Korean Rapper G-Dragon Talks K-Pop Hype, New EP and Past Scandals

The hairstyles are colorful, dance routines are perfectly choreographed, and the music’s stupidly infectious. If you don’t know, get to know K-pop: South Korea’s globetrotting bubble-gum music spree. The players are well-groomed “idols” that have gone through years of rigorous training, and the label heads are masterminds that oversee nearly every movement of their creations. Despite its manufactured tendencies, the fans—from Paris to Tokyo—love it. And it’s evident in the numbers as the profit margin increases yearly, raking in billions (trust, they’re dollars not Korean won).

And while the obedient ones make high sales and earn national darling statuses, what the critics and the kids want is someone who’s edgy. Enter: Big Bang’s G-Dragon. First came onto the scene as South Korea’s answer to Lil Bow Wow, the 24-year-old Kwon Ji-yong made his mark as a future star at an early age. Under the tutelage of South Korea’s de-facto hip-hop imprint YG Entertainment, Kwon made appearances on tracks of the label’s then poster acts throughout his teenage years. So his official debut as a member of boy band Big Bang initially came as a surprise. The results, however, were staggering, as the quintet spread across Asia’s pop market, with G-Dragon’s self-produced and written songs (“Last Farewell” and Lies”) amassing tremendous success.

His first solo album, Heartbreaker, released in 2009, continued his ascendancy as the country’s most influential icon for youth culture. His outfits inspire knockoffs, while acts of lesser foundation bite his musical style. Plus, unlike the typical clean-cut image administered by most K-pop acts, G-Dragon amassed a string of scandals (accusations of him puffing lye—a punishable offense in South Korea—and plagiarizing foreign music have made national headlines). Is he South Korea’s Kanye West? Certainly, it’s not an overstatement.

With his latest EP One of a Kind causing more noise than any other release from a K-pop artist this year, G-Dragon’s riding high from his own success. While in New York City for Big Bang’s Alive World Tour last November, XXL spoke with Korea’s most popular and recognized idol/rap artist. —Jaeki Cho (@JaekiCho)

XXL: How did you first get introduced to rap and hip-hop?

G-Dragon: I was about nine years old when I first heard Wu-Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M.” Before that, I didn’t know anything about rap or hip-hop. I was just into Korean pop. This was before the K-pop phenomenon. I just listened to regular commercial music from Korea. I would just follow the choreographed dance routines. I didn’t have any ambitions of pursuing rapping. I liked dancing, so I did that. I occasionally rapped along to some homegrown Korean rap. And then a friend introduced me to Wu-Tang, and played me Enter the 36th Chambers. It was very shocking. And then I started to look for different albums. This was pre-Internet, so it’s hard to find the music, and it was even harder to find music videos. So I’d watch things little by little. If I saw a music video, I would watch it over and over again. And when I got to the fifth grade, I wrote my first verse. It was terrible, but I did it. [Laughs.] I started to listen to more Korean rap instead of Korean pop, which was still a very niche, underground genre at the time.

You debuted at a young age. You were part of a Korean hip-hop compilation album called Hip-Hop Flex 2001.

G-Dragon: There was this hip-hop collective called People Crew. And at the time, in Korea there was no real place to access rap music. So People Crew used to host this summer school program, which taught rapping and dancing. I begged my mom to attend that school to learn how to rap. And from the guys at People Crew I would get compliments that I was good. They introduced me to Lee Hee-sung, who was the leader of this four-member rap group called X-Teen. At the time Bow Wow was a big deal. I guess Hee-sung thought Korea needed its own version of a Bow Wow, and I think he wanted to be Jermaine Dupri. [Laughs.] So I was featured on Hip-Hop Flex 2001, and that made headlines in Korea as the youngest rapper in the country. YG Entertainment took notice and decided to take me in.


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  • http://twitter.com/YGLtazanya tazanya ♥ 2NE1 ♠♠♠♠

    I enjoyed this interview immensely, thank you for this.

  • http://twitter.com/YGLcrazyxcami OH YOU CAME?

    I really liked this interview!
    People often shade him as trying hard to be “hip hop” and should just stick to his “idol ways” which is ironic cause he never really wanted to be in an Idol group.

    Thank You.

    • http://twitter.com/Kaileeru kaiです♡

      Haha, kinda reminds me of Johnny Depp wanting to get rid of his “idol” image from the late 80′s, and then starring Tim Burton’s films.
      It’s sad that some people think he’s just being commercial or trying to appeal USA market in order to gain money. People should actually thank him for trying to save korean artists of the k-pop idol image everyone has of them. While idols are a majority, even a lot of them are capable to do a lot more than they show. But of course, agencies prefer to gain money sticking to the popular image.

    • NingyoHime

      yeah as if your average kpop fan would have any knowledge on hip hop music. lol you guys are always constantly bashing american music…

      • http://twitter.com/YGLcrazyxcami OH YOU CAME?

        Who are you pretending to know what an average kpop fan would be?

        I personally like different kinds of music including american music,kpop, korean hip hop,k-indie, among others. Is there some special snow flake rule that you only have to like “one” type of music? smh lol

        • NingyoHime

          Lol really? Go check allkpop and the youtube comments. You guys all speak for yourself. The average kpop fan only praises kpop. Barely branching out into other music genres.

