From head to toe, swag checked. G-Dragon is back with the bigger power to shock.
Colorful, crazy, and fun are some best words that could describe G-Dragon’s “ONE OF A KIND.” After three years of searching for his color and identity as a 25-year-old man and a musician, G-Dragon has come to the conclusion that he can only be described with a box of crayons, and a white paper to draw on.
When asked in what he is one of a kind, after a moment of silence and resting his chin on his hands he said, “I don’t know. This is too difficult.”
That quiet contemplation of five to ten seconds explained everything about why it had taken so long for people to understand the core message of the music video for “CRAYON,” the title sing off the first mini-album “ONE OF A KIND.”
The rapper-singer was not able to define himself with a single word. To demonstrate the range of his potential, he brought out the joker from a pack of cards with flair–a cartoon character, a maniac, a party rocker and a “sexy lady” that instantly turns into the face of the “Dark Knight” villain.
G-Dragon sat down with the magazine at YG Entertainment’s Seoul office on Wednesday to show that he has more to offer than just colors in array and flashing lights.
Q: The intro tune “ONE OF A KIND” is rather an experimental genre in the mainstream K-pop music scene. Did you have a special reason for choosing hip-hop this time?
A:Well, I’ve been doing it since I was very young and it’s what I’m best at. I think it’ll stay that way. Being in Big Bang and being solo are two different things. Big Bang is a big group that should appeal to wider audience, whereas making music for myself is a chance for me to do some experimental things. I’m doing what I’ve been dreaming of since young, and whatever I do [though it may seem strange and unfamiliar sometimes], people are beginning to accept that this is who I am.
Q: Any reason for choosing a bible-like album design?
A: I’ve made several albums all in different designs. Bibles, or old books, have this mythical feeling. I felt there’s a special energy in bibles and wanted my album to have that feeling. The biblical expressions I used in the lyrics were just adaptations from the actual passage.
Q: You always bring something new. Your name entails the keyword, “New.” What’s new in your album and tracks?
A: I got rid of the pressure to do something fresh and new. I admit that I was pressured by it even till the last album but now I wonder, ‘Does it have to be new?’ Whether I bring out solo singles or Big Bang songs, I don’t think I should differentiate the color itself. If the song’s good, it’s good. That’s all that matters……The tracks are mixed with different genres. Hip-hop has many other sub-genres like a slow rhythmic hip-hop and a mix-up with electronic music like “CRAYON.” I try to find some fun with the ingredients I have.
Q: “CRAYON” as the album’s title song, instead of “ONE OF A KIND,” which is also the name of the album.
A: From the beginning of making “ONE OF A KIND,” I knew I was going to use it as the intro tune. It’s the first song I made for the record, and since the title has a good meaning I thought it’ll be nice to name the album as “ONE OF A KIND. The title fits well with what I wanted to express through the album. That is, above all other things, to make people feel that this is something that no other people can do, except G-Dragon. Something only I can do.
Q: This is your first solo effort in three years and you must have a lot of emotions and ideas to bring out. Were you able to express all that? Out of 100, how much are you satisfied with the result?
A: 88……The number eight is meaningful for me. I had eight concepts for the album as well [G-Dragon was born on August 18, 1988].
Q: Your inspiration to people comes not only from your music but fashion. Of all the fashion styles in the music video for “CRAYON,” which one is your favorite?
A: It’s hard to pick one. I just wore what I’ve been wanted to wear, just like how I do in making music. Things like I’ve seen or couldn’t wear before, you know? Like the outfit that makes me look like a Frankenstein from the clip. That’s a showpiece from one of the designers I like. He actually gave it to me in person. The design is really nice but dancing in it was quite hilarious.
Q: Was the short skirt one of the outfits that you’ve always wanted to wear? (laugh)
A: I purposely wore that to look funny. I was trying to direct the music video with some comic scenes, from a Pinocchio to a lady. But the back shot is not me. I don’t know why it got so controversial. That’s one of my backup dancers. I’m telling you again, that’s not me! (laugh)
Q: You show different versions of yourself through characters in “CRAYON” music video. Of course, that must have been set to suit the whole concept, but what does it exactly mean?
A: Yeah the stories are kind of jumbled together. What I had intended to express is a crazy person seeing things in a dream. It’s about an insane man going through different scenes in his dream and for that I needed to play so many different characters. We actually had more to show than what’s in the video now. Because the title “CRAYON” brings up the image of something colorful, I wanted people to feel that different characters and colors, and think that I was just crazy. I really like how it came out. In contrast, the music video for “ONE OF A KIND” has a sort of controlled emotions. For “That XX,” I played a double role to visualize that dreamlike feeling.
