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KultScene’s K-Pop Unmuted: G-Dragon [podcast]

KultScene is happy to announce that, in celebration of our third anniversary, we are beginning a collaboration with K-Pop Unmuted, a podcast dedicated to delving deep into K-pop.

In episode 19, Stephen Knight,  Alejandro Abarca, and Sam from East Coast Kpop Outlet – ECKO discussed G-Dragon’s newest album, Kwon Ji Yong, how we became his fans, T.OP.‘s scandal, and the future of G-D’s career. We also discussed Produce 101 season 2‘s “Never,” G-Dragon’s “B******T,” and SISTAR’s “Alone” as the songs that have us hooked as of late.

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You can listen to this episode, and previous ones, of KultScene’s K-Pop Unmuted on Soundcloud, iTunes, Google Play Music, and Stitcher.

Let us know your thoughts on G-Dragon’s new album in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Kanye West, G-Dragon, & Fashion Week

G-Dragon and kanye

Kanye West, G-Dragon, & Fashion Week

2016 New York Fashion Week (NYFW) Fall/Winter is about to wrap up with the final runways being walked on Thursday, but the long term effect will be felt for months and years to come. Because 2016 was not only the year that music made it big at Fashion Week, but K-pop made its appearance too.

As pop culture and fashion intersec, there’s going to be a lot of where that came from with pop icons like Kanye West and G-Dragon breaching the divide between the audible and the wearable. Yeezy might have been around for awhile, but for the first time ever G-Dragon, and K-pop, is poised to truly enter the realm of western pop culture and he made his long-awaited debut amidst designers.

Comparing any of the K-pop stars who made waves at NYFW to Kanye would be belittling Kanye’s status in society; his fashion show for his Yeezy clothing line doubled also as the venue for the release of his new album “The Life of Pablo” and it will likely be the most talked about event from NYFW 2016. The Madison Square Garden extravaganza will be remembered by the history books as one of the biggest amalgamations of pop culture and high fashion.

Less remembered will be the fact that a brand new song featuring G-Dragon was released during Alexander Wang’s new show. The Baauer-produced “Temples” features M.I.A doing her thing in English while G-Dragon swoops in like a hawk and brings bilingual raps to the runway. In a runway being walked by models draped in an Asian-American designer’s clothing, mind you.


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Debuting a song by the triple threat of Baauer-G-Dragon-M.I.A at NYFW may seem like it doesn’t make much sense; this should be released on an epic scale! But with all of the media looking towards NYFW and top stars from all over the world in attendance, including several K-pop stars like 2NE1’s CL (a member of the recently unveiled promotional WANG SQUAD) and Girls’ Generation’s Sooyoung, attending the runway shows, then debuting the thumping, plinking “Temples” at Alexander Wang’s show meant that all eyes would be on the models and ears open for the invasion of a catchy, bombastic new track. Already there has been heavy coverage of “Temples,” despite the fact that Baauer’s debut album that features the song won’t be out until next month.

And let’s not forget that a Korean pop artist’s voice was poised as a backtrack to an iconic New York City event open to only the highest echelons of the fashion and cultural world. So not too shabby for G-Dragon to quietly make waves without most people even realizing how iconic that runway background music was. If Psy made people aware of K-pop, G-Dragon’s presence at NYFW makes even the most discerning critics stop and pause to listen to the music.

If it seems that music and fashion are just being combined together this NYFW season by accident, it’s most certainly not. Kanye West and the K-pop genre as a whole are more than aware of how the musical superstars of our era double as fashion icons, and all of the money invested in one is likely to affect the other. Which means that when music sales are down, turning singers into walking talking billboards for fashion brands is perfect. But sponsored artists are not enough in this day and age, at least based on the trends; K-pop music agencies like YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment are working with fashion brands at the same time that Kanye is literally transitioning from just a musician to a cultural entity that affects trends of both the music and fashion worlds. (Or at least he’d like to think so).