          • http://twitter.com/maying11 marie eugenio

            I’m a kpop fan and I like different kinds of music. I don’t think its fair of you to put kpop fans in a box and say they only like kpop, after all you haven’t met all of the kpop fans so how can you be certain of what they like. Unless you know kpop fans (like me) 100%, you’re only scratching the surface.

          • MangoStrawberry

            Grow Up! If I judged every group by their Youtube comments that would make every person in the world scum. Negative people are always the loudest they hardly represent the whole.

          • http://twitter.com/marshlilyy marshlily

            looking at youtube comments and concluding that all k-pop fans are blind is like looking at fundamentalists and concluding that all christians are dumb.

          • sternhead

            if they vote republican, they are

          • http://Www.oddnessweirdness.blogspot.com/ Erika

            Quite the contrary, I’m became a fan of Kpop a few years ago but I’ve always been a fan of all types of genres. I like house, electronica, alternative, some hip hop, etc. I consider my music taste to be pretty eclectic and I actually kind of find it offensive that you’re basing your generalizations of Kpop fans on Allkpop and Youtube. That’s pretty much like saying you know one thuggish black person so all black people must be the same. And before you start jumping to conclusions, I’m a black woman.

            All comments on Allkpop and Youtube should be taken with a LARGE grain of salt, because I feel they’re often made by teens (that aren’t thinking all that straight), and I’m definitely not a teen.

          • Totalrandomnessroxx

            I beg to differ… I listen to almost any genre of music, and so do most of my friends! To assume that everyone who listens to kpop only likes kpop simply because of some comments on a YouTube video or an rather unreliable website is, in my opinion, ignorance in one of its purest forms. I really didn’t appreciate being lumped up like that and I’m sure others wouldn’t either. It really is rather offensive.

      • http://twitter.com/LoonyLady07 Amber Gravitt

        To be perfectly honest, I think a lot of american kpop fans bash american pop music so much bc they hear it a lot more and get sick of it. That’s the only reason I can think of, bc I do get tired of american music.. but I’m american.. so Korean music is a nice change and I do prefer it most days. :3

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kristin-Oldfather/575375784 Kristin Oldfather

        Not sure why that’s getting so many negative votes. Because all I hear is ‘kpop is the best’ and ‘american music is horrible’ multiple times a day. I think all the good fans who don’t do that is reading this and think you’re bashing on them. You aren’t. You’re just generalizing a type of fan, that is definitely real.

        • http://twitter.com/Kaileeru kaiです♡

          But most Big Bang fans aren’t even k-pop fans. That’s the difference.

          • maria

            I don’t know about “most fans” but that definitely applies to me. I love bigbang, but the rest of kpop is kind of meh to me.

            Either way, I do agree that most k-pop fans, the hardcore ones, only like k-pop. I’ve heard so many comments saying how American music sucks and Korean music is the best. Which is kind of stupid considering most of those people don’t even understand what their idols are saying 99% of the time.

    • Jacqueline

      As well as, he started with rap first and not Kpop. People in his own country thought he was American his rhymes are that good. I wish more people knew about him, give him his props.

  • http://twitter.com/YGLcrazyxcami OH YOU CAME?

    I really liked this interview!
    People often shade him as trying hard to be “hip hop” and should just stick to his “idol ways” which is ironic cause he never really wanted to be in an Idol group.

    Thank You.

  • Lumi1

    Love that the hip-hop world is taking a look at him finally.

  • Lumi1

    Love that the hip-hop world is taking a look at him finally.

  • Kaey

    I love him!! He definitely deserves more recognition outside the “idol” pop world Because he doesn’t fit in that category.

    • Jacqueline


  • ava

    This was a really insightful interview. It still never ceases to amaze how talented he is.

  • lilhazel

    He has matured so much. sounds like he’s gone through a lot :) totally inspiring. Thank you GD, Thank you for the interview :)

  • new otaku

    Great interview! Thoughtful piece. I just discovered G-Dragon and Big Bang. Downloaded a bunch of songs! Thought I would get into k-pop generally then realized how different Big bang was from the rest of k-pop.

    • Cleosmil3

      i was the same way. i love yg artist and its hard to find artist that sound similar, they are all one of a kind.

    • MMMa

      Big Bang exist in a different universe than the rest of K-pop

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chin-Inin/1233590667 Chin Inin

      I also think so, awesome.I always liked BIG BANG song, I think it’s just a Korean idol, I never thought before how they do it. incredible, it is hard work, GD did get to the point.

    • http://twitter.com/forever081888 JANE PARK


    • SquareHead

      If you liked Big Bang you will probably like 2NE1 – their lebelmates. 2NE1 is said to be the girl version of Big Bang

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chin-Inin/1233590667 Chin Inin

        2ne1 of course I know, I is a big fan of them ever since they sang “i do not care” and I love Big Bang when they brought “HARU HARU” and “LIES”. I love their songs, I like their music, I love their fashion style, because they are different, they are brave, they are strong .. I think CL is the female version of GD, i love YG family so much!

  • Gee-Dee

    loved reading this, gave me more reasons to love and support him :)

  • MangoStrawberry

    Thank you for this interview. I really enjoyed it. Very insightful!

  • http://twitter.com/vel_vet ♥ KooKy CooKie ♥

    I love how he was being so honest. In general I hate how when people ask me what music I listen to and I say BIGBANG and YG they reply ”Oh that K-pop stuff”. I never actually considered them as K-pop not that I’m trying to offend anyone but they’re different it’s so obvious and so it irks me how they label me as a K-popper when I don’t listen to K-pop at all. I think GD would be an amazingly cool friend to talk to and discuss things.

