Edwina Mukasa is a London writer obsessed with K-pop. Every month she’ll offer her view on the world’s wildest pop music scene, starting today with this piece about the Korean Michael Jackson, G-Dragon.
Ji-yong Kwon, the 24-year-old otherwise known as G-Dragon, is one of the most powerful artists within the K-pop industry and the current King of K-pop. The leader of the biggest K-pop group around, BIGBANG, the 24-year-old G-Dragon has been in the industry for over 15 years, first as a trainee at age 8 for SM Entertainment, the most powerful Entertainment company in Korea. Years later, he moved to Hip-Hop centric YG Entertainment, the famed company behind artists like girl group 2NE1 and the world’s favourite oppa, PSY. Despite coming from a music industry where manufactured pop is shamelessly widespread, G-Dragon manages to challenge our ideas of mass produced pop music with his contributions to many of current K-pop hits with BIGBANG’s “Bad Boy”, “Fantastic Baby”, and “Monster”.
His latest singles from 2012’s One of A Kind EP released last year contained a more matured approach than his 2009 debut solo album Heartbreaker. Songs like “That XX” reveal a more slow, and pensive character in comparison to songs like “One of a Kind” and “Crayon” which execute a series of transformations, revealing a more buoyant and confident temperament in both music and style. As a part of BIGBANG, his musical style originally targeted young female fans, but with his solo efforts his music reaches beyond different demographic groups as his music delivers an anecdote for a generation of young modern Koreans stemming away from Korean conventions.
K-pop would not be where it is now without its individual packaging style. Its art direction is as addictive, highly controlled and colourful as a packet of skittles. G-Dragon uses this to be as conspicuous as possible, within cute, demure even, Korean archetypes. Frequently dressed in gear by Balmain, Chrome Hearts, Jeremy Scott, Comme des Garçons and Givenchy, Nicola Formichetti is such a fan he asked him to soundtrack his Mugler show – you can check out his strongest ten looks in the gallery above. Musically, Grimes provided one of her more fangirl moments on twitter, writing “G Dragon i love you”