Park Jae-sang (박재상; born December 31, 1977) is a South Korean singer-songwriter, rapper, and record producer. He goes by the stage name, Psy (싸이, often stylized as PSY). He debuted in the 90's and has since been known in South Korea for his many comedic songs, music videos, and dances.In July 2012, he released the music video for his single "Gangnam Style", which became a global hit of immense proportions. Since then PSY has appeared on numerous television programs in almost every continent. As for the internet, "Gangnam Style" is still actively being parodied, with more than 1 million search results since its debut."Gangnam Style" is YouTube's most viewed and liked video with over 2 billion views and 8 million likes.Shortly after release of his memetic Gangnam Style single, he signed with Justin Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun, planning to work on more songs in the near future.On April 2013, Psy's much awaited follow-up single "Gentleman", was uploaded onto YouTube and racked up hundreds of millions of views within days.On June 2014, two months and a year since Gentleman, "Hangover", a collaboration with one Snoop Dogg was uploaded. The song had gained ~10 million views on its first day.
Tropes associated with PSY include:
Acrofatic: Known for his unconventional pop star looks, but once he's on stage and dancing, you can see he knows his stuff.
Affectionate Parody: The Other Wiki has a partial list of the seemingly endless "Gangnam Style" parodies here. Intriguing meta-concept in that they are parodies of a song intended to be a parody itself.
This also applies to the English parts of his song - censorship in South Korea is heavy, and if he'd sung "gonna make you sweat/gonna make you wet" (along with some of the other lyrics) in Korean, it'd have been banned immediately.
Boastful Rap: "Gangnam Style" is a parody of the genre. The narrator brags about his luxurious lifestyle, while the music video reveals him to be trying waaay too hard.
Bowties Are Cool: PSY prominently sports one in "Gangnam Style" as well as in his other music videos.
The Cameo: "Gangnam Style" includes several Korean celebrities, naturally lost on international viewers. For the curious:
Informed Attribute: The subway station in the "Gangnam Style" video is repeatedly stated (even on this very page) to be "dirty" and "dingy." Perhaps this is the case by Korean standards, but it's relatively tame by western standards.
Jerkass: In "Gentleman", he spends the video being a killjoy to other people, such as raising the speed on a jogger's treadmill (flinging her off), pressing all the buttons on an elevator... as someone who needs to really needs to take a piss gets on, farting onto his hand and shoving it in a girl's face, and kicking away some children's soccer ball. Then he meets his match in a woman just as jerky as he is...
Shout-Out: In the "Hangover" music video, Psy at one point is wearing the yellow and black jumpsuit made famous by Bruce Lee while showing off martial arts moves.
Singer Namedrop: During the bridge of "Gentleman", PSY proclaims in English, "You know who I am!/Wet PSY!".
Spontaneous Choreography: The music video for "Right Now" is full of this. An office full of workers, a grocery store, and everyone on a backed-up interstate all get up (or out of their cars in the latter case) and just start dancing almost perfectly.
Behind the catchy tune, "Gangnam Style" is a critique of those who imitate South Korea's upper-class citizens, specifically the posh upper-class Gangnam neighborhood of Seoul (think a Korean Beverly Hills or Manhattan). Psy has said that the song is making fun of posers who say they are "Gangnam style", and it takes shots at women into shallow, materialistic trendiness... and the guys who buy into it to impress chicks.note Materialism is considered a growing problem in South Korea, to the point where nosejobs as sweet sixteen presents and slang for women who'll starve themselves to buy fancy clothes and furniture are common.
PSY appears to be lounging on beach, but he's actually on a playground; he admires the horses in a ritzy stable, but winds up on a merry-go-round; he struts in a suit with a babe on each arm while being pelted with garbage and fake snow; and he spends the whole song talking about how he wants a classy lady for a girlfriend, but when he meets his true love in melodramatic slo-mo, they're both on a dingy subway train. He even brags about his wealth while sitting onthe can.
Affectionate Parody: It's also one giant parody of K-Pop, featuring many k-pop artists (that giant random crowd dancing in a disco isn't just a face of nobodies) and a beat that's a take-off on a lot of k-pop songs. Given that PSY's style prior to his international fame is considered K-Pop...
Stylistic Suck: Tying into the stealth parody thing and that PSY is acting as a wannabe poser in his video, he tries to be stylish in all the wrong places - a playground, on a coach bus, on the toilet, during yoga class, in a train...
Stuff Blowing Up: Right before the first chorus of "Gangnam Style" hits, an explosion inexplicably goes off behind PSY.
Surprisingly Good English: Studying at Boston University and the Berklee College of Music in the United States very obviously improved PSY's English skills, a trait that many critics have listed as one of the main reasons why he's done so well in western markets. And unlike most K-Pop artists, PSY can fluently communicate with western audiences and understands American culture from his college years, both of which have massively assisted in his promotion of "Gangnam Style."
Swan Boats: Swan-shaped boats appear in the music video for "Gangnam Style".
Unflinching Walk: In the beginning of "Gangnam Style", PSY and two women walk while an excessive amount of wind blows trash and fake snow. The women try their best to keep it out of their faces. PSY... doesn't. Right before the first chorus, an explosion blows away chess players behind PSY... who simply walks up to the screen and introduces 'Gangnam Style' to the viewer.
Visual Pun: PSY declares himself to be "Wet PSY" (a play on the frequent "WEST SIDE" shout in American rap) and that he's "gonna make you wet!" For the first one, he gets water poured on himself; for the second, he and two girls are catapulted into a pool.