The JYP Entertainment K-pop boy group Stray Kids has been popular arguably since before the members lineup was ever even finalized. That is because Mnet had aired a TV series called Stray Kids between October 17, 2017 and December 19, 2017 about establishing the final lineup. However, it wasn’t the usual “survival” show like JYP’s Sixteen, which had created Twice. Rather, the show was more about the individual members of the preestablished team proving themselves in various ways, and in fact, Lee Minho (Lee Know) and Felix were each eliminated at one point before being re-added to the team during the final episode, in which 96% of live voters said they wanted the full nine-member lineup to debut as opposed to only seven members. The story of how and when Stray Kids debuted is even a bit longer than that though. So here is the full answer to when Woojin, Bang Chan, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N made their debut as Stray Kids (SKZ).
Stray Kids (SKZ) Officially Debuted on March 25, 2018
Stray Kids officially made their debut on March 25, 2018 in a showcase held at Jangchung Arena, with the mini-album I am NOT and lead single “District 9” releasing on March 26. I am NOT featured eight songs in total: “NOT!,” “District 9,” “Mirror,” “Awaken,” “ROCK (돌),” “잘 하고 있어 (Grow Up),” “3rd Eye,” and (CD-only) “Mixtape#1.” Every song on the album was composed by and had lyrics written by Stray Kids members, particularly the songwriting trio known as 3Racha (Bang Chan, Changbin, and Han), with occasional other co-composers. In particular, “District 9” was composed by Bang Chan, Changbin, Han, and Trippy, and it was arranged by Trippy and Bang Chan.
The “District 9” music video arrived on March 26, 2018, while a “잘 하고 있어 (Grow Up)” music video arrived on March 31. (More performance and special videos for songs on the album would subsequently be released.) After their debut showcase, Stray Kids performed for the first time on March 29, 2018 on M Countdown with “District 9” and “ROCK (돌).”
However, this was not actually the first time Stray Kids had released music or even a music video. The first Stray Kids music video was actually for “Hellevator,” released on October 5, 2017, prior to the TV series even airing. “Hellevator” was composed by Armadillo, Bang Chan, Changbin, Han, and Rangga. “Hellevator” was then released as a digital single on November 1, 2017.
After the TV series concluded yet still prior to debut, Stray Kids released the predebut EP Mixtape on January 8, 2018. Mixtape included seven songs in total, each previously heard in the TV series: “Hellevator,” “Grrr 총량의 법칙” (“Beware”), “어린 날개 (Spread My Wings),” “YAYAYA,” “GLOW,” “School Life,” and “4419.” “Grrr 총량의 법칙” received a performance video on the same day, followed by a performance video for “어린 날개 (Spread My Wings)” on January 15, 2018.
So, the road to debut for SKZ was long yet highly successful. Stray Kids would go on to sell millions of albums over the years, with the only surprising hiccup being that Woojin would leave the group for “personal reasons” in October 2019. The group would continue on as eight members afterward.
In summary, Stray Kids made their debut in a showcase on March 25, 2018, with their first mini-album, I am NOT, releasing one day later. They had released one predebut EP, Mixtape, on January 15, 2018, and their first music video, for “Hellevator,” was released back on October 5, 2017.
For more about the group, check out how old the Stray Kids members currently are or who the leader of the group is. Or for more JYP group debuts, perhaps you would like to check out when Twice, Itzy, or NMIXX made their debut.