BTS To Guest Star On "Friends" Reunion, And 5 Other K-Pop Stories You Need To Read

    From JAY B's new single "Switch It Up" to BTS guest starring in the Friends reunion, these are the K-Pop stories you need to know this week!

    1. BTS will make a guest appearance on HBO Max's upcoming Friends reunion special:

    BTS poses in a teaser image for their upcoming single "Butter"

    2. NCT Dream made this week extra spicy with their single "Hot Sauce!"

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    This is not a dream — NCT Dream is really back! On May 10, the group returned with their first full-length album, Hot Sauce, and to celebrate its release held a global press conference on the same day to discuss the album's eponymous title track, the return of members Mark and Jisung, and why this album holds a special place in their hearts.

    According to member Jaemin, the album's title track "Hot Sauce" is a hip-hop infused bop that expresses the group's "determination to show our hot sauce-like charms [that are] so powerful and stimulating that once you've had a taste, you can't escape." With its powerful bridge and hypnotic chorus, trust me when I say you'll quickly find yourself singing along to this spicy track.

    The members of NCT Dream were all between the ages of 14 and 18 when they debuted in 2016 with the bubbly pop track "Chewing Gum." Now, as they've continued to grow over the last five years, they're focused on branching out and exploring new, flavorful genres and concepts together. "When we first debuted, we were just really young and that was just the ‘one flavor’ we could offer," Jeno said. "I think as we’ve progressed in our career, there are multiple flavors we can now showcase to everyone."

    And that exploration has been well-received by fans; ahead of the release of Hot Sauce, the album had already racked up over 1.71 million pre-orders, smashing the group's previous record. It is also the first album to see members Mark and Jisung return to the group; Mark was reinstated as a member of NCT Dream this year after he initially "graduated" out of the group in 2019, while Jisung sustained an injury last year that kept him from performing. It was the reunification of NCT Dream that Mark said made the album was "more meaningful" to the group than anything else, because they could finally release their first full-length album together.

    "I think with all seven members back now, we’re able to showcase all the different colors and charms we, as NCT DREAM, have to show," Renjun added.

    This week also saw the release of Oh My Girls' "Dun Dun Dance," Oneus' "Black Mirror," Blitzer's "Breathe Again," WJSN The Black's "Easy," Wonho's "Ain’t About You (ft. Kiiara)," Kang Daniel's "Outerspace (ft. Loco)," ITZY's English version of "In The Morning," (G)I-DLE Yuqi's "Giant," and B.I, Destiny Rogers, and Tyla Yaweh's "Got It Like That," so make sure to check those out as well!

    3. JAY B releases first solo single "Switch It Up" under new label H1GHR MUSIC:

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    On May 11, JAY B revealed that he had signed with Jay Park's record label H1GHR MUSIC by releasing a unique, minute-long video that saw him riding a motorcycle through the desert in a sandstorm.

    The 27-year-old singer, songwriter, and producer later took to Instagram to celebrate the news with his fans. "Hello this is JAY B. Starting today, I will be with H1GHR MUSIC," he wrote on Instagram. "I'm very happy to be showing my music with H1GHR MUSIC, but on the other hand I'm also worried too. I'll do my best to show you better performances in the future so that I can be a good addition to [the company]." He also thanked fans new and old who have been excitedly awaiting his solo debut.

    Following the announcement, JAY B released his first official single as a solo artist on May 14 (aka today!). Produced by Cha Cha Malone and featuring rapper Sokodomo, "Switch It Up" is a silky smooth R&B track that allows JAY B's glossy and effortlessly cool vocals to truly shine. Congratulations, JAY B! We can't wait to see what the future holds in store for you.

    4. KCON announced online K-Pop festival "KCON:TACT 4 U" will return next month and released its first artist lineup:

    KCON:TACT is ready! Especially 4 U ✨ 📍 WHEN: JUNE 19(SAT)~27(SUN), 2021 ▶ #KCON #KCONTACT4U

    @kconusa / Twitter / Via Twitter: @kconusa

    Break out your lightsticks, because it's KCON:TACT time! The fourth iteration of the popular livestream K-Pop festival, titled "KCON:TACT 4 U," will be held next month from Jun. 19 to Jun. 27.

    To get fans properly excited, KCON:TACT has already revealed its first lineup of artists who will perform throughout the nine-day event:Weki Meki, SF9, ONF, Oneus, iKON, Highlight, Golden Child, and BTOB. An additional two more lineups full of more incredible artists will be revealed in the future leading up to the festival.

    KCON:TACT 4 U will feature artist performances, meet and greets, panels, and more that will be livestreamed around the world and translated into multiple languages. No ticket information for the event is currently available, but once it is released we'll be sure to keep you updated so that you don't miss out on the K-Pop event of the summer!

    5. EXO's Baekhyun revealed that he will release a new YouTube video every month during his military enlistment:

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    백현 Baekhyun / YouTube / Via

    Baekhyun might have enlisted in the South Korean military last week, but that doesn't mean fans won't be receiving new content from him anytime soon! In addition to participating in EXO's upcoming special album Don't Fight the Feeling, Baekhyun has also prepared a series of videos for his YouTube channel, "큥Tube," that will be released every month.

    "Hello, this is Baekhyun! My dear 큥Tube subscribers, I enlisted [on] May 6, but I want to go on with you guys! Will you be with me!?!" He wrote in the video's description box. "큥Tube will be uploaded monthly on the 17 at 7 p.m. KST (6 a.m. EST). However, this schedule can be altered depending on timeliness."

    In his first video, titled "Three Ways to Wait for Baekhyun," Baekhyun shares his feelings about enlisting and three ways that fans can eagerly await his return: by watching his monthly videos, listening to his solo albums, and by writing to him about their day through the hashtag #백현아오늘은 ('Baekhyun-a, today...'). "I guarantee you that we'll meet again," he said in the video. "We will laugh together."

    In addition to this month's video, Baekhyun also shared a handwritten letter on May 13 through the fan platform Lysn updating fans on his condition. He also politely asked fans to use the hashtag #백현아이때만을노렸다 ('Baekhyun, I've been aiming for this moment') to share their feelings and life updates with him after his training center received an onslaught of heartfelt gifts, care packages, and letters from fans cheering him on. Both hashtags can be used to relay messages to Baekhyun, so be sure to leave him lots of love!

    6. And Tomorrow X Together, Mamamoo, EXO, and more announced new music is on the way!

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    HYBE LABELS / YouTube / Via

    * On May 10, Tomorrow X Together released a chillingly cool concept trailer for their upcoming mini-album The Chaos Chapter: Freeze, which will be released on May 31. While the video initially begins with the group gleefully playing video games in a mall arcade, it quickly escalates as they are forced to fight their way to safety while being pelted with ice crystals. It's also got phenomenal choreography and cool visual effects too, so be sure check it out!

    * SHINee's Taemin released new photo teasers this week ahead of the arrival of his third mini-album, Advice, on May 18.

    * According to Soompi, Boyfriend revealed they will release a single to commemorate their 10 year anniversary on May 21.

    * EXO shared they will release a special album titled Don't Fight The Feeling on June 7. The group initially revealed that they were working on new music together in a video released on their ninth anniversary last month.

    * ENHYPEN announced they will make their Japanese debut on July 6 with the single album Border: 儚い.

    * On May 13, Mamamoo posted a cryptic comeback photo teaser alongside the words "MAMAMOO is coming back for you." Although no official release date has been confirmed, it's nice to know we'll be hearing new music from the group soon!

    That's it for this week! Have a lovely weekend, and be sure to catch up on last week's news if you missed it! ✨