Does that mean G-Dragon, or any other K-pop artist, is going to pull a Yeezy and start a fashion line, throwing the gauntlet into the diversification of K-pop into new brand arenas? Unlikely. For one thing, G-Dragon told the New York Times that he wouldn’t, and for any other lesser K-pop star than G-Dragon to debut a line aimed at global fashion would be suicide, as seen by the relatively limited success by former Girls’ Generation member Jessica Jung’s foray into fashion.

As much as we — the collective we of K-pop writers and fans combined — like to talk about the rising popularity of K-pop, it’s taken more than five years from the viral hits of 2009 like “Gee” and “Sorry Sorry” until now to merit an icon other than the gag-making Psy who media is really taking notice of. Sorry Psy. G-Dragon, and to a lesser degree CL, are the only K-pop stars Vogue truly cares about.

GD Chanel

However, despite the lack of impending fashion lines straight from any K-pop artist, it’s no small thing that both K-pop and Kanye were prominent at this year’s NYFW- Music, like fashion, is able to transcend cultural boundaries more so in 2016 than ever before, and NYFW proves it. K-pop’s finally making its mark on American cultural products isn’t an accident, just like Kanye moving into the fashion world is intentional. New York Fashion Week, once only visible to a premier class of people, is now open to the world thanks to social media. With the opening up of Fashion Week to the masses comes the need to make high fashion relatable, and nothing is more accessible than music.


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K-pop, which has struggled so hard to try and garner attention overseas, is making leaps and bounds in 2016 with new acts like SM Entertainment’s soon to debut NCT, trying to fit into local music scenes, and more and more K-pop concerts heading to the western hemisphere. But as a genre that lends itself innately to fashion due to it’s visual elements, such as K-pop idols and music videos, K-pop is a perfect mash for NYFW and fashion in general. It’s only now that high fashion has accepted music and one of pop culture’s burgeoning figures into its threshold that there was room to recognize Korean artists as equals who are able to add to the conversation of art, rather than detract from it. G-Dragon, who is so far ahead of the rest of the K-pop crowd as an artist, is no less than K-pop’s Kanye.

Transcending the boundaries of music and art, G-Dragon mirrors Kanye as an influential musician who represents an entire way of life in the eyes of the western media. Fashion has been the friend of both, but there is no question that both these men are all about the music and are smartly using this platform to promote their art.

What do you think of G-Dragon and New York Fashion Week? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Playlist Sunday: Halloween Edition

kpop songs halloween

It’s here, the week that many people around the world wait for all year. Halloween is just around the corner, and it’s time for all of the spooky tunes to get you in the mood for the day of dress up and candy. Which means that this week’s KultScene Playlist Sunday is filled with the creepiest K-pop songs that our writers could find.

VIXX has always been well known for their dark and unique concepts but to me, no other concept of theirs is as horrifying as the one for “Voodoo Doll.” In fact, the music video for this song was so scary and gory that another clean version had to be released. The entire video is eerily fascinating however, and showcases some wonderful acting from the VIXX members, along with a tight choreography and a catchy song. Be warned though, the music video is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

— Anna

Big Bang’s leader G-Dragon caused a stir with this highly controversial music video from his 2009 album, “Heartbreaker.” In “She’s Gone,” GD assumes the role of a crazed psychopath from the Victorian era who kidnaps a former love interest, after she spurned him for another man. G-Dragon’s character keeps the girl tied to a chair, but somehow she manages to escape. Carrying a knife, he sets off in purposeful pursuit of her through a dimly lit labyrinth of corridors, then exacts his brutal revenge near the video’s conclusion. In his warped perception, this drastic course of action is the only means he has of keeping his ex girlfriend forever, or at least preventing anyone else from having her. Finally, the murderer is seen with his hands and clothes covered in blood and a sinister smirk on his face, implying that he has achieved his objective. An already disturbing character is made all the worse for being played by the baby-faced G-Dragon!

— Eve


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I’m probably one of the very few who people who don’t get excited for Halloween. Don’t get me wrong; growing up I absolutely enjoyed dressing up in scary costumes but it only seems as though what started out as a holiday of trickery and the occasional treat has become an opportunity for people to get dressed up in rather trashy outfits. Whatever happened to the monstrous themes, face makeup and extreme hairstyles? 100’s “Beat” takes after a Frankenstein theme, each member sporting heavy eye makeup, colored hair, and armored clothing (if any at all). Even though that movie always crept me out when I was younger, I wouldn’t mind it one bit if I saw a bunch of guys that looked like 100% walking around on Halloween; even with their hearts dangling out. Well, maybe not the heart part.

