Stray Kids is an all-male idol group formed by JYP Entertainment through a reality survival program of the same name in 2017. The group consists of nine members – Bang Chan, Woojin, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N. They officially made their debut on March 26, 2018 with the release of the extended play (EP) I Am Not, featuring the title track “District 9”.
2017 to 2018: Formation and official debut
JYP Entertainment (JYPE) officially announced in August 2017 that they will be launching a new reality survival show to debut their next male idol group. In the duration of the show, two members – Lee Know and Felix – were eliminated from the group but were still added back in the final line-up. Prior to the group’s official debut, Stray Kids released their first music video for the song “Hellevator,” which was eventually released as a digital single.
The agency also launched an official website for the group, along with the announcement of their upcoming pre-debut EP, Mixtape. The EP features a total of seven tracks all co-written and co-composed by the members, including the previously released single “Hellevator” and other songs they have performed while on the show.
Mixtape was released on January 8, 2018, along with the release of the performance video for the EP’s second title track, “Beware”. A week later, they released the performance video of “Spread My Wings”. The EP debuted at number 2 on Gaon’s Album Chart and Billboard’s World Albums chart.
On March 5, JYPE announced Stray Kids’ debut showcase, titled Stray Kids Unveil (Op. 01: I Am Not), which was scheduled on March 25 at the Jangchung Arena in Seoul.
On March 26, the group officially debuted with the release of their EP, I Am Not, together with the music video for the title track, “District 9”. Meanwhile, the music video of “Grow Up” and performance video of “Mirror,” were released on March 31 and April 23, respectively. I Am Not debuted at number four on the Gaon Album Chart, selling more than 54,000 physical copies in March.
Stray Kids performed at KCON Japan 2018 on April 14, marking their first overseas performance since debut.
On July 12, JYPE announced that the group will be holding their second showcase, titled Stray Kids Unveil (Op. 02: I Am Who), at Kyung Hee University’s Grand Peace Palace on August 5. The boys’ second EP, I Am Who, was released on August 6, along with the title track, “My Pace”.
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