South Korean boy band U-KISS (an acronym for Ubiquitous Korean International Super Star) incorporate rap into their R&B-influenced, pop-oriented singing. They were assembled in Seoul in 2008 by record label NH Media. With the original lineup of Kim Kibum and Kevin Woo, both formerly of Xing, Shin Soo-hyun, Alexander Lee Eusebio, Kim Eli, and Shin Dongho, they released their first EP, New Generation, in 2008. With some bandmembers fluent in multiple languages, the media company Yashimoto Group invested in the group to present them as an international act, earning them a following in Japan. A second EP, Bring It Back 2 Old School, was issued in 2009, and Lee Kiseop was added to the band for the ContiUKiss EP later in the year and Break Time in 2010. Their debut LP, Only One, followed early that year and hit the charts in multiple countries across Asia. The band performed in Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and more, and starred in its own television variety show, All About U-KISS, with individual members appearing on several other Asian television shows.
In 2011, Kim Kibum and Alexander Lee Eusebio left U-KISS and were replaced by Kim Jae Seop ("AJ"), formerly of Paran, and Yeo Hoon Min. The EP Bran New Kiss and long-player Neverland arrived later that year. Their first Japanese album, A Shared Dream, followed in 2012. The band toured in Japan to support the record and sold out music halls throughout the country. Another EP, DoraDora, appeared that spring, with The Special to Kissme coming in June and Stop Girl following in September. Meanwhile, the band began playing larger venues in Asia, including the Budokan in Tokyo. Their third full-length Korean album, Collage, and second Japanese album, Inside of Me, were released in 2013. Later that year, Shin Dongho left the band, and the EP Moments was issued. The vocalists played shows in the U.S. in January of 2014, stopping in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City, and the Japanese album Memories appeared just before they added Lee Jun-young to the lineup that spring. The Mono Scandal EP followed in June, and another EP, Always, was released in early 2015. The prolific output continued as U-KISS' fourth Japanese LP, Action, arrived in March and a Christmas EP landed at the end of the year. In 2016, almost a year to the day since their prior Japanese album, they issued their fifth, One Shot One Kill. Their 11th EP, Stalker, was released that summer, featuring the propulsive, BTS-esque title track. ~ Marcy Donelson