BTS on gaining respect in the US: ‘We definitely feel that’

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FILE - Members of South Korean K-Pop group BTS appear during a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, on April 17, 2019. Dynamite, the groups first all-English song, debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. music charts this week, making BTS first Korean pop act to top the chart. (Jo Soo-jung/Newsis via AP, File)

NEW YORK – Loud and happy screams erupt in unison from the seven-member pop stars BTS when they hear they have notched their first No. 1 hit on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“DREAM,” yells band member RM. “It still doesn’t feel real,” adds SUGA, speaking in Korean through a translator. “We’re really happy.”

“Dynamite,” the group’s first all-English song, debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. music charts this week, making BTS the first Korean pop act to top the chart. The upbeat song even supplanted “WAP,” the raunchy smash hit by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, to claim the No. 1 position.

“Never expected it,” RM tells The Associated Press of beating “WAP” for the top spot. “Never! It’s like the song of the year.”

But getting their first chart-topping track seemed inevitable for the K-pop boy band, who have continued to find major success in the U.S. in the last few years. They’ve had four albums top Billboard’s 200 albums chart, they’ve achieved Top 10 successes on the Hot 100 with “Boy With Luv,” “On” and “Fake Love,” and in just minutes they’ve sold out U.S. football stadiums that some pop stars need to join forces to perform at.

And even at U.S. awards shows, they’ve gone from winning honors like “top social artist” to being named best group and best pop act, beating out Maroon 5, Imagine Dragons, twenty one pilots, Jonas Brothers and others. At Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards, they won all four prizes they were nominated for.

When asked if BTS — who released their debut single in 2013 — felt like they’ve begun to earn more respect from the U.S., RM said: “We definitely feel that.”

“I think in the perspective of culture, I think it’s really important to be familiar. So first, we think ... that for many Americans (they were) not familiar with (us) — we look different, we (sing) different, we got some different choreography, music videos, like everything, even lifestyle. But I think as time goes by, we’re doing these shows and songs and concerts and awards, I think quite a lot of people in the American music market is getting, like, kind of close (to us),” he said. “I think it’s very good and that’s what we wanted actually.”