of his 2020 album, 3.15.20. Back then, he released a nascent version of said album on his website, before pulling it down and uploading it to streaming services the following week, with guest appearances by Ariana Grande, 21 Savage and more.

Happily, the finished product retains those inspired guest appearances, over polished and honed versions of the original tunes. With the release of Atavista, Glover released a music video for "Little Foot Big Foot," featuring Young Nudy. He also promised special vinyl with visuals for each song, as well as an all-new Childish Gambino album due this summer.

And before Friday even hit, two country superstars also delivered exciting new tracks. Also on May 13, Lainey Wilson unleashed "Hang Tight Honey," the first single from her forthcoming third album, Whirlwind, out August 23. Three days later, Luke Combs released "Ain't No Love In Oklahoma," the lead track from TWISTERS: THE ALBUM. (Arriving July 19, the soundtrack will feature a number of other country greats, from Miranda Lambert to Shania Twain to Jelly Roll.) 

Today, there are plenty of other musical delicacies to savor. One of the most prominent is Billie Eilish's hotly anticipated third album, HIT ME HARD AND SOFT. Also, Puerto Rican rap star Álvaro Díaz's SAYONARA; American singer/songwriter Sasha Alex Sloan's Me Again; and 1D star Zayn's ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS have been unveiled. Even renowned actress Kate Hudson has also joined the musical ranks, releasing her debut album, Glorious.

Veterans, too, are stepping out with fresh offerings. Psych-tinged retro rockers Cage the Elephant are back with their first album in five years, Neon Pill. Slash released Orgy of the Damned, an album of mostly blues covers featuring guests from Gary Clark Jr. to Iggy Pop to Demi Lovato. On the opposite side of the coin, boy band pioneers New Kids on the Block return with Still Kids, their first album in 11 years, featuring guests DJ Jazzy Jeff and Taylor Dayne.

Still, that doesn't even begin to cover the trove of new songs delivered on May 17. Omar Apollo, Peggy Gou and HARDY released tracks from upcoming albums, and Russ (feat. 6LACK), Charlotte Cardin and T-Pain released inspired singles. What other treasures have this Friday wrought? Check the below list for albums and tunes to add to your weekend playlist!

The Avett Brothers — The Avett Brothers

With their previous album, back in 2019, Americana favorites the Avett Brothers declared they were Closer Than Together. Now, they're back with a self-titled album, and a return to their original label, Ramseur Records.

But that's just one way they're circling back to their roots; the Rick Rubin-produced The Avett Brothers returns to burning-rubber vocals; sturdy, folkloric melodies; and lovelorn lyrics. If those are your bag, don't miss tracks like "Love of a Girl," "Orion's Belt" and "Same Broken Bones."

Bebe Rexha, "Chase It (Mmm Da Da Da)"

Bebe Rexha's last album was 2023's Bebe, but this phenom of a pop singer/songwriter is already back with new music. Get warmed up for the impending summer sun with "Chase It (Mmm Da Da Da)," complete with a rip-roaring video.

The four-time GRAMMY nominee debuted her latest banger in the desert sands of Coachella 2024; if you're ready for the swooping, thumping official version, chase it down today. 

Meaningfully, "Chase It (Mmm Da Da Da)" marks Rexha's first solo dance track after numerous collaborations with electronic acts; she even earned back-to-back GRAMMY nods in 2023 and 2024 for jams concocted with David Guetta, and her only other release of 2024 so far was a collab with Brazilian DJ Alok.

Galantis, Rx

We haven't gotten a new album from the beloved Swedish EDM duo Galantis in a hot minute; that just changed. Though they has released two albums since 2015's Pharmacy — 2017's The Aviary and 2020's Church — Galantis' latest album is a direct successor to their game-changing debut. Behold, the aptly titled Rx.

Running the gamut from ethereal textures to electrifying, pulsing rhythms, Rx directly reckons with Galantis's now-sole member Christian Karlsson's ADHD, and how medication was a game-changer in his life and work.

"Pharmacy was when I knew I was neurodivergent and I knew the studio was like a pharmacy for me," Karlsson stated in a press release. "I was the patient. Rx is when I found medication. For me, it was key, but of course, everyone walks their own path."

Saweetie — "NANi"

Before Saweetie officially released "NANi," she had been teasing the track all week long. On May 11, at the 2024 Gold Gala, an annual gathering of top Asian Pacific and multicultural leaders, the rapper (who has Filipino and Chinese roots) told Billboard, "NANi' is that girl. 'NANi' is main character energy." And on Instagram, as part of the cover art reveal for the single, she declared, "We gon' fkkk up the Summer."