Q: You’re only 25 now. In “CRAYON,” you sing, “I’m an inspiration to people who have lost a sense of passion or inspiration.” I have to say, that’s a pretty confident remark for your age. How do you want to inspire people?
AI grew up thinking that I want to become an artist like Seo Taeji & Boys, DUEX and Roo’Ra. That simple admiration led me to become a musician. Like the fresh impression I got from those Korean singers, I want people to be shocked to see a young-aged idol [doing well in the music scene]. I want them to think, “If he can do it, why can’t I?”
Q: “Why so serious.” Are you saying that to yourself or other people?
A: Both. I leave the interpretation to the listeners. [Thinking hard] I’m just who I am and I express what I want to show. But sometimes people exaggerate things and misunderstand the things I do. I’m just doing what I like and people can just enjoy it. There’s nothing more than that. “Why so serious” is a bit like satirical message to people who like to argue and make issues for nothing. That line by Joker also encourages me. I just love it. He’s a villain, and scary, but he’s saying something to the world. I think he’s much cooler than the batman.
Q: In the first solo album, “Heartbreaker,” you sang about the pains and sorrows you had as a boy. “ONE OF A KIND” sings about break-ups quite emotionally. Did you make that change to appeal to the general public? You said in a past interview that you want to make a song that people don’t get tired of listening to.
A: I’m a pop artist so I’d have to make the general public comfortable when they listen to my music. Apart from how I’m seen on stage, my music has to be easy to approach and gives comfort to people. So I try to think it more simply, but that’s the hardest part. Yang [YG Entertainment C.E.O Yang Hyun-suk] finalizes the track order and it seems like he’s focusing on the flow of the tracks, like a concert or a movie. The song begins with a grand start, flows smoothly, reaches the climax and slowly draws out.
Q: Do you think you’re cooler on the stage or off the stage?
A: On the stage of course! I don’t think I’m that cool off the stage. I have so many flaws and I think myself as a kid. But… I literally rock on stage. (haha)
Q: The phrase “wild and young” repeats in “ONE OF A KIND.” It seems like it’s like a moto for you. Do you think you have something to polish from the wild side?
A: Probably yes. First, I love that phrase. It’s the motto of my life. But it’s a bit difficult to go extreme in this culture. There’s a boundary for going wild and I’ve gotten used to that. I’m silently fighting with that boundary, but that never comes out in action. I do worry about how and what I’ll do next in the future. But for now I’m doing things I like without any problem so far. So far. Yes.
Q: You’re literally “young and rich” [the rap lyrics in “ONE OF A KIND”]. Some pople think that you’re at the peak point of your career. Since you just mentioned that you worry about your success, how do you see yourself in the future, career-wise?
A: Like I always say, you never know what’s going to happen. This could be the start, or could be the end point [of massive popularity]. If people think that I’ve reached my limit, then I’d compliment myself for doing well. If I were at the peak point, then that means I’ve made my dream come true at an earlier age than average people. This means that I have nothing to lose, and can dream a bigger dream. Though I can’t foresee the future, I prepare a lot for whatever is to come. I think I’m crazy when I look at myself these days. I can see myself going wild and mad on stage. We [himself and other YG Entertainment officials] really like that. That crazy energy just erupts when I’m standing on the stage. It’s like… something’s about to break out from inside. But again, I don’t know how long that energy will last so I’m doing my best when I can. When people don’t get inspired by my music and style, I think that’s about time when I should get off the limelight and support other musicians grow. Right now, that energy is just overflowing.
Q: Starting to dream about becoming a singer and reaching that goal all happened comparatively at an early age for you. You’ve gone through so many ups and downs to get here and must have had time to focus on yourself when preparing for the solo album. How much proportion does “Kwon Ji-yong” [G-Dragon’s Korean name] have in G-Dragon’s life?
A: Just 2 or 3 years ago, Taeyang and I often discussed about whether we’re on the right track or what we should do if we fall on the way. My conclusion is, this is just who I am. I can’t separate Kwon Ji-yong and G-Dragon’s life. My job is to bridge that gap in between the two. If I were to separate my life as G-Dragon and Kwon, I’d be very sad and devastated. Admitting that this is something I’ve been doing since young and what I’m good at, I’m happy. I want to tell myself, “You’re doing well.” (laugh)
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