Well, unless you have been avoiding the internet or living under a rock, by now you have heard of Korean rapper PSY’s “Gangnam Style.” “Gangnam Style” has become a global hit this summer, amassing over 100million YouTube views in less than 2 months. By reaching 100million in 54 days, it’s now the 5th Most Viral YouTube video in history. This has become the most watched K-pop video in history, edging out “Gee” by SNSD/Girls’ Generation, who had over 80million views. PSY and his infectious horse dance have been spotted on numerous American shows, such as VH1’s “Morning Buzz,” Jay Leno, and Chelsea Handler. PSY has been spotted at a Dodgers’ game and put on the spot to dance to his hit song. “Gangnam Style” has also prompted numerous parodies. He just recently signed with Justin Beiber’s label, Island Records, and with Beiber’s manager for his international (non-Korean) promotions. PSY has also been invited the MTV VMA later this week.
The key to his success, in my opinion, is the PSY is simply, well, being PSY. Since debuting in 2001, PSY has been an artist to stick to what he is good at: outrageousness. This has of course led to criticism for his antics, but he continues to be popular in Korea. His first song, “Bird,” was released in 2000 and is still widely known. Tracks like “Champion” “Right Now,” and “Father” only further strengthened the love for PSY.
When he signed with YG Entertainment in 2010, I believe that PSY found the place where he would still be able to be himself. He may not be the most attractive artist ever, but he is an amazing performer. This is what has made the man, who never intended to be a break-out international star, into one of the most talked about artists. His fun personality, satirical lyrics, crazy dance, and general lovability are PSY’s greatest strength.
PSY is what makes K-pop, and music in general, great: at the end of the day, even if you don’t know what is being said, music has no boundaries.