    • MidnightEkaki

      I agree. I listen to a few other k-pop groups but I don’t like it because its k-pop, I like it because I like good music. Groups like Big Bang especially should be labeled as music not just k-pop.

    • booodaabooo

      same sentiment here. Im always being teased as a k-popper which equates to being gay (thus comes up with gaypop) but honestly, i seldom listens to other group other than YG artists.

      • SariRainMJ

        nothing wrong with being gay, tho…

    • http://twitter.com/vipz_222 qchnch222

      yeahhh, my friend always tells that I’m a crazy Kpop fan but I shout at him: ” Not Kpop just BigBang and YG”

    • Maria Tello

      I agree. I don’t consider them kpop either. I think YG music is completely different from the norm. It’s not kpop, it’s just good music in a different language. No cutesy dancing or anything like that.

      GD WOULD be an amazing friend to have. He sounds really down to earth. And who wouldn’t wish that they could meet him? He’s so talented. He handled all the questions very well and was careful not to bash anyone. I liked how he said that there are some k-pop groups who are trying to make it internationally, but are not ready at all and it’s embarrassing. It totally is.

      I gotta say that I definitely look up to him.

  • nia

    Thank you for interviewing one of Korea’s finest. As a heavy hip hop fan and a long time fan of BigBang and GD, Ive always felt like he deserves way more international recognition than any other artist out here. G-Dragon is truly a genius at what he does! His attention to detail is incredible is lyrics are intriguing and 100 x more thought provoking than the garbage “rap” music that we play today and dont even get me started on his fashion *o* to sum it up GD is One of a Kind. if he were to do a collab with Kanye and Pharrell the world would end ! hope this interview opens people minds about kpop. [ im soooooo proud of you GD !!]

  • http://twitter.com/GoGoSunshine Booze Boys & Bullets

    This is one of the last places I’d expect to see something K-Pop related.

    • aliceinreality

      Try to look past the “K-Pop” branding. Just because the lyrics are in Korean, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily pop. As GD says, he doesn’t want to be affiliated with that and would rather look at the bigger picture. Hopefully others will too.

    • http://ajummafan.tumblr.com/ ❀The Ajumma Fan❀

      Check out GD’s latest album One of a Kind…you may be surprised at how non K-Pop it is. Lately the music industry is labelling all music out of Korea as K-Pop and that’s really unjust. Artists like Tiger JK and Tablo are also rappers but get wedged into the category unfairly, too.

  • xxsmilee8dxx

    He has matured well! Im so proud of him!!

  • yanyanhye

    I love reading this article =). This gives clearer picture on what is going on inside Kwon Leader’s mind. I just love him even more!

  • aSHINeeKEY

    I already knew this, but this interview just further proves what a truly amazing and talented artist GD is. He’s pretty much a music genius.
    This was a great interview. I definitely got some new insight about GD’s thoughts on certain topics. I was actually pleasantly surprised at some of his responses. I really like how he was honest; makes me appreciate him more as both an artist and a human being. His responses also show that he is a real artist and not someone in it just for the money. He genuinely cares about the quality of the music he puts out and actually cares about his growth and potential as a artist. He obviously puts in a lot of thought about his career and future, as well as the future of the Korean music industry and his place in it.
    He is one of the few in the music industry (not just the Korean) that I truly admire and respect.
    The fact that he’s young, hot, and rich is just an extra bonus. (;

  • alltheskies4

    Kwon leader, this interview is really well done.

  • crazymorethanever

    I love him so much. GD is the most inspirational, talented person I can think of. He’s a genius. Great interview ;-;

  • silverzero

    this was the most thoughtful interview i’ve read by a korean artist. g-dragon is so insightful! he speaks the truth.

  • emily235

    This is a great interview, and it’s good to see Kwon leader getting some outside recognition.

  • http://twitter.com/InezZZ90 M. Inés Mx

    Ohhh GD love u , love u BIGBANG & i love YG

  • bubblethought

    Big Bang is definitely not like any other boy bands out there. I respect other groups but u just can’t deny the fact that YG artists are way, way different (in a good way) from any other artists.

  • http://twitter.com/SamiSarani Sami

    Great interview.. LOVE IT!! :D

  • http://twitter.com/fiendishblue Hao

    Lovely interview. G-dragon’s very real and that makes me like him even more.

  • nur hazifah

    love it….

  • http://twitter.com/AdiachanNYC アーヂアちゃんよろしく!

    GD in XXL, I thought I never see the day! Amazing accomplishment and for those haters out there if G-Dragon were irrelevant XXL would have never bothered, this is only the begging for fantastic Mr. Kwon, so proud!

  • jehhhsea

    This was good. Seems like a pretty fluid translation too.

  • http://twitter.com/Kaileeru kaiです♡

    Thank you for this interview, I really liked it.
    It’s such a pleasure to read GD’s answers. He’s so determined and mature, he really knows the path he’s walking on.
    I’m SO glad of being a fan of this talented and creative man. Everyday I find more reasons to admire him.

  • http://twitter.com/Moonlight_VIP Amal [아말] ..VIP ♛ ~

    he is really an amazing person ..
    great interview !

  • NingyoHime

    lol G-Dragon is possibly the most unoriginal person in kpop… Along with YG entertainment…

    • Chen

      gotta agree.
      YG used to be golden in it’s early days, but now? Hip-hop?
      More like hip-pop, what a bunch of hipsters.

