South Korean rapper PSY hits winning combination
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/01/2012 -- A video by rapper PSY of South Korea is getting attention. It has gained up to 220 million views on YouTube so far, and its choreography and humor ensure that it will reach audiences across all borders.
Rapper PSY’s song “Gangnam Style” satirizes South Korea’s nouveau riche, referring to a high-priced neighborhood of Seoul. Most of the people who live in Gangnam are rich, and an apartment there runs an average of about $700,000.
South Koreans look at the area with a mixture of love and hate. “Gangnam inspires both envy and distaste,” popular music critic Kim Zakka says.
PSY, whose nickname is derived from the word “psycho,” has aimed his rap to tap into these mixed emotions. Along the way he blends in top-notch dancing and subtle social commentary.
Chicago Tribune columnist Jae-Ha Kim says PSY has confidence and dancing talent, but also notes the rapper does not have the typical Asian image. “People in America are comfortable with Asian guys who look like Jackie Chan and Jet Li.”
But PSY comes across with a surprisingly unvarnished image. “You look at his choreography and you realize that you really have to know how to dance to do what he does,” Kim said. “He’s really good.”
PSY mocks Gangnam stereotypes with his video, partying with retirees and being hit in the face with trash while strolling with good-looking models. He looks like a “country bumpkin,” says pop- music critic, Baak Eun-seok. “He’s a far cry from the so-called Gangnam style,” he added.
In a recent appearance on the TV show Today in the United States, PSY credited his success to his “attitude.”
“I’m not handsome, I’m not tall, I’m not muscular, I’m not skinny – but I’m sitting here,” he told the Today.
PSY, 34, whose real name is Park Jae-sang, parodies the nouveau riche for his South Korean followers in a way that also wins over Western audiences.
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