Q-pop or Qazaq pop is a music genre originating in Kazakhstan.[1][2][3] It is a modern form of Kazakhstani pop music sung in Kazakh, incorporating elements of Western pop music, Kazakhstani hip hop, EDM, R&B and Toi-pop, with heavy influences from K-pop of South Korea.[4][5][6] The genre first surfaced in 2015 when the first Q-pop group, Ninety One debuted.[7] Since then the genre has experienced growing popularity among Kazakhstani youths, with more Q-pop artists forming and debuting.[5][8]


Kazakhstan experienced the Korean Wave when South Korean dramas and movies started entering the country in the mid 2000s.[9] This phenomenon, assisted by the increasing accessibility of the internet, sparked more interest in South Korean pop culture among Kazakhstanis, which helped the popularization of the K-pop music genre in Kazakhstan.[10][11] K-pop is regarded as an attractive, less-restrictive and unique genre.[12] The high popularity of K-pop in Kazakhstan spurred the creation of the first Q-pop project in 2014, when JUZ Entertainment formed Ninety One.[13] After the group debuted in 2015, it became instantly popular among youth, due to its high quality music and the use of Kazakh in its songs.[1][14]

Current status

Q-pop is enjoying support from both the government and the people as a means to promote and popularize the use of Kazakh language and Latin script among youth.[5][15][16] However, it has also faced criticism and rejection from the traditionalist element of society, especially toward its performers' on-stage appearance.[17][18][19] Since 2018, there has been an annual q-pop music festival called the Q-Fest, usually held during Autumn in Almaty.[20][21]

List of Q-pop performers

Boy bands

Girl groups

Co-ed groups

Musical duos

Male soloists

Female soloists

Crossover artists

These artists also sing in genres besides Q-pop such as Toi, Hip-Hop & R&B

List of Q-pop record labels and management agencies


  1. ^ a b September 2016, Zhazira Dyussembekova in Culture on 28 (28 September 2016). "Kazakh Band Tops Turkish Music Chart". The Astana Times. Retrieved 9 October 2019.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Alexakis, Vanessa (22 June 2018). "Star of Asia international music festival wows audiences in Kazakhstan". euronews. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  3. ^ Kakim, Danabayev; Jowon, Park (2020). "Q-pop as a Phenomenon to Enhance New Nationalism in Post-Soviet Kazakhstan". Asia Review (in Korean). 9 (2): 85–129. doi:10.24987/snuacar.2020. S2CID 216248011. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  4. ^ Goldsmith, Melissa Ursula Dawn; Fonseca, Anthony J. (31 December 2018). Hip Hop around the World: An Encyclopedia [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313357596.
  5. ^ a b c Laruelle, Marlene (30 August 2019). The Nazarbayev Generation: Youth in Kazakhstan. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781793609144.
  6. ^ March 2016, Zhanna Shayakhmetova in Culture on 26 (26 March 2016). "Kazakh Pop Music Experiencing Heyday". The Astana Times. Retrieved 9 October 2019.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ "Ninety one — арманға апарар жол | angime.kz — качественный и познавательный контент". angime.kz – качественный и познавательный контент (in Russian). 30 July 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Kazakh Music | Kazakhstan Culture | Travel to Kazakhstan". visitkazakhstan.kz. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  9. ^ "Kazakhstan eager to learn Korea's 'can-do' spirit". The Korea Times. 16 October 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  10. ^ "'Korean Wave' affecting many aspects of life in Kazakhstan". The Dong-a Ilbo. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Korean Wave Sweeps Across Kazakhstan". Assembly of people of Kazakhstan. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Music trends shift often from decade-to-decade, and that's what makes the music world fun. For example, twenty years ago, who would have predicted that J-P". K Crush America Magazine. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  13. ^ "This Former SM Entertainment Trainee Is Now A Top Star in a Different Country". Koreaboo. 9 July 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Artist Spotlight: Ninety one". soundboardasia. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  15. ^ Otan, Merey (2019). Not Suitable for Kazakhs? Authenticity and National Identity in Contemporary Kazakhstani Music (Thesis thesis). Nazarbayev University, School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
  16. ^ "Q-pop strengthens consciousness Kazakhstan". news.myseldon.com. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  17. ^ Oryn, Dariya. "Between Kazakh Batyrs and Feminization of Masculinity: Korean Wave as Means of Transformation". Central European University: 40. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ Morton, Elise. "Introducing Q-pop: the genre you've never heard of causing scandal in Kazakhstan". The Calvert Journal. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Does Kazakhstan have a show business? – Info times". Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  20. ^ TODAY.KZ. "Куда пойти в Алматы 27–28 октября". Today.kz. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  21. ^ "Q-Fest 2019: сольный дебют A.Z., новый состав JUZIM и Z-pop". НТК. Retrieved 9 October 2019.