      • SariRainMJ

        I don’t think you’re using “hipster” right…

      • NingyoHime

        amen, all of these newbies here dont know shit.. i was a fan back in the days of Se7en and Gummy. I was introduced to YG through Se7en… Big Bang who?

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chin-Inin/1233590667 Chin Inin

          sorry, I just thought, just you which don’t know who Big Bang on this article page..

        • http://twitter.com/sowonrider Dood

          Considering that you’re now a JYP fan, your taste in music didn’t improve even after you left the YG fandom.

          • NingyoHime

            Um where do you keep getting this from, did i ever state this? I am not even a JYP fan idiot. LOL
            GTFO kpop noob. haha

          • http://twitter.com/sowonrider Dood

            LOL, sureeeeee.

          • NingyoHime

            still didn’t answer my question. kpop fans are so silly. it is so childish to stan a record label xD

          • http://twitter.com/sowonrider Dood

            Isn’t it???

    • http://twitter.com/sowonrider Dood

      Says a jealous JYP fan.

    • VenezuelanVIP

      Original or not (That’s only your opinion), they’re still one of the few artists/companies that produce the best music in kpop. It’s really unfair how you describe G-Dragon and YG as the most unoriginal in kpop, when there are other people who are waaay more deserving of that title. Please save that energy to bash SM and JYP (among many others), would you?

      Besides, If they really were the most unoriginal people in kpop, I highly doubt they would have been featured in XXL. There’s a reason why XXL is paying attention to G-Dragon, BigBang and YG Entertainment. Seriously, your comment just seems to scream JEALOUSY. Sure YG is not a perfect company, and all of its artists have created not-so-good music at one point or another, but calling them “the most unoriginal people in kpop” is taking it way too far. They’re one of the few people in kpop with actual talent and with the most potential to improve and evolve in the future.

  • http://twitter.com/justinehoutx justinehoutx

    such a good article!

  • http://twitter.com/slowhill I.S. Noise

    GD on XXL.. I’m personally a big fan and I’m liking where he’s heading with his reputation. Loved the interview!

  • awmmie

    quite a hearty & frank interview :D I love it!

  • http://twitter.com/daragondeprived daragondeprived

    I love how he respect being a korean. :)

  • http://twitter.com/uniqueratliff Unique R.

    “Unfortunately, in Korea, I feel some people are just seeing the dollar signs. Sending out artists who aren’t fully prepared out into the foreign markets. I’m still against such approaches.” Yes GD!!!!! I don’t think newer artist are getting that much training (especially compared to older artist like BigBang, SuperJunior, 2NE1, TVXQ) I really think training, even though it’s expensive makes the best artist c: <3

    • Alexandra31

      Agreed, even though I don’t necessarily with the years of training it seems that nowadays companies just get relatively good looking people and try to get the most out of them to be something that they were never really meant to be in the first place. The industry is missing raw talents even though lately it seems that people are paying more and more attention to the talented ones :) .

  • http://twitter.com/Krystalflower93 ☆*☆VICTORIA ANN*☆*☆

    everystep he moves marking the new trend from suits he wore to lyrics he raps.This interview is great! Thank you.

  • Caren

    Excellent interview

  • http://twitter.com/fortrollingkpop fortrollingkpop

    “His ascendancy as the country’s most influential icon for youth culture.”

    Couldn’t have said it better. Honestly, it’s almost a pity just how much the international Kpop fans are CLUELESS about G-dragon’s influence and popularity among South Korean’s youth, from high school students, to college students, to young adults. G-dragon’s fashion and style is all over Namdaemmun and Dongdaemun market. These are both cheap and expensive shopping districts, and G-dragon’s influence is ALL OVER THE PLACE. It is not an understatement to say that men ages 15-30 all follow G-dragon’s hair and clothing. And the women? South Koreans like em’ pretty boys, and G-dragon is the ultimate flower boy of South Korea. Women are crazy about the guy. Hate him all you want, he maybe feasted on by keyboard warriors, but G-dragon is a household name held on all pedestals among South Korean citizens. He is the current most recognizable icon among all young musicians.

    • http://ajummafan.tumblr.com/ ❀The Ajumma Fan❀

      The problem is that there is a huge polarization between fans and people who appreciate music for what it is. K-Pop fans can’t see past their “bias” – even if the music is crap. And they’ll hate on a group just because they aren’t they’re “bias” even if the music is good.

      • http://twitter.com/xxidpeace Dan

        I think that’s true of “fanatics” or those that take k-pop idolism to the extremes.

        The way I see it, you don’t like an idol group/idol unless they are good at what they do (of course I’m discounting idols for ONLY looks here)…just my two cents worth.

  • https://twitter.com/Margaret_MT ❤ Margaret_MC ❤

    GD: “Unfortunately in Korea I feel some people are just seeing the dollar signs Sending out artists who aren’t fully prepared out into the foreign markets”.

    Damn honey, I couldn’t agree more, and btw I am among those who see Big Bang as artists rather than idols

  • http://www.facebook.com/terry.yu.9803 Terry Yu

    JAY BUM PARK ‏@JAYBUMAOM: “GD was in XXL that wassup~ reppin”

    • http://ajummafan.tumblr.com/ ❀The Ajumma Fan❀

      Love that Jay Park is a VIP <3

    • http://twitter.com/TeeHeeVIP ♥Epic♥High♥Skool♥

      I’m a happy JayWalker and VIP right now. Totally made my day!

