Follow TV Tropes


Music / PSY

Go To

Park Jae-sang (박재상; born December 31, 1977 in Seoul) 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 '90s and has since been known in South Korea for his many comedic songs, music videos and dances that turned Sarcasm Mode into a social phenomenon.

His earlier works during the Turn of the Millennium are dark and gritty in the usual sense, with cuss words and sarcastic sentences spewing here and there, and some music videos with a sense of Black Comedy. When he returned in The New '10s, he took the brighter, upbeat and more-humorous route, with his new songs having tons of silly humor thrown in.

In July 2012, he released the music video for his single "Gangnam Style", which became a global hit of immense proportions for some reason. 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" went unsurpassed as YouTube's most viewed video for over 4 years, with over 2.9 billion views and over 12 million likes. Though it remains his most popular video, the following singles didn't do bad either; in April 2013 Psy's much awaited follow-up single "Gentleman" was uploaded onto YouTube and racked up hundreds of millions of views within days, and in June 2014, two months and a year since "Gentleman", "Hangover", a collaboration with Snoop Dogg, was uploaded. The song gained ~10 million views on its first day. At the end of November 2015, Psy returned with the release of "Daddy".

Shortly after the 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.

In 2018, Psy left his Korean label - YG Entertainment - to found his own company called P Nation. The label currently consists of Psy himself, solo artists Hyuna & Dawn (formerly E'Dawn of the idol group Pentagon), and rappers Jessi & Crush. The label is also in the process of training a number of trainees for the eventual debut of an idol group (or idol groups) under the P Nation banner.


  • Psy from the Psycho World! (2001)
  • Ssa2 (2002)
  • 3 Mi (2002)
  • Ssajib (2006)
  • PsyFive (2010)
  • Psy 6 (Six Rules), Part 1 (2012)
  • Chiljip Psy-da (2015)
  • 4X2=8 (2017)
  • PSY 9th (2022)