She certainly will. The poolside-partying, Smirnoff-plugging video lives up to a YouTube commenter's adroit description: "It's giving Barbie and Bratz royalty!" Will it be part of Pretty Bitch Music, the album she's been teasing (and honing) for years? Time will tell.

Warren Zeiders — "Betrayal"

Warren Zeiders staked his claim with his 2021 debut single, "Ride the Lightning"; now, he's got a stormcloud overhead. The uber-moody "Betrayal" makes no bones about its subject: "This isn't how I pictured you and I/ Smile in my face while you twist the knife/ Shame on me if you fool me twice/ You fooled me twice."

As unremittingly bleak as the lyrics are, though, the budding country star's melody lets the light in. What an alchemy: the more Zeiders bemoans being chapfallen and frustrated, the lap steel-laced music evermore swoops and sparkles.

María Becerra — "IMAN (Two of Us)"

Once a YouTuber, and now an urbano sensation, bubbly Argentine singer María Becerra is back with a four-on-the-floor stomper. The somewhat Dua Lipa-tinted "IMAN (Two of Us)" is a delight, as is its candy-coated video, where Becerra cavorts and romances through a surreal art exhibit.

Her new album, MB3*, is expected sometime in 2024; it should also include tunes like "Slow it Down," "Do You (feat. 24kGoldn)" and "Agora." Let the earworm "IMAN" slake your thirst in the meantime.


Boy band acolytes will always long for the return of One Direction, who have been on hiatus since 2016. But in the meantime, their solo work just keeps getting sweeter. Following a three-year intermission, Zayn released ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS; for him, this music cuts to the quick of who he is.

"I think the intention behind this album fully is ​​for the listener to get more insight on me personally as a human being," Zayn explained in an Instagram post. "My ambitions, my fears, and for them to have a connection with that and that's why it's so raw. It's just me."

Taking six years to get right, and marking a return to Mercury Records, ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS is an unmistakable sonic and thematic evolution for the One Direction star. As with the other selections on this list, it's right on time for spring — let the songs of the season help you flourish, too.

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Autumn Rowe at the 2023 GRAMMYs
Autumn Rowe at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


Where Do You Keep Your GRAMMY?: Autumn Rowe Revisits Her Unexpected Album Of The Year Win With Jon Batiste

Acclaimed songwriter Autumn Rowe reveals the inspirational location where her Album Of The Year golden gramophone resides, and details the "really funny way" she first met Jon Batiste.

GRAMMYs/Apr 10, 2024 - 08:33 pm

Ever since Autumn Rowe won a GRAMMY in 2022, it's been her biggest motivation. That's why the musical multi-hyphenate keeps the award nestled in her writing room — to keep her creative juices flowing.

"It reminds me that anything is possible," she says in the latest episode of Where Do You Keep Your GRAMMY?

Rowe won her first-ever career GRAMMY in 2022 with an Album Of The Year award for Jon Batiste's We Are. "It was very stressful," she recalls with a laugh.

"Right before they announced Album Of The Year, the pressure started getting to me," Rowe explains. "Album Of The Year is the biggest possible award you can win. So, I'm like, 'We didn't win any of these [categories], how are we going to win the biggest award?"

The win also taught her one unforgettable, valuable lesson: "We matter. The music matters. Everything matters. We just have to create it. If there isn't space for it, we have to make space for it. Don't wait for something to open."

Rowe says she grew up "super dirt poor" and never even had the opportunity to watch the awards ceremony on television. "To be a GRAMMY winner means it is possible for everyone," she declares.

Press play on the video above to learn more about the backstory of Autumn Rowe's Album Of The Year award, and remember to check back to for more new episodes of Where Do You Keep Your GRAMMY?

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Doja Cat & SZA GRAMMY Rewind Hero
(L-R) Doja Cat and SZA at the 2022 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Doja Cat & SZA Tearfully Accept Their First GRAMMYs For "Kiss Me More"

Relive the moment the pair's hit "Kiss Me More" took home Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, which marked the first GRAMMY win of their careers.

GRAMMYs/Mar 1, 2024 - 06:11 pm

As Doja Cat put it herself, the 2022 GRAMMYs were a "big deal" for her and SZA.

Doja Cat walked in with eight nominations, while SZA entered the ceremony with five. Three of those respective nods were for their 2021 smash "Kiss Me More," which ultimately helped the superstars win their first GRAMMYs.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, revisit the night SZA and Doja Cat accepted the golden gramophone for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance — a milestone moment that Doja Cat almost missed.

"Listen. I have never taken such a fast piss in my whole life," Doja Cat quipped after beelining to the stage. "Thank you to everybody — my family, my team. I wouldn't be here without you, and I wouldn't be here without my fans."