  • http://twitter.com/Yingtanka Sureerut


  • http://ajummafan.tumblr.com/ ❀The Ajumma Fan❀

    As a GD and YG fan I appreciated this article immensely. I felt that GD was more open here than he has ever been in Korean interviews. Thank you.

  • MidnightEkaki

    This was perfect… everything he said is so true and great :) It hurt me a little though to read he hated the idea of debuting in an idol group but its ok since he’s fine with it now :) I’m also glad he’s happy keeping his Korean roots

  • student_UC

    Sometimes I worry that kpop is becoming more of a business…and then I see G-Dragon and YG, and feel better. I don’t like how “kpop” is becoming mainstream and mass-produced, but it has these hidden surprises that make me come back to it.

    question: on the first page, why did it use “yen” instead of “won”? (since won are the South Korean currency…)

    • MidnightEkaki

      More people know about yen than won probably.

      Also I agree. K-pop is addictive and I can’t help but love it, however, I’ve never liked the business side of it. It’s corrupt in ways. But there are lots of things in the world like that unfortunately…

  • G

    It’s the Korean won, not yen…

  • Guest

    You started out as a rapper, and then became an idol, and now you’ve become an artist. Which title do you prefer?

    G-Dragon: I’ve always liked being a rapper. I’d like to be remembered as a rapper.

    you always be a rapper <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/marielle.miziara Marielle Miziara

    You started out as a rapper, and then became an idol, and now you’ve become an artist. Which title do you prefer?

    G-Dragon: I’ve always liked being a rapper. I’d like to be remembered as a rapper.

    you`ll always be a rapper <3

  • james

    American influenced songs. It’s true GD’s on a roll these days, but sadly his songs these days hardly represents his country’s culture. It’s more personal, a story of his. Which I don’t mind. he’s yet to become an icon for Korea unless he’ll move forward to another theme like he always does. I always love the songs he releases.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chin-Inin/1233590667 Chin Inin

    oughtful, intelligent, even genius, think of something to its core, awesome! I was very happy when you say how do you start writing a song, from seminngu once to three days and every day, it’s like a stream of blood, I started thinking about how hard life and how amazed Korean musician before debut, they are in demand like “you have to learn you will do an exam for tomorrow “. I understand now how you do everything so perfectly, it was hard work since 18 year.

  • wpineapple777

    I love this interview.. He is such an awesome guy! artist!

  • http://twitter.com/JUANJUAN_GD818 JUAN-JUAN娟

    지용~♥♥♥♥(。≧Д≦。) LOVE YOU ♥♥

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1356901062 Pantiwah OneZeroo

    Thankyou so much for this article. After so many years he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves. Bigbang are at a whole different level. they might be categorized as “kpop” but in my opinion every member is a true artists not like these little kids they have coming out after a month of training smh

  • Jacqueline

    I know that he keeps pushing and promoting Korea, yet I’m not feeling. I still believe that Korea is just not the place where he’ll grow even further and become the real true rapper/artist that we all know is still within. He has yet to become who he truly is. I believe that he isn’t fully confident although he has great belief in himself. Stepping out of his comfort zone to really be is his next challenge. Once he lets go of the crutch, he’ll be on his way to a fully realized dream.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kkimnguyen92 Kim Kim Nguyen

    oh, G-Drangon so wonderful, your style sooooooo amazing ! nice ! <3

  • cee

    i’m guessing he actually gave his answers in korean? “i could rap about sluts”. kind of side-eying him if that isn’t something lost in translation…

    • SariRainMJ

      It’s what they translated it as. GD’s English is alright, but no where near good enough to give answers this in-depth. He definitely answered in Korean. Kinda wish they would’ve worded that particular part better. And unfortunately, we don’t have the original Korean answer, to see what his answer was.

    • VenezuelanVIP

      Man, I thought the same thing. “I could rap about sluts” I’m a little worried at that part, it doesn’t really sound like GD at all. I really hope it’s just a mistranslation…

  • http://twitter.com/maying11 marie eugenio

    This is a great interview, very straight to the point and honest. Its showed how much GD has grown as an artist and a person. Kudos to you guys!

  • http://twitter.com/mrsfishie15 행쇼niniveh♕


  • Justinne

    This was a great interview. I love how GD said he doesn’t want to be boxed in. Me personaly, I never thought he could be. Even my friends who don’t listen to Korean music can tell the difference between Bigbang/ G Dragon and some of the other groups. Bigbang and G Dragon are a lot of things but boxed in is not one of them. I love this group and how diverse they are and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

  • http://twitter.com/HuisuYoon HuisuYoon

    Thank you so much for this interview, I really love it. I’ve been a fan of GD for so many yrs and I thought I know him pretty well, but I was wrong. He’s just so.. mature. more than I’ve ever thought that he could be. I love his thoughts and his freedom and everything.

    I was just wondering, did GD answer in Korean for this interview? If he did and this interview was just translated to eng, I think this was an amazing work. I’m Korean and while I’m reading this interview, I thought I was just listening to him himself.

    Again, thank you for this amazing interview. the questions were amazing and the wits haha :) Hope many will read this and get to know better who GD really is.

  • jeccar

    One of the best interviews of gd

  • http://twitter.com/SunnyRitti Ritti

    great interview.

