Korean Rapper G-Dragon Talks K-Pop Hype, New EP and Past Scandals
Since we’re on the subject of writing and producing, I want to ask you about the scandals you faced for plagiarism. I thought it was just a lack of understanding for sampling in South Korea. Thoughts?
G-Dragon: Umm, I don’t know. I’m Korean. I grew up in Korea. And there are still many things in the Korean music industry that has not yet been figured out. I think it’s totally understandable that people don’t grasp the concept of sampling. And everybody will have a different take on the song. It’s not really about right or wrong. Just because a select few believe it, don’t mean they’re wrong either. If they felt that way, then that’s what it is. In the end of the day, I’m not ashamed, so I don’t really comment on it.
I think after Big Bang, there’s been a surge of K-pop idol groups with very similar styles. What are your thoughts?
G-Dragon: Uh-huh. [Laughs.] I like it, personally. I’m sure it’s not all because of us. But after our debut, a lot of K-pop idols with more concentration on their music definitely started to appear more. I don’t know how much of them really do it, but to actually have idols that write their own songs are a good thing.
But you don’t feel a certain way about them biting Big Bang’s style?
G-Dragon: I did feel a certain way. I felt that way before. Maybe two years ago? When I was a little younger? Not saying I’m old, but back then whether it was style or music, I didn’t want to be lumped into a category. Now, I don’t really care. It’s whatever. When I look at the bigger picture, to see how it’ll influence the generations that’ll come after us, I think having more artists is a good thing. There needs to be more people that are good, so I can be better, too. They’re saying this and that about Korean Wave—I don’t really believe it.
I’m glad you mentioned that. What are your thoughts about K-pop’s current boom? Is it odd for you?
G-Dragon: I don’t really think I know myself. I don’t quite get how [K-pop] is functioning. But I’m certain that we need to grab the approval when we have the chance. 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. There’s definitely good and bad. Obviously, it’s huge that such a small country is able to churn out talents to come all the way out to the U.S. and Europe. It’s also serving as a gateway to the Korean culture. The music, the people, and the arts are spreading; I think that’s the good part. The bad part is seeing artists, who we look at and just don’t feel like they’re good. This is my personal opinion, but there are some acts that I’m a little embarrassed to look at. Since the people here don’t know much about Korea, their perceptions about its music will be restricted to those acts. That’s a bit unfortunate.
Well, then is G-Dragon part of K-pop?
G-Dragon: I can’t say I hate the title. Because at the end of the day, it’s pop music from Korea. But in the long run, I don’t want to be affiliated with that name. I don’t want to go to a foreign country and get lumped into that genre. I’m just looking at the bigger picture. This K-pop title might be good for now, but looking ahead it could hold me back, like a prison of sort. I’m a little wary about that.
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