— Tam

In a a political take on Disney’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Seo Taiji’s “Christmalo.Win” takes us all to a town filled with ghouls, witches, and pumpkins. The iconic Korean singer enters the town to begin singing as a little girl finds that her mother and friends are missing. The music video and the pop-rock song are sinister companions to one another, with dramatic flare to spare (check out his band!) Seo Taiji is a consummate performer and artist, but it’s the content that puts the viewer into the Halloween mood. Watch the whole video to take a look of the eerie tale of a Halloweentown girl looking for her mother in a Christmas town. Not all is as black and white as it appears, and the differences between the poor and rich, the weak and the power, is very clear, even within the holiday packaging of a war between the holidays.

— Tamar

What’s your favorite Korean Halloween song? Share your picks in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

The PEACEMINUSONE Art Exhibit Is Like Seeing The World Through G-Dragon Tinted Glasses[Photos]

pm2
“<PEACEMINUSONE> is an exhibition designed to enhance the public’s interest in the contemporary art while raising the encounters of art and pop culture based on the collaboration of artists of home and abroad with G-Dragon the icon of pop culture beyond the domain of a musician,” reads a black and white poster in both Korean and English at the entrance of the PEACEMINUSONE exhibit at the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA).

While the grammar is lacking, and a bit confusing, the meaning is clear. The point of PEACEMINUSONE, I believe, was to draw fans of K-pop group BIGBANG to one of Seoul’s museums. And it worked; I wasn’t the only one at the museum that day specifically because I wanted to take a look at what the leader of BIGBANG had curated. G-Dragon (Kwon Jiyong), one of South Korea’s most exemplary musicians and fashion icons, collaborated with foreign and domestic artists to create the exhibit.

PEACEMINUSONE, representing the current state of humanity, was split up into two parts; the first focused on G-Dragon’s career and artistry and was called “Non(fiction) Museum.” Costumes and sets seen in the music videos of BIGBANG and G-Dragon’s solos were displayed artistically alongside other images. A ticking clock in the middle, with G-Dragon’s “Coup D’Etat” altered peace sign logo, stood ominously in the middle of the room. Mirrors of varying sizes distorted reflections, matching the distorted images of G-Dragon and nude bodies that were featured in several different artworks.


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The whole portion of the exhibit, with over a dozen art installations in just one room, dreary and bright all at once, seemed to be a visualization of what it’s like to be inside G-Dragon’s brain. One poster explained that portion of the exhibit as “a museum made of actual and virtual stories of G-Dragon intermingled.”

The second half of the exhibit was less focused on G-Dragon personally, and instead highlighted the individual artists and their perceptions of reality. Many of the artworks used photography, lights, and screens to warp what the viewer is looking at, and several pieces seemed to highlight the controlled view of the world that modern media portrays. While the first half of the museum depicted G-Dragon’s take on reality, the second portion of PEACEMINUSONE seemed like an attack on the media’s perception of the world.

A mise-en-scene sculpture and video piece by one of the artists, Kijong Zin, scaled down BIGBANG’s five members and made an example of seeing just what the camera lens glosses over. One artwork, Michael Scoggin’s “Hello! My Friend G-Dragon” features G-Dragon “existing in the imaginary world which is the image shown through the media.” Several artworks used video sculptures and actual sculptures together to depict altered realities.


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Before the third portion of the exhibit, museum-goers were urged to partake in the interactive “Talk To G-Dragon” activity, where people could write a message to G-Dragon.

The final artwork of the exhibit was entitled “Room No. 8” and was a collaboration between G-Dragon and Silo Lab_Zizizik, the only physical installation credited to G-Dragon. Mixing G-Dragon’s voice and image walking across multiple screens in a darkly room, “Room No. 8” felt purposely ominous to depict what the exhibit called the BIGBANG rapper’s “inner truths.”