Before passing the mic to SZA, Doja also gave a message of appreciation to the "Kill Bill" singer: "You are everything to me. You are incredible. You are the epitome of talent. You're a lyricist. You're everything."

SZA began listing her praises for her mother, God, her supporters, and, of course, Doja Cat. "I love you! Thank you, Doja. I'm glad you made it back in time!" she teased.

"I like to downplay a lot of s— but this is a big deal," Doja tearfully concluded. "Thank you, everybody."

Press play on the video above to hear Doja Cat and SZA's complete acceptance speech for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards, and check back to for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

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Megan Thee Stallion (Center) and (from L to R:) J-Hope, Jin, Jungkook, V, RM, Suga, and Jimin of BTS attend the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Megan Thee Stallion (Center) and (from L to R:) J-Hope, Jin, Jungkook, V, RM, Suga, and Jimin of BTS attend the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 03, 2022.

Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


9 Essential K-Pop/Western Collabs: From BTS And Megan Thee Stallion, To IVE And Saweetie

From Jungkook and Usher's tribute to their shared musical idol, to BLACKPINK and Selena Gomez' sugary sweet collab, K-pop and Western artists of all genres are joining forces to create killer hits.

GRAMMYs/Feb 27, 2024 - 02:12 pm

It’s impossible to ignore the growing global popularity of K-pop. Although Korean pop has been around for decades, the genre's meteoric worldwide success over the past 10 years is reminiscent of Beatlemania and the early 2000s American boy band craze. With a steady increase year-over-year in album sales and K-pop groups touring the U.S. and Europe, interest in K-pop shows no signs of slowing down.

Initially launched in South Korea as a music subgenre with Western pop, R&B and hip-hop influences in the '90s, the K-pop industry is valued at around $10 billion.

Given the worldwide appetite for K-pop, several Western musicians are keen to partner with K-pop acts crossing over into more international markets, often with songs sung partially or entirely in English. While K-pop artists do not need Western artists to be successful — BTS sold out London’s Wembley stadium in under 90 minutes back in 2019, and BLACKPINK made Coachella history twice with performances in 2019 and 2023 — K-pop's massive fanbase and multi-genre influence make it an ideal collaboration for everyone from rappers and singers to electronic DJs.

But don’t take our word for it. Here are nine of the most iconic K-Pop/Western collaborations (not in any order; they are all great songs!).

Usher and Jungkook - "Standing Next to You (Usher Remix)" (2024)

The maknae (the youngest member of the group) of global K-pop superstars BTS and the King of R&B are both having banner years: Jungkook released his debut solo album, and Usher just performed at the Super Bowl

The Bangtan Boys have cited Usher as a significant influence (even singing a callback to his 2001 hit "U Got It Bad" in their No. 1 song, "Butter"), so BTS fans were delighted when the Jungkook tapped Usher for a remix of "Standing Next to You." The song marks the fourth single from his Billboard 200 chart-topping debut album, Golden

Both singers count Michael Jackson as a major influence. In their collaboration video, Usher and Jungkook pay tribute to the King of Pop as they slide, pop, and lock across the slick floor of an abandoned warehouse. 

John Legend and Wendy of Red Velvet - "Written in the Stars" (2018)

R&B singer/pianist John Legend was the perfect choice for an R&B ballad with Wendy, the main vocalist of K-pop quintet Red Velvet. The final song on the five-track SM Station x 0, a digital music project, "Written in the Stars," is a beautiful, mid-tempo love song. A bit of a departure from K-pop’s typical upbeat sound, Wendy and Legend are in perfect harmony over a warm yet melancholic rhythm.

As Red Velvet’s main vocalist, Wendy was the ideal voice for this collaboration. Additionally, she split her childhood between Canada and the U.S., and has been comfortable singing in English since Red Velvet debuted in 2014. This wasn't her first collab with a Western artist: In 2017, she released an English-language version of the pop ballad "Vente Pa’Ca" with Ricky Martin

BLACKPINK and Selena Gomez - "Ice Cream" (2020)

A powerhouse debut single, BLACKPINK collaborated with pop royalty Selena Gomez on the massive 2020 hit "Ice Cream."

An electropop-bubblegum fusion filled with dairy double entendres, "Ice Cream" was an enormous success for both Gomez and the BLACKPINK girls. The track peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has racked up nearly 900 million YouTube views to date. 

Written by a consortium of hitmakers, including Ariana Grande and BLACKPINK’s longtime songwriter and producer Teddy Park (a former K-pop idol himself), "Ice Cream" shows that YG Entertainment’s golden foursome and Gomez were the correct partnership for this track. The pop-trap bop marked the first time a K-pop girl group broke the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and immediately solidified BLACKPINK as global superstars. 

Snoop Dogg and Monsta X - "How We Do" (2022)

West Coast rap godfather Snoop Dogg has quietly become one of the go-to Western acts for K-pop collabs, working with Psy, BTS, Girls’ Generation and 2NE1. K-pop is the Dogg Father's "guilty pleasure," and he performed at the Mnet Asian Music Awards with Dr. Dre in 2011. Without Snoop's love of K-pop, the world might not have gotten this fun and energetic collaboration with Snoop and Monsta X, a five-member boy group under Starship Entertainment.

The song appears in The Spongebob Movie: Sponge On The Run in a dance segment where Snoop, decked out in a pink and purple Western suit, is accompanied by zombie dancers. Though we do not see the members of Monsta X, their harmonious crooning is the perfect accent to Snoop Dogg’s trademark casual West Coast flow.

BTS and Steven Aoki - "MIC Drop (Steve Aoki remix)" (2017)

No K-pop list is complete with a nod to the magnificent seven, and "MIC Drop" is one of their catchiest Western collabs to date. 

"Mic Drop" is quintessential BTS: a nod to hip-hop with a heavy bass line and fun choreography. While the original version of "MIC Drop" is excellent, the remix with EDM superstar DJ Steve Aoki and rapper Desiigner cracked the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 — the first of many hits for the Bulletproof Boy Scouts. 

Released at a time when BTS were just starting their ascent to chart-topping Western dominance, the track's boastful lyrics and tension-building electro-trap production offered an excellent introduction to the group that would soon become international superstars. 

JYJ, Kanye West and Malik Yusef - "Ayyy Girl" (2010)

A truly deep K-pop cut, you’d be hard-pressed to find many people who know that Kanye West collaborated with a first-generation K-pop group over 13 years ago. Released as the lead single on JYJ’s English-language album The Beginning, West’s signature bravado and wordplay are on full display over a track that sounds like the Neptunes produced it.

The song garnered attention in the U.S., but after a string of bad luck (including a severely delayed U.S. visa process and issues with their management company, SM Entertainment), JYJ could not capitalize on their American success. The group continued to see success in Korea and Japan in the early 2010s but never made a splash in the Western market again.

IVE and Saweetie - "All Night" (2024)

A reimagining of Icona Pop’s 2013 song of the same name, "All Night," sees fourth-generation K-pop girl group IVE partner with rap’s resident glamor girl Saweetie for a funky, electronic-infused pop song that’s perfect for dancing from dusk till dawn. 

"All Night" is the first English song for the Starship Entertainment-backed group. Interestingly, none of the members of IVE have individual lines in the song, choosing instead to sing the lyrics in a six-part harmony. This choice is exciting but fun, giving listeners the feeling that they are more than welcome to sing along. 

The girl group embarked on their first 24-date world tour in January 2024, with stops in the U.S., Asia, Europe and South America. Given their quest for global dominance, there’s a good chance "All Night" won’t be IVE's last English-language release.

BTS and Megan Thee Stallion - "Butter (Remix)" (2021)

BTS’ "Butter" had already spent three weeks atop the Billboard charts and was declared the "song of the summer" when the group’s label announced Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion as the guest star for the song’s remix in late August 2021. The GRAMMY-nominated septet is no stranger to collaborating with Western musicians, having worked with Halsey, Jason Derulo, and Coldplay

Though only slightly altered from the original (Megan’s verse was added in place of the song’s second original verse, along with several ad-libs), the remix was praised by both fans and critics alike, catapulting the song’s return back to the No. 1. Although the collaborators did not release a new music video featuring the group and the self-proclaimed "Hot Girl Coach," three members of BTS’ "dance line" (members J-Hope, Jungkook and Jimin) released a specially choreographed dance video. Additionally, Megan was a surprise guest during BTS’ record-breaking Permission to Dance LA concert in November of the same year.

LE SSERAFIM and Niles Rodgers - "Unforgiven" (2023)

GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Nile Rodgers' first foray into K-pop was a partnership with LE SSERAFIM, a fourth-gen girl group from the same parent company behind BTS. "Unforgiven" was released earlier this year as the lead single from the group’s debut album of the same name. 

A darker take on the familiar K-pop formula with A Western feel and look (the young quintuplet dons cowboy hats, boots and bolo ties in the song’s accompanying music video), "Unforgiven" is about rebellion and being a fierce, strong and independent risk taker. That riskiness drew Rodgers' ear. 

"It seems like a lot of the K-pop that I'm hearing lately, the…chord changes are a lot more interesting than what's been happening [in other music fields] over the last few years," he told in 2023. "I come from a jazz background, so to hear chord changes like that is really cool. They’re not afraid, which is great to me."

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