Global Week: Tracking The Post-‘Gangnam Style’ Life Of Korean Pop Phenom PSY
The guy behind “Gangnam Style” is still thriving. How, Sway?
It’s been two years, three months, 15 days and 2.1 billion views since Korea’s favorite galloping pop star PSY dropped “Gangnam Style.” The tuxedo-clad singer-songwriter, born Park Jae-sang, paired the phrase “Oppan Gangnam Style” (which means big brother (to a female) in Korean)” with a horse-y dance that had Britney Spears and Ellen DeGeneres busting a move on national TV.
His horseplay was in popular demand outside of music, too. He trotted with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations Headquarters in October 2012 and sparked a prison flash mob in the Philippines. He even became the first artist to surpass a billion views on YouTube (eat dust, Biebs!).
Two months later, PSY landed a spot on ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and performed alongside MC Hammer on his birthday. It also marked the night PSY would retire his breakout hit Stateside.
“Being in Times Square on New Year’s Eve is already special — it’s the biggest stage in the universe — plus it’s my birthday, so, with all that, it may be the ending of ‘Gangnam Style,'” he said at the time. “I mean, what better way to do it? It’s my biggest and most meaningful birthday.”
While the Internet magnate still brought his “Style” abroad to China and Paris, he eventually tried to make his follow-up single “Gentleman” a thing. The 2000 party vibes and hip-swaying bravado were still in tact but not even a high-energy performance on Season 12 of American Idol (a finale that boasted sets from former judges Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey) could match Gangnam’s success.
But PSY is no Trinidad Jame$. The Asian sensation continues to put out new material, his most recent a collaboration with Snoop Dogg called “Hangover.” The repercussions of drinking beyond limits isn’t a foreign concept, which explains why the trap-pop track has snagged over 151 million views since its release this June. The vibrant visual showcases PSY and Snoop getting white-girl wasted then blowing chunks and brushing their teeth (not at the same time). More importantly, PSY was invited to GGN, an event aptly called “Doggystyle Meets Gangnam Style.”
Today, PSY deserves rounds for his accomplishments. At 36 years old, he has attained the kind of YouTube views A&Rs thirst for and remains active in both American and Korean music markets. As “Gangnam Style” remains spoof gold worldwide, he has taken his talents back to South Korea, releasing heartfelt tunes like “Father,” a sing-song-rap dedicated to dads. On his down time, he’s dined with rock icons Queen and Ozzy Osbourne. If longevity is an indicator of one’s success, PSY’s no one-trick pony.—Adelle Platon (@adelleplaton)