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This week’s top 10 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the U.S. is flush with several new releases from a diverse array of musical talents, including well-known acts like Conan Gray, Luke Combs, and Chris Brown, to name a few. As Bad Bunny returns to the top spot for another go at No. 1 with Un Verano Sin Ti, one artist who launches not far behind makes important history and shows just how far stars from her home country have come in this nation.
Nayeon, one of the nine members of the South Korean girl group Twice, debuts her first solo collection—the appropriately-titled I’m Nayeon—at No. 7 on the latest edition of the Billboard 200, Billboard’s weekly ranking of the most-consumed projects in America. As her set opens inside the top 10, she becomes the first K-pop solo star to hit the highest tier on the most competitive and important albums chart in the largest music market in the world.
I’m Nayeon starts its time on the Billboard 200 at No. 7 thanks to 57,000 equivalent units shifted in the first seven days the title was available. The vast majority of those album units—52,000 to be exact—were pure purchases, as tens of thousands of fans of Nayeon showed their support by not just streaming the EP, but by buying the CD in droves.
While Nayeon may be the first South Korean solo musician to reach the top 10 on the Billboard 200, others who came before her nearly snagged this piece of history for themselves. Perhaps most notably, BTS member Suga missed out on the loftiest tier on the tally by one space back in the summer of 2020. Using his alter ego Agust D (which he utilizes sometimes when releasing solo material), Suga’s D-2 mixtape peaked at No. 11 before falling back down the list. Until now, only Suga and two other BTS singers—RM (mono., No. 26) and J-Hope (Hope World, No. 38)—have also landed top 40-charting titles.
Nayeon may be new to the top 10 on the Billboard 200 on her own, but as a member of Twice, she’s found herself between Nos. 1 and 10 before. So far, the band has sent a pair of studio efforts into the lofty space, with both hitting the arena last year. In June, Taste of Love peaked at No. 6, and before 2021 wrapped, they surged to a new high point with Formula of Love: O+T=<3, which stalled at No. 3.
With her first top 10 album, Nayeon is now included in the small-but-ever-expanding group of K-pop acts that have become popular enough in America to chart at least one title inside the uppermost arena on the Billboard 200. She now sits alongside all of the following 10 names from South Korea who have placed at least one release between Nos. 1 and 10: Blackpink, BTS, Monsta X, NCT, NCT 127, Seventeen, SuperM, Stray Kids, Twice, and TXT.