  • Natalie Varnham

    I’m sorry but I love GD so much but all of you are deluded that have written “Kpop is soo mainstream.. BigBang/GD/YG keep it real blah blah..” as I have watched many videos of bigbang advertising phones, clothes, ANYTHING for money and exposure. I don’t hate them for it, infact I am going to see them live this weekend, I love them to bits, but I am not pretending they are something they’re not. They do have their own spin on things, they are individual but they are still pop, commercial and MANUFACTURED!! I love hip hop for what it is, electro, house, whatever but don’t say the word swag over and over again and want to be classed as rap, as you will be put in the same genre as some amazing raw talents that came from the 90′s underground rap scene. It’s pop, pop, POP!!

    • SariRainMJ

      I don’t think anyone hear means “they don’t do advertisements and BS like that.” But can you honestly say that Big Bang is not musically better than the majority of Korean pop artists? Personally, I can’t really listen to other K-pop, that much. I like a lot of idols, as themselves, but I literally cannot listen to their music. Big Bang (YG) has some of the only K-pop I can actually stand to listen to, AND actually enjoy. There are a few other K-pop and K-hip-hop artists I like, but most of the bands that are really big and lot of fangirls stan, I’m just like… this is…
      And, I don’t think anyone said anything like “K-pop is so mainstream, YG & them keep it real.” I think you’re reading it wrong. I think people are saying what I’m saying. A lot of K-pop is actual shit, and most of the K-pop artists don’t actually create their music. YG in general makes music that is listenable at worst, and amazing at best (spanning the whole YG line-up, not just G-Dragon or Big Bang.) Sure, they’ve made some shit music over the years since the label has existed, but they’re consistently good, for the most part. I mean, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I definitely know K-pop fans who like SM artists or JYP artists for their music… but that just means we have different taste from them. Because I honestly can’t stand most of the music from other K-pop artists. I actually only got into Big Bang BECAUSE I liked their music, and then other YG artists had good music. At first, in K-pop, I was into Rain. He had nice music, but honestly, it was mostly because of his looks (boy is FINE!) Then, one day, I accidentally came across G-Dragon on youtube, and I thought he was weird looking and was NOT interested in his looks at all, but his music fascinated me, and I found myself becoming obsessed with it. For me, G-Dragon is the only K-pop artist whose music I consistently like, and YG is the only label whose music I consistently like. As much as I like other idols for who they are, like I like them as people, and I think a lot of them are attractive, for instance, I really love MBLAQ, but for the life of me, I can’t stand a single song they’ve ever made. And, I’ll end cuz I’m saying a lot, but I wanna also say this; VIPs and GD, and Big Bang, and YG are all aware that this is pop music. None of us have a delusion that it’s not. But there is no law that says hip-hop and pop cannot co-exist. This is hip-hop AND pop. Chris Brown makes hip-hop AND pop. Kanye West makes hip-hop AND pop. Nicki Minaj makes hip-hop AND pop. Also, using the word “swag” does not make you any less hip-hop…. especially considering it’s basically a hip-hop term. It might annoy YOU, but I mean… a lot of things in hip-hop annoy me, but it doesn’t make it not hip-hop. Hip-hop IS mainstream, this in 2012, not 1984, when it was just a cult artform.

    • http://twitter.com/lily_of_west Majin Buu

      Ok you need to realize that real rap isn’t just the raw one, in fact just because you’re a raw talent doesn’t mean you’re good, it means you need improve to be amazing, you need to work on your craft. That’s why it’s called rap talent. Another thing just because someone is in the underground scene doesn’t mean they’re good, it could mean they’re not good enough to go mainstream. Stop classifying things like that. Biggie was mainstream, Pac was mainstream, Nas was/is mainstream etc. Does that make them bad? No. Just because something is mainstream don’t classify it as not good enough. Ji said in this interview, if you had take your time to read it as you were supposed to do, that the music he makes for Big Bang is more mainstream because as a group they do want to cater to a wider audience. And also, I liked the 80′s and 90′s rap as much as every hip hop and rap fan, but they’re over, this is 2012. Just because the entire rap game changed doesn’t mean it’s bad there are still amazing rappers and artists out there in the mainstream scene.

      Just because YG lends his artists to do commercials and wants to make money doesn’t mean the artists within YG are only there for that. They’re there to do what they love, making money is just a big + in that scheme. Wouldn’t you want to do what you love, what you live and breath and make serious money from it? Doesn’t everyone? It’s ridiculous to categorize YG artists ad manufactured and mainstream (in a bad way) just because they make money and add a pop sound to their music to appeal to a wider audience. No one is saying “YG keeps it real blah, blah, blah” but you have to realize that YG isn’t only Big Bang and 2ne1. You have to go through the entire history of that company to know the impact they made and how much they changed the landscape not just of kpop but of hip hop in South Korea. YGE is the first music company that managed to make hip hop known and even appealing to a wider audience. They opened the door for so many of these new kpop groups who want to do a more hip hop sound. That’s not a thing to dismiss. Yes at the end of the day it’s a company a business, and the goal of every company and business is to make money, but YGE didn’t always make money (or at least not anywhere near as they do today) they were doing this and they’re still doing this because it’s something they want to do. YG himself is a person who started his company with a goal to spread the hip hop/rap music to Koreans who at the time had little or no knowledge or even wish to understand that genre. So in that sense yes, YGE as a company is a ground-breaker, is doing something new that hasn’t been done.

