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

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. Somehow I ended up singing, too. I mean, I enjoy it. I’m having fun. But my roots are rap and hip-hop. So, I’m going to be a rapper. [Laughs.]

Now that you’ve acquired some level of success as a solo artist, you ever thought about branching out and starting your own imprint?

G-Dragon: I’ve been with YG since I was a kid, so I never even thought about anyplace else. I think YG provides the best environment for a musician. I’ve met many artists in America, artists in South East Asia, and I think it doesn’t matter where you go; there isn’t really a place like YG anywhere. It really gives a lot of support, it doesn’t hold back on helping artists who want to create music. Since we can do a lot of different things, and not have to worry about money, it’s great. And I never thought about starting a label, or I’m just not really confident yet. I’ve never done it. I think a business guy is different from an artist. They walk different paths. Artists create the best outputs when they’re having fun. And when a good business partner supports them from the side, it creates great synergy. When someone’s trying to do both, I think the music gets bad and the business gets bad, too.

You ever felt like the Korean market is a bit stuffy and restricting? Whether it’s the weed scandal or the sampling issue, these things are nothing in America.

G-Dragon: I wouldn’t say it’s stuffy. I mean there are definitely times I feel that way. Times I don’t understand it. But the cultures are shifting for the better. And, you know, I’m Korean, man. [Laughs.] You know if you’re in Rome, live in the Roman way. I grew up there, I was born there, and so I should follow its guidelines, live like a Korean. And I really love Korea. I grew up listening to Korean music, and was able to get to where I am because of it. There are definitely times I’m not satisfied, but I’ve gained a lot more and learned a lot more. I think it’s going to get better. Many people, myself included, are trying to shed new lights on the culture and keep it moving.

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