The Ultimate Guide to NCT: Everything you need to know
Why is NCT formed?
What does NCT mean?
Is NCT the first SM group with many member?
NCT members and sub-units
The lineup consisted of members Jaehyun, Taeyong, Taeil, Ten, Mark, and Doyoung.
‘Without You’ lineup (from L to R): Doyoung, Jaehyun, Taeil. Image: SM Entertainment
NCT U is the most confusing sub-unit, as it is a rotational unit. This means that the lineup for NCT U is not fixed.
However, NCT U is also the least active sub-unit—apart from their debut singles, the rest of their discography consists only of drama OSTs and tracks in joint NCT albums.
NCT 127 is the Seoul-based unit of NCT, and the ‘127’ in their name refers to the longitude coordinate of Seoul.
Although NCT 127 is a fixed unit, the sub-unit has gone through some changes to their lineup.
NCT 127 originally debuted as a seven-member group, consisting of members Taeil, Yuta, Taeyong, Jaehyun, Winwin, Mark, and Haechan.
Original NCT 127 lineup (from L to R): Haechan, Jaehyun, Taeyong, Mark, Winwin, Yuta, Taeil. Image: theqoo.net
For their second EP Limitless, SM announced that two new members, Johnny and Doyoung (NCT U member), would be joining NCT 127.
The group also added a new member, Jungwoo (member of NCT U’s Boss unit), bringing the total number of members up to ten.
NCT 127 promoted briefly as a ten-member group. However, Winwin did not join them for their LP repackage promotions as he was preparing to debut with WayV, and Haechan took a hiatus due to injuries.
Haechan returned to the group a few months after, but Winwin has stopped promoting with NCT 127 since 2018. SM Entertainment has not made any official statement with regards to Winwin’s status.
Current active NCT 127 lineup (from L to R): Jungwoo, Johnny, Taeyong, Taeil, Mark, Haechan, Jaehyun, Yuta, Doyoung. Image: reddit
Here’s an interview NCT 129 did with Buzzfeed back in 2019! Not only did it have us in stitches with laughter, it’s also a great way to get to know the members and get a peek at the group dynamics.
The third NCT sub-unit, NCT Dream, debuted on 25 August 2016, with title track Chewing Gum.
The debut lineup consisted of seven members Mark, Haechan, Jaemin, Jeno, Renjun, Chenle, Jisung. Their average age was only 15.6 years old!
As opposed to NCT 127’s more hip hop oriented concepts and music, NCT Dream had a much more youthful vibe.
However, their music has matured over the years along with the age of the members.
Debut NCT Dream lineup (from L to R): Jeno, Haechan, Chenle, Mark, Jisung, Jaemin, Renjun. Image: spottvnews
Initially, NCT Dream was meant to follow a graduation system. Members would leave the group once they turn 20 (19 international age), and new members would be added.
Mark was the first member to graduate, and NCT Dream had their first comeback without him in 2019.
2nd NCT Dream lineup (from L to R): Chenle, Jeno, Jaemin, Jisung, Haechan, Renjun. Image: weibo
But, SM Entertainment then formally announced the abolishment of this graduation system in 2020. Mark (who had previously graduated and had not promoted with the group since 2018) was then re-added to the official lineup.
Watch STATV’s short three-part series with NCT Dream to get to know the members!
However, while existing members will no longer leave the group, the lineup for NCT Dream will be rotational.
This means that not every comeback will feature all of them. This allows the members to promote with other NCT sub units (such as NCT 127, which Mark and Haechan are both fixed members of).
As of March 2021, NCT Dream has not made a comeback with all seven members.
One song we recommend: Boom
In 2018, NCT embarked on its first large-scale collaborative project.
Both NCT 127 and NCT Dream, as well as new combinations of NCT U were featured on the album, titled Empathy.
NCT 2018 marked the formal debut of members Kun, Jungwoo, and Lucas.
NCT 2018 lineup (from L to R): Kun, Taeil, Doyoung, Chenle, Renjun, Jungwoo, Jaemin, Jeno, Jaehyun, Taeyong, Winwin, Lucas, Ten, Mark, Jisung, Yuta, Johnny, Haechan. Image: seoulbeats
One of the promotional tracks was Black on Black, a track that featured all eighteen members.
This was the first time all eighteen members had shared a single stage, and they are absolutely amazing to watch.
One song we recommend: Black on Black
The latest of the NCT sub-units to debut, WayV (威神V in Chinese) is NCT’s Chinese sub-unit.
Why does WayV not contain NCT?
The first thing you might notice about WayV is their name—unlike the previous sub-units, they do not contain NCT in their group name.
This is due to political tensions between South Korea and China at the time of WayV’s debut. This led to WayV unable to openly associate with NCT, a Korean boy band.
