Gangnam Style is set to hit the White House as part of the Christmas in Washington event on December 21; despite recent revelations that the rapper behind the global hit, Psy, has an extensive anti-American past. David Prendergast of The Daily Shift has more…
The emergence of the 34-year-old’s past is controversial as his viral hit owes much to the exposure he was given through US talk show hosts such as Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Leno. On top of this, South Korea is a strong ally of the US and is home to 37,000 US troops who have helped protect the nation from its hostile neighbour, North Korea.
In a 2002 performance the rapper hoisted a large model of a US tank above his head and smashed it off the stage and then joined in with the crowd as they chanted anti-US slogans. This symbolic gesture was a reaction to the death of two 14-year-old South Korean girls who were run over by a US military vehicle just north of Seoul. The soldiers involved were acquitted of any wrongdoing by a US court-martial.
Two years later Psy appeared at an anti-American concert and covered a song called ‘Dear America’ by South Korean metal band N.E.X.T. The lyrics of the chorus include:
“Kill the fucking Yankees who’ve been torturing Iraqi captives/Kill the fucking Yankees who ordered them to torture/Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers/Kill them slowly and painfully.”
The protest concert was held after a South Korean missionary, Kim Sun-il, was captured by Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The South Korean government refused the terrorists demand to cancel its plan to send 3,000 troops to the war in support of the US.
The missionary was beheaded. A tape of his execution was sent to Al Jazeera with the message: “Korean citizens, you were warned. Your soldiers are here not for the sake of Iraqis, but for cursed America.”
Psy, who was educated in the US at Boston University and Berklee School of Music, has released an apology stating: “I’m deeply sorry for how those lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused by those words.”
This isn’t the first time the rapper has come under scrutiny during his career. In 2001 his debut album, Psy from the PSYcho World, earned him a fine for using inappropriate lyrics. In 2007 he was under investigation for avoiding mandatory military duty in his home country.
Gangnam Style recently passed Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ as the most viewed video on YouTube ever. The single is set to make Psy a total of $8 million alone from iTunes downloads and YouTube advertisements.