      And I don’t know how you see Big Bang or GD as manufactured. 2ne1 in a way yes they are manufactured in the sense that they still don’t make their own music, but compared to 99% of kpop girl groups they have a hell lot more liberties. But Big Bang was doing their music since the start in a way. They were trained yes, but they had the talent and they still do. That cannot be manufactured as much as some people want to claim. And another thing you really need to go through Big Bang’s and GD’s discography, look the lyrics up and not judge them all by “One Of A Kind”. He made that song for fun and to spite all of the people who hate on him. Big Bang’s and GD’s lyrics have meaning and depth, you just don’t see it or you don’t want to see it.

      • mellajay

        oh bless you and this post!

      • Natalie Varnham

        Didn’t you see the bit where I said I LOVE him, and I love bigbang. I just think they are pop music. It’s not rap music, it’s not hip hop. It was, awhile ago, when he was a kid, but it is not anymore.

        They were made, which makes them manufactured, that is the meaning of the word. This doesn’t make them bad. But we all know why YG put them together, I watched the TV documentary, it’s was to be the perfect, step perfect, word perfect, boy band. And they are, they are mesmerizing.

        When I read through most replies they said that kpop is now mainstream and they gave props to YG, GD and Bigbang for not being. I’m not saying it’s a crime, I’mj ust saying that it is mainstream.

        I love them for who they are. They are talented. Really really REALLY beautiful, stylish and just cool. Mainstream and pop music.

    • mm

      I disagree about MANUFACTURE. I want you to explain more about this. If you cant explain, your writing is just garbage.

      • Natalie Varnham

        Manufactured means made. They were made as part of a TV documentary.

  • mellajay

    he was so relaxed with his answers, i think the interviewer did great, usually if the one asking them questions doesn’t interest them they just answer for the sake of answering but here i can really feel that he was sharing something with us. i love the fact that he’s so patriotic too, even though korea has judged him for things that people from more liberal countries wouldn’t care about, he still appreciates being korean. i hope people would see how much of an artist/person he is. he’s been in the limelight for 17 years, in the music industry for 11. i think he knows where he stands.

  • Ailyn

    Buen trabajo me encanto, yo amo a G Dragon

  • Jay

    Korea doesn’t have yen…they have won ;) May want to correct that mishap in the article.

  • KimLKwon

    I really love the interview. GD is really famous since he’s really young, I’m glad he’s getting more and more mature as years go by. I like BIGBANG and GD’s music, but not actually a big fan. But to be honest, since Seo Taiji, I don’t see any artist having such strong impact among the young Korean as GD does. Keep going boy.

  • CieLPress Rulez


  • http://www.facebook.com/juliana.damianoperez Juliana Damiano Perez

    te amo bebe eres el mejor

  • tabloLee

    Remember back in the days when “Lies” was released, it’s a “national song” and from an idol group, BIGBANG is the first to make that. And then “Heartbreaker”, I don’t actually like the song but GD’s name is so huge. The dude likes to get into trouble I think but he’s like, well, a “natural” star, everything he does can get Korea’s attention.

  • Saffi

    After a long day, coming home to read this has put a huge smile on my face. I’ve been a fan of BIGBANG for two years now, and I have seen Jiyong get through some tough things with the media. But he’s still going strong. I love how REAL he is, many other K-IDOLS would be hesitant to mention some of this stuff.
    My respect for him increases each day, and I’m glad to see that new people are finding his music through this interview.
    I’ll forever support him, Youngbae, Daesung, Seungri and T.O.P. They are true artists, I wouldn’t even class them in the ‘K-IDOLS’ group. In my opinion, they have a lot of substance and you can tell from their music. Haru Haru and Blue still bring tears to my eyes. I’m so glad I found these guys.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chin-Inin/1233590667 Chin Inin

      oh~ i feel same..The first time I saw haru haru when I started to fall in love with BIG BANG, I shed tears for the first time when I saw the music video, it was very touching. I thought hard how someone could write a song with loud music but can be touched so deeply. and when I saw it was written and created by one of the personnel that makes me more amazed.

  • http://twitter.com/BrielleCastor BrielleCastor

    I’ve been previously very discouraged by English/American articles written about GD and Big Bang but I think this article is a beacon of light of accuracy, honestly and the power of a knowledgeable interviewer. Thank you thank you thank you and bravo.

  • http://twitter.com/iamadaden Iamadaden

    Super informative interview… And upclose get dragon… Jaeki did a good job popping the right questions… I love every bit of information… The part I love the most is the last part… Hands down to gdragon for being truthful and patriotic… Korea is blessed to have produced a citizen like you… Despite imperfections and flaws… You are best being you…

  • prixy

    my dear king i am so prud o fyou ♥

  • http://twitter.com/iyz_rock weng chulvo

    Nice one GD!!!Big Bang is really quite different from other Kpop group idols since they have their unique style of fashion and music..Really love them!!!

  • http://twitter.com/iBeSompy Sonam Pelden

    After reading GDs second last comment, I’ve decided .. I’m off to YG people. Lol. Papa YG the best :D btw, happy birthday to seungri oppa. 12.12.12

  • Yun3

    I just say …he’s amazing…..I love you so much……and YG too…they are from other universe

  • http://twitter.com/Leemeemarie Zelo Biased

    Loved this interview .<

  • http://twitter.com/Dolyinger Silver Maple

    Thanks for covering GD with depth and balance. It’s one of the best interview pieces that carefully touch on the ups and downs in his music career.