They are also managed mainly by Label V, SM Entertainment’s China-exclusive label.
Had it not been for these issues, WayV is rumoured to have been originally named NCT Vision.
Although the rumor is unconfirmed, it does make sense, as the outro track on NCT 2018 Empathy was titled Outro: Vision.
WayV itself is also an acronym for “We Are Your Vision”.
WayV made their debut with Regular (a Chinese version of NCT 127’s Regular) on 17 January 2019, with members Kun, Ten, Winwin, Lucas, Xiaojun, Hendery, and Yangyang.
Despite being from different cities—different countries even, for Bangkok born-and-raised member Ten—all of the members are of Chinese descent.
Be awed by WayV’s language abilities in this video with Hello82, where they learn some Bahasa Indonesian.
Of the seven members, four had previously debuted with NCT—Kun, Ten, and Lucas had been in NCT U, while Winwin had been in both NCT 127 and NCT U.
The other three youngest members made their debut with WayV.
WayV lineup (from L to R): Kun, Yangyang, Winwin, Lucas, Ten, Xiaojun, Hendery. Image: sina
WayV is the only NCT sub-unit that has not undergone any lineup changes. However, WayV is currently promoting their latest comeback as a five member group. As members Lucas and Winwin are in China for personal schedules at the moment.
Lucas and Winwin participated in the tracks on the EP, Kick Back, but are not promoting the title track on music shows with the rest of the group.
WayV current promotional lineup (from L to R): Ten, Xiaojun, Kun, Yangyang, Hendery. Image: twitter
WayV members Winwin (L) and Lucas (R) are currently in China. Image: Twitter
One song we recommend: Kick Back
As part of their promotions for Kick Back, WayV are encouraging fans to take part in their Kick Back challenge on TikTok. Check out the dance and give it a try yourself!
In 2020, two years after their first collaborative album, SM Entertainment announced the NCT 2020 project.
Just like NCT 2018, this project would feature all the members of NCT, and it marked WayV’s official acknowledgement as an NCT sub-unit.
Titled Resonance, the NCT 2020 album features tracks from all three fixed-units, as well as NCT U.
The new members, Shotaro and Sungchan were also introduced in this album.
Both new members participated in NCT U tracks from Resonance, but are not in any fixed units as of March 2021.
NCT U ‘Make A Wish’ lineup (from L to R): Xiaojun, Jaemin, Shotaro, Taeyong, Jaehyun, Doyoung, Lucas. Image: Twitter
NCT U ‘90’s Love’ lineup (from L to R): Haechan, Ten, Mark, Winwin, Jeno, Sungchan, Yangyang. Image: reddit
Shotaro and Sungchan also participated in Resonance, a mash-up of several NCT U songs from the NCT 2020 albums. It features all twenty-three members.
Song we recommend: Resonance
Check out Shotaro’s part at 0:52 (from Make A Wish) and Sungchan’s part (from 90’s Love) at 1:45!
Most popular NCT groups
NCT 127 is probably one of the most well-known NCT sub-units, along with NCT Dream.
Most people are less familiar with the other two sub-units, NCT U and WayV, for a variety of reasons.
Some of the NCT members also have activities outside of the group!
Doyoung of NCT 127 and Baekhyun of EXO recently released a duet, while 4 other members join a super group with their company seniors.
Yes, four members of NCT—Mark and Taeyong from NCT 127, along with Ten and Lucas from WayV—are part of SuperM. How amazing is that?
Many of the NCT members have cited SHINee and EXO as seniors that they look up to. Some memebrs were even inspired by these K-pop veterans to join the industry in the first place!
This makes it super cool that they’re able to work together.
Mark, Taeyong, Ten, and Lucas all often talk about how amazing it is to work with their seniors, as well as how much they’ve learned from them.
Watch SuperM take the friendship test and see for yourself how close the NCT boys have gotten to their seniors!
While the sheer size of NCT might be intimidating at first, it helps to think of them as three groups (NCT 127, NCT Dream, WayV) under the same brand.
They occasionally get together to collaborate as NCT U.
What sets NCT apart from other groups is the sheer variety that they offer, both in terms of concepts and music, as well as personalities within the group.
Each sub-unit of NCT has their own unique concepts—NCT 127’s sound tends to lean towards hip hop, while NCT Dream has a more youthful concept, and WayV sings in Chinese.
Also, with twenty-three members in one group, it means that there will definitely be at least one person that you’re bound to like!
All the members bring something special to the group, and NCTzens and Wayzennis are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a bias.
While there are fans who enjoy and support all three fixed sub-units, it is not a requirement at all! There are many fans who mostly support one sub-unit while still being respectful of the other two.
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