League Of Legends Music Group Moves Away From K-Pop Toward "More Global Pop Sound”

League of Legends’ virtual pop group K/DA took the world by storm when they debuted POP/STARS at the 2018 League of Legends World Championships. The song became an instant hit and turned K/DA into a phenomenon whose popularity was almost independent of League itself. Now, two years later, K/DA is back with a new song: THE BADDEST.

THE BADDEST is the “pre-release single” from K/DA’s debut EP, which is scheduled to be released later this year. While the League characters in K/DA’s lineup—Ahri, Evelynn, Kai’sa, and Akali—remain the same, vocalists Madison Beer and Jaira Burns have not returned for THE BADDEST. Singers Bea Miller and Wolfyta have instead joined K-Pop girl group (G)-IDLE’s Soyeon and Miyeon for this new single.

This appears to be the trend for K/DA’s as-of-yet unnamed EP, as Riot Games has stated that other tracks will be featuring collaborations with other artists. Who those artists will be has yet to be announced, but expect Riot Games’ social media pages to blast the news far and wide as K/DA’s EP release date approaches.

While POP/STAR took K/DA’s cool, “don’t mess with me” girl group energy and ran with it, Riot Games stated that it seeks to “to embrace a more global sound” with THE BADDEST. The difference is immediately obvious upon listening to the two tracks.

THE BADDEST is a lot heavier on the rap than POP/STARS, which already featured a very memorable rap segment from Akali, whose explosive vocals are provided by (G)-Idle’s Soyeon. Although it’s still definitively a K-Pop song, THE BADDEST notably more accessible to audiences unfamiliar with the genre by playing on pop music trends that have popular in recent years.

Considering that several big-name K-Pop girl groups—notably Blackpink, who recently finished a collaboration with musical icon Lady Gaga and dropped Ice Cream, a collaboration with Selena Gomez, a day after THE BADDEST released—have had the same idea, THE BADDEST may not have the dramatic impact that POP/STAR had.

THE BADDEST has only been released as a lyric video, lacking the stunning animation that helped propel POP/STAR to the forefront of public consciousness. Don’t lose hope; THE BADDEST or another track on the upcoming EP may yet feature an animated music video. While quite different from POP/STAR, THE BADDEST has certainly made an impact on League and music fans alike.

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