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:
    • "Champion" is a Black Comedy variant of this to Rhythm Games in general, in the style of a parodied Battle Rapping.
    • "Gangnam Style" is one giant affectionate 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...
    • 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.
  • Animal Motifs: The horses in "Gangnam Style." And the accompanying dance itself, which mimics riding a horse. The motif here is "being rich" in the sense of satirizing the "Gangnam Style" of life, showing off how rich you are with no sense of decency.
  • Bar Brawl: The music video for "Hangover" shows PSY inadvertently starting one by accidentally catapulting a spoon into the head of someone sitting behind him.
  • Battle Rapping: Parodied in "Champion".
  • Beer Goggles: In the video for Hangover, Psy and Snoop Dogg pick up a couple of housewives and take them partying. They might have been just sober enough to know what they're doing at first, but later when they're out at a Karaoke Club, Psy sees them as younger, more conventionally-attractive looking women .
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • The refrain "mother-father gentleman" in "Gentleman," which triples as a Genius Bonus. The term, or closely-related variants, is used to refer to a properly educated Confucian gentleman-scholar in eastern Asian (particularly Chinese) cultures. He embodies the sense of duty, seriousness, good-naturedness, and propriety any well-bred, well-educated official or aristocrat is supposed to have. Of course, the singer subverts this with a vengeance by being determined to combine the worst qualities of masculine and feminine rather than the best. The phrase also happens to sound remarkably close to a certain Anglo-Saxon insult.
    • 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.
    • "DADDY" has the lyrics "My name is P-S-Y, Hangukmallo bakjaesang (In Korean Park Jae-Sang)."
  • Bland-Name Product: The "Napal Baji" music video has him reading an issue of a magazine named Forboss (an obvious play on Forbes).
  • 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.
  • The Cameo:
    • "Gangnam Style" includes several Korean celebrities, naturally lost on international viewers. For the curious:
    • PSY himself has had several on American and Australian TV (and online too) since the video went viral.
    • Jae-Suk shows up again in "Gentleman", along with Ha Dong-hoon a.k.a Ha-Ha and kpop singer Ga-In.
    • "Hangover", aside Snoop Dog's collaboration, has Big Bang's G-Dragon.
    • "DADDY" has 2NE1's CL saying the lines "Hey, Where you get that body from?"
  • Carpet of Virility: He sports a obviously fake one (as the mustached ballet dancer) in his music video for "Daddy".
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Psy was well known for sarcastic rap songs filled with tons of swear words, but one of his old songs "I love sex" has sexually-explicit lyrics along with "FUCKING" spelled out around.
  • The Comically Serious: Psy pulls this off in The Gregory Brothers' "DJ Play My Song (No Leave Me Alone)".
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Satirized in "Gangnam Style." Psy takes people to task for spending all their money in Gangnam, a trendy district of Seoul, and ending up flat broke as a result of spending all their money trying to look cool.
  • Cool Shades:
    • Justified when sunbathing, or with foam blowing in your face... but in the sauna?
    • This seems to be his default look in American media.
  • Darker and Edgier: PSY started out with "Bird" which is this. In general, his works during Turn of the Millennium can be seen as this, and thus caused controversies among Moral Guardians in South Korea, leading to sales of his music copies being restricted.
    This is the CITY LIFE!
    • Album-wise, his fourth album "Ssajib" is the darkest album with songs centering around criminals, gangster-like society and drinking. They're some of the straight-laced songs PSY has ever done.
    • Speaking about his collaborations, "Dear American", which he collaborated with N.Ex.T for the song, was the darkest of all, expressing anti-American sentiments in the wake of the protests agianst Americn killings of two Korean girls. That would trump even above "Urbanite" and even the whole Ssajib album.
  • Elevator Buttons Mash: Seen in "Gentleman", while Jae-Suk is desperately needing the bathroom no less.
  • Evil Laugh: In the last part of "Bird". He doesn't really do this, but his laugh is reminiscent of this, combining with the Darker and Edgier theme of "Bird".
  • Fanservice:
    • HyunA's role in "Gangnam Style" and especially in "Oppa is Just My Style."
    • PSY is often accompanied by attractive female dancers in his videos and on stage, and it ties into him being a sexist asshole creep for the "Gentleman" music video.
  • Fan Disservice: Psy belly-dancing in the music video for "It's Art".
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Majority of PSY's songs have Korean swear words. Just listen to Bird again and, if you know Korean, you can find "dwessuh" which means “fucked", and “ship-won” (ten Korean cents), one of the Korean equivalents of "fuck".
  • Funny Background Event: Noh Hong-chul, aka the Elevator Guy, makes a brief cameo in "Gentleman" doing his dance in the background of a restaurant.
  • Gender Flip: "Daddy" is a comical role flip of the song "I Got It From My Mama".
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Because he can't use profanity or obscenity on television, he uses substitutes that sound similar to the swears he actually means. For instance, "mother father" instead of "motherfucker".
  • Gratuitous English: Many of his songs (including "Gangnam Style" and "Right Now"), as is typical for K-Pop, and it really is brought out in "Gentleman".
    Gonna make you sweat
    Gonna make you wet
    You know who I am?
    Wet PSY
    HEYYYYYY Sexy Lady!
  • In My Language, That Sounds Like...: In the chorus of "Champion", he's saying "Ne ga", which means "you are" in Korean, not "nigga".
  • 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.
  • Insult Backfire: Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day once called PSY "the herpes of music". PSY took it as a compliment.
    PSY: ...he's saying I'm like herpes, it keeps coming back. I think it's really cool and I appreciate that. Thank you.
  • Jerkass: In-universe; 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...
  • Kidanova: In "DADDY", Kid!PSY is this among the girls at his school... Even the teacher feels hot around him.
  • Large Ham: His MVs in particular are intentionally over-the-top.
  • Lighter and Softer: His post 2010 songs (like "Gangnam Style" and "Hangover") are this to his older songs like "Bird".
  • Like Father, Like Son: In "DADDY", he, his father and his son are identical, hence the "I got it from my Daddy" chorus.
  • Location Song: "Gangnam Style" made the Seoul district Gangnam world famous.
  • Male Gaze: When the camera zooms in on the assets of women exercising in "Gangnam Style", and "Gentleman" has a few shots of Ga-In as well.
  • Meadow Run: Played for laughs in "Gangnam Style" when PSY and HyunA do this... in a grimy subway train.
  • Modesty Towel: PSY and two other men sport one in the sauna scene of "Gangnam Style"; however, PSY wears his around the chest.
  • Music at Sporting Events: The intent behind his song "Korea", made for the 2012 London Olympics.
  • Narm:invoked PSY intends to do with some of his songs, and once said about Gangnam Style, "Mindset of the song is "dress classy and dance cheesy"."
  • Naughty by Night: In "Gangnam Style", PSY lists this behavior off as ideal.
  • Nerd Glasses: He wears a pair during part of the "Right Now" video.
  • New Old West: "That That", which he collaborated with BTS' Suga, is the musical version in the city of Incheon, complete with them and their fellows wearing cowboy attires.
  • Nouveau Riche: "Gangnam Style" is a satire of young Koreans who are either filthy rich or want to be filthy rich.
  • Rated G for Gangsta: As mentioned above, PSY underwent this trope after his military service, although his songs are more of commercial Gangsta Rap/Pop Rap songs.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: PSY smashes an acoustic guitar in the beginning of Rewind Youtube Style.
  • Sarcastic Title: "Gentleman" is about an unabashed Jerkass who falls for a woman who treats him like he treats everyone else.
  • Shirtless Scene: Combined with Fan Disservice in "Gangnam Style".
  • 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.
  • Stealth Parody:
    • 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 
    • 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 on the can.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Right before the first chorus of "Gangnam Style" hits, an explosion inexplicably goes off behind PSY.
  • 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...
  • Super Bowl Special: In 2013, for Super Bowl XLVII, PSY collaborated with Wonderful Pistachios to craft a wonderfully nutty advertisement:
    PSY: Crackin' Gangnam Style!
  • Swan Boats: Swan-shaped boats appear in the music video for "Gangnam Style".
  • Three Minutes of Writhing: HyunA's part in an updated version of "Gangnam Style" called "Oppa is Just my Style." PSY's part is... not.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The workaholic employee in "Urbanite" was scared by everything from Artificial Humans workforces to earthquake cracking on the ground.
  • Troll: Invoked by PSY in the "Gentleman" music video. And that's putting it kindly.
  • 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.
  • Unusual Euphemism: In "Gentleman" he uses the term "Mother-Father", which references a quote from Confucius about being a gentleman. Psy on the other hand uses it as a euphemism for "motherfucking".
    Confucius: The joyful, respectful gentleman is the people's father and mother.
  • 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.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: "Hangover" is basically this trope followed up by "let's get drunk again".



How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ElevatorButtonsMash

Media sources: