Spotlight: G-Dragon

September 16, 2013

It's been well over a year since I first delved into the topic of K-Pop, and I've since written about the culture behind fandoms as well as my own concert experiences.

My most recent concert was to see the quite-famous singer-songwriter/producer, G-Dragon (GD). I'll spare the detailed backstory about him. After all, that's what wikipedia is for.

G-Dragon = 관지용 = Kwon Jiyong --> [지 = Ji (G)] + [용 = Yong (Dragon)]

In a nutshell, GD has been training with big entertainment companies since the age of 5. He began with SM Entertainment but soon switched to YG Entertainment where he has remained and enjoyed success both with his group, Big Bang, and solo projects. His official debut was in 2006 with Big Bang's first album, "Big Bang Vol.1 Since 2007". It wasn't until their second mini-album, "Always", when he began involving himself in the production process. This EP featured Big Bang's first #1 hit, "거짓말 (Lies)", which was written and composed by GD. He continued to be heavily involved in the writing and production process for Big Bang's next 6 albums/EPs. Amidst his work with Big Bang, G-Dragon also released a solo album, "Heartbreaker", in 2009 and "GD&TOP" in 2011 which was a collaboration with fellow Big Bang member, T.O.P. Each album saw success with a handful of tracks topping the charts and his solo album winning Album of the Year at the MNET Asian Music Awards in 2009.

Big Bang's latest album was released in January 2012 and was followed in March by a world tour consisting of 48 shows in 10 months and in 13 countries. In September of 2012, GD released his second solo (albeit mini) album, "One of a Kind" which went on to win Album of the Year at the Seoul Music Awards in 2012. He has recently finished headlining his own, solo world tour which took him to 11 countries to perform 27 shows in 5 months. Last week, GD's second full solo album, "Coup D'Etat", was released and has already topped iTunes charts in at least 7 countries. Fresh off the road, he's been filming various TVspots in order to promote his new album and will be participating in some Korean variety shows like Running Man.

To say this guy works hard is an understatement.

Many artists in the Korean music industry, particularly those associated with big entertainment companies, are easily dismissed as being talentless drones who are churned out to make money and sell products. While this tends to be true, I find GD to be far more than just a step above. He worked within the lucrative entertainment industry (which isn't known to encourage much more than marketing ploys and image promotion) but managed to garner success on what seems to be his own terms and with his own talent and style.

Album: Coup D'Etat

GD has had his fair share of image changes. Between all the world tours and promotions, one has to wonder how he manages to have time to visit his hair stylist so often. From Cruella Deville to Spicy Ramyeon, GD manages to pull it off. Like the artist himself, this album can't be pinned to one genre or style. Coup D'Etat's 14 tracks vary from the upbeat arrogance of "MichiGO" and "Shake the World" to the vulnerable darkness of "Window" and "Crooked".

The title track, "Coup D'Etat", seems to be central in conveying the album's concept of revolution. It's not the first music video in which GD alludes to the notion of releasing himself from prior concepts and images.


Another track, "Niliria", got attention long before the release of the album when YG Entertainment announced in June that GD would be collaborating with American artist, Missy Elliot. While this track was highly anticipated, it is hardly a main highlight from the album. Other collaborators on this album include Diplo (American DJ/producer who worked on GD&TOP), Lydia Paek (American hip-hop dancer who works with YG artists), Jenny Kim (new YG artist), and Zion.T (up-and-coming Korean singer).

YG Entertainment really knows how to build anticipation of an album by releasing various teaser photos and videos, and fans were anything but disappointed. This album surpassed my expectations and I can't wait to see what ground G-Dragon breaks next.

***

As long as I can remember, I've always been passionate about my favourite musicians/singers/groups. At any given time, there has been one musician/singer/group who consumes all of the GBs of my iPhone. Some might say I'm a "passionate music-lover", others might say "fangirl". I can't help but think about how this passion will manifest itself as I age. I imagine my future self jamming to Hanson in the front row of Casino Rama (because, let's face it, that's the nursing home of music). I'll be decked out in the finest fashion of my youth's prime which, of course, will be soo 2000-something.

This is mostly an entertaining exaggeration, and I'm not in any serious state of concern, but I can't help but wonder,

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