As homage to G-Dragon, PEACEMINUSONE isn’t like anything any K-pop artist has ever done before and offers a drearier look into G-Dragon’s on and off-stage persona than is usually depicted in the Korean media.

What do you think of PEACEMINUSONE? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Playlist Sunday: YOLO

Life can get overwhelming real fast –that’s no surprise. But in the midst of it all, we shouldn’t forget to unwind, let loose, and live in the moment, you know, just say YOLO from time to time. That’s why for this week’s Playlist Sunday we’ve decided to carpe diem –seize the day– and compile a list of songs talking about exactly that.

2PM’s single Go Crazy! is the perfect example of living for the moment. The song is a party song accompanied by a party music video. Sometimes you just have to let go all of the stress and work and negativity and let loose. Their lyrics urge you to let it all go and enjoy yourself: “Go crazy, Tonight, We are determined to go nuts, Just for one night, go all out.” And if 2PM’s lyrics aren’t enough to get you in touch with your crazy side, then their music video will surely inspire you to have an unforgettable night complete with an arsenal of stories to tell for years to come. So go out and enjoy yourself and go crazy!

— Tara

JYJ’s In Heaven may seem a bit depressing, but along with being vocally beautiful, the message of the song and music video are really “live for the moment.” The music video is about a man, played by member Junsu, who is in love with a woman. But he is so wrapped up in his work that he doesn’t have time for her and doesn’t notice her enough, leading to her walking in front of a car and dying. But then time rewinds, and he is given a second chance. Things take an interesting turn, but at the end of the day, everyone is happy because they did what they wanted instead of what they did the first time around. We don’t all get second chances, so let’s learn the lesson from In Heaven and live our life to the fullest!

— Tamar


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BEAST is a group that brings us the best heart-wrenching break up songs; it’s like their staple or something. So of course a party song by them is a bit odd, but absolutely fantastic. And there’s no better message for a party song than to let loose and live in the moment like in We Up. Sure, the song is directed at a specific girl, but still, we can just imagine the boys are singing this to us personally, telling us to go wherever without thinking of manners and etiquette and be the night’s heroine. Moreover, BEAST also performed this song during Good Luck promotions, and their performance was always fun and infectious; they even interacted with the dancers in a playful manner (I’m looking at you, Doojoon!). Groups mostly always look almost robotic when performing, but with this song, BEAST let loose and actually had fun with it, and what’s more YOLO than doing your own thing at a music show?

–Alexis

Having fun with your friends and going all out with no regrets is one of the best feelings in the world. There’s nothing better than the feeling of letting go, we only live once after all and we have to live our lives to the fullest. The perfect track to go crazy with is G-Dragon’s Michi Go. BIGBANG’s leader is the king of crazyness and knows how to belt out a perfect party song. The crazy beats in the track create a very chaotic sound that fits perfectly with the feeling of the song. And who can forget that, “Dirty nasty as f***” that he spits out subtly throughout the song. As soon as you press play to this song it will instantly make you want to get up and dance like crazy.

–Alejandro


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If you’re really going to go all out YOLO on a night, it is a priority to have some killer tracks at your disposal. Up and Down by Korean producer Smells is a perfect addition to this playlist. As was the trend last year Up and Down is a dance track by way of the British house scene in the 1990s. He mixes this with commercial synths, which sound straight out of Ibiza, to create an exciting, danceable, and euphoric track. Son Seung Yeon features to provide some typically generic but soulful, effective vocals. It all comes together to form something typically Korean in that it mixes old and new, west and east to create the ultimate modern club banger. As a bonus the video features a group of people in a bedroom, YOLOing it to the max, which you can take your cue from.

–Joe

What are your dreams and aspirations? Have you thought about how you’re going to go about making it happen or are you too nervous at the thought of possibly failing? B.A.P’s One Shot is a reminder to us all that even if the high walls try to block you, jump over it all, even if you fall every time. How will you ever know what the outcome might be like if you’re too scared to give it a try? This is the present, you’ve got to grab that opportunity right then and there and seize the moment!

–Tam

Share your favorite YOLO songs and moments with us in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.