  • http://twitter.com/Dolyinger Silver Maple

    Thanks for covering GD with depth and balance. I’m particularly impressed that the interview draws out his honest stories that G-dragon would hardly tell to Korean media. Good work!

  • http://twitter.com/TeeHeeVIP ♥Epic♥High♥Skool♥

    Kudos interviewer for a well-done article. I sense that GD was comfortable answering you, hence the quality of the outcome. Looking forward for more K rappers features. *coughEpikHighcough*

  • http://www.facebook.com/gbritaney Britaney Gaither

    I wish that people would ask these type of questions in live interviews. I like the realness of this and how he is just being himself…not saying he never is, but this feels a little more raw. Live TV or prerecorded they ask the same questions. I can tell that he has grown up a lot. He has a good foot print in the industry.

  • VIP

    Awesome interview and comments >.< GD Forever <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742905400 K Dol Kan

    He can make many tall claims coz he’s been there, done that, and grown up faster than his contemporaries musically. i respect this talented genius…BB brought me close to the k-pop world now i think BB is way beyond the k-pop definition.. GD is a prodigy!

  • http://twitter.com/nicolasantilli Nicola Santilli

    Amazing interview, great job guys.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004096816360 Mike Jones

    There is no doubt in my mind that he is the most talented artist in the K-pop scene. He writes most of BigBang’s music, can rap, can sing, can dance and has that smile. Total package imo.

  • http://twitter.com/AviWill Avi Will

    I truly enjoyed this interview, it was amazing and to see GD speaking so honestly made me appreciate his talents even more. thank you.

  • map00

    awesome interview

  • http://twitter.com/arielvip Ariel Arnold

    I agree with GD(And I’m not even Korean) That I feel embarrassed that certain acts will come to America, South America, Europe etc and they are really terrible and people will think that is all Kpop is about. There are definitely some really good Korean artist out there(besides the Kpop scene) that are AMAZING. You just have to know where to look. The indie artist(underground rappers, rockers,alternatives, and even many soloist) don’t get the recognition they deserve like the Idol groups do. But I love Big Bang so much they are for sure the group that started the new trend in Kpop. I remember when I first came on the Kpop scene in with Rain’s “It’s Raining and BoA’s “Moto” after that I occasionally listened to Kpop but Big Bang is what made me become a true fan.

  • sarahmelie

    Excellent interview. If I were to stake money on who among Korea’s plethora of music exports would get international recognition/critical respect in the next few years, I’d bet on G-Dragon and Big Bang.

  • http://twitter.com/ebunny_bee エボニー

    Great interview! It’s great to see G-Dragon, an artist I’ve respected for years, finally get a little shine in America. I hope that America continues to be open-minded. Awesome~

  • WeLoveYou

    PSY isn’t the only—or even the most popular—rapper in Korea.

    am I the only one who loves this quote? :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Crystal-S-Harrison/100000612957416 Crystal S. Harrison

    i want to know who this interviewer was was

  • http://www.facebook.com/g.sdefran Stephanie Beyonce-Raven Symoné

    gd > kpop

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003469501048 Preetypink Fantage

    GD is an amazing artist and so are the others at YG! :) I’m glad they got to interview him! FIGHTING~!

  • Vivalda

    the best interview i’ve rad. G-Dragon is a genius. i dont mind to read it all over again. I learned a lot with this interview. I really would like to work with him.

  • http://twitter.com/ai_ayumi TaeKai

    GD’s candid outlook on KPOP, I’m completely with you on that. “Unfortunately, in Korea, I feel some people are just seeing the dollar signs”….I’m resisting the urge to send that block of answer to SM….lol. Yes GD, you are not to be grouped with the common lot called “KPOP”. You are creative, original, aesthetic, artistic and edgy. Mostly importantly, you actually CARE to make quality music, not just trashy catchy songs that are flooding the KPOP industry.

  • http://twitter.com/ai_ayumi TaeKai

    Despite my ultimate bias being in SM, I can’t help but feeling YG is the better company here….Especially these days SM comebacks are getting so bad I can’t even force or lie to myself to like it. Seems like YG gives its artists more room for creativity and growth.

  • amiramarmoura

    .cuute and nice g.dragon….i love it
    <3 <3 <3

  • miu

    love this interview ! GD is mature ^^ I love his interviews, and I agree with him when he speaks about kpop ! he’s amazing, I love him ♥

  • miu

    and I think too BB is special ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/stella.yook.7 Stella Yook

    What a great interview! Jaeki, you did a fantastic job translating GD’s insightful thoughts in English. Well done and thank you!
    GD is maybe only 24 yrs old, but he’s got the vision that only the genius could hold.
    Wish him and the boys all the best and will support them till the end.

  • jkijh

    ahh!! i would love to be a kpop singer but these guys have been training since they were toddlers!!!! Im 13 and cant sing dance act or compose. god if i could start my llife again it would be very very different !!lol oh.. also im not korean.. im a ghost -pale australian……if i could restart my life i might also change where i was born….whatever love you gd!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Caribearblue Cari 캐리

    Awesome interview… I usually feel like something is missing in the translation but didn’t get that feeling at all from this interview :D

  • Totalrandomnessroxx

    Really enjoyed his fresh take on this! He’s so smart and rather well spoken! Love it!

  • Quynh Nga

    Oh my g-d…I love u, love big bang and love yg ent. so much ……

  • http://rockbunny.com/ Team RockBunny

    NICE…they got GD, they should interview 2ne1′s CL next