Not so long ago, a little-known Korean artist broke into the music scene and pretty much, owned it. And he did so with an upbeat pop tune, a whole lot of flair and a dance routine that has never been seen before. Indeed, it didn’t take long before the U.S. and the rest of the world knew all about Psy and his “Gangnam Style.”
Today, the “Gangnam Style” music video on YouTube has already been viewed more than 3.3 billion times around the world. And it didn’t even matter that the whole song was mostly in Korean.
As you know, when a song becomes incredibly famous, people also tend to become intrigued by the musician itself. And now years later, there may be some things that you may have already forgotten about your favorite ‘Gangnam Style’ guy. Check out what we found:
20 His real name is not Psy
We know what you’re thinking, the name Psy sounds pretty cool. No wonder his song went viral!
However, this is not exactly the rapper’s real name. Instead, according to the National Post, Psy’s real name happens to be Park Jae Sang (close enough). He was born back on December 31, 1977, in Seoul, South Korea.
19 He once served in the military
According to the report from the National Post, Psy had to undergo mandatory military service in South Korea. Hence, he served for two years, from 2003 to 2005. However, it is believed that he did not manage to serve his full-term properly.
And so, in 2007, he was redrafted and Psy had to serve in the military for another two years.
18 He is married with children
In his popular music video, Psy may be portraying the lifestyle of a rich and happy bachelor. However, in real life, this rapper is a dedicated family man.
Several reports indicate that Psy tied the knot with his girlfriend, Yoo Hye Yeon, in 2006. And today, the couple have two children, who are reportedly twins.
17 His mother owns restaurants
From the looks of it, it seems that Psy never had to worry about getting some amazing food throughout his childhood. That’s because his mother, Kim Young-hee, happens to own several restaurants.
Interestingly enough, these dining establishments also happen to be located in the Gangnam area. However, we are unclear as to what kind of food the restaurants serve.
16 His father is a prominent businessman
Psy’s father, Park Won-ho, happens to be the founder and chairman of DI Corp., a South Korean company that has been making testing equipment for the semiconductor industry.
According to a report from Quartz, it seems that Psy’s fame gave the company’s stock a hefty 800 percent boost. So overall, “Gangnam Style” has been good for business.
15 He was once known as the class clown
During a television interview, Psy’s former teacher at Banpo Middle School said, “I remember Psy making a lot of sexual jokes during class. He had such a big influence that he would draw the attention of the entire class with his jokes.”
Moreover, the teacher added to “disliking him at that time.” But looking back, the teacher said, “I see that he added a great energy to the class.”
14 Queen made him fall in love with music
During an interview with The New York Times, Psy explained, “My lifetime role model and hero is Freddie Mercury of Queen. His songwriting skills, I cannot even approach, but his showmanship, I learned it from videos. I’m No. 1 in the U.K. right now, so if I have any chance to go there, I want to meet Queen and to tell them how much I got inspired by their music.”
13 Psy holds a unique YouTube record for “Gangnam Style”
According to a report from BBC, Psy’s “Gangnam Style” video was such a hit that it ended up breaking YouTube’s view limit. Previously, YouTube’s counter only used a 32-bit integer, which meant that the maximum views it could count were limited to 2,147,483,647. It has since been increased.
Moreover, YouTube also posted a statement saying, “We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer... but that was before we met Psy.”
12 He originally created the “Gangnam Style” dance for a talent contest
While speaking at Oxford University in 2012, Psy revealed, “I was so desperate to get noticed I went to a TV production company in Korea and started doing a dance—a crazy dance—up and down the corridors.”
He then turned to animal movements for inspiration, reportedly trying to imitate kangaroos, snakes, monkeys, and elephants. Eventually, he settled on a horse.
11 He didn’t know who Drake was
As you may recall, Psy once did a memorable appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” In fact, he even managed to teach pop star Britney Spears how to do the “Gangnam Style” dance.
Well, during his guesting, Psy also revealed to DeGeneres that he did not recognize Canadian rapper Drake when he was reportedly approached by him during the MTV Video Music Awards.
10 He once signed a deal with Scooter Braun
As you probably know, Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, has a knack for spotting talent. And when Psy came out with “Gangnam Style,” Braun couldn’t pass up on the chance to collaborate with the South Korean music sensation.
And so, on Psy’s very own YouTube channel, Braun announced, “We’ve come to an agreement to make some history together. [To] be the first Korean artist to break a big record in the United States.”
9 He has aired some Anti-America sentiment in the past
Back in 2014, Psy got into some hot water when he was shown performing the song “Dear America” in a video. According to CNN, Psy had said the performance was in response to the war in Iraq.
Later on, however, Psy issued an apology saying, “I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world.”
8 He (somewhat) confessed to personal issues
During an interview with UK’s Sunday Times Magazine, Psy remarked, “If I’m happy, I’m drinking, if I’m sad, I’m drinking. If it’s raining, I’m drinking, if it’s sunny, I’m drinking.” Moreover, the rapper also admitted that he would only stop drinking when he already feels hungover. Even today, it is unclear if Psy ever sought professional help or treatment for this supposed alcohol issue.
Meanwhile, Kpop Starz claimed that the rapper’s alleged drinking problem is just a “cultural misunderstanding.”
7 He is aware that no new song of his can top “Gangnam Style”
Admittedly, Psy knows that he probably can’t top the records that he achieved with “Gangnam Style.”
And he is not looking to keep using the tune to create more fame for himself. During an interview, he told Reuters, “It was probably the biggest trophy the world could have given me. It’s now something on the shelf I can admire from time to time.”
6 His hit song inspired a doomsday hoax
According to a report from The Daily Dot, someone had decided to link “Gangnam Style” to a Nostradamus quote that said, “From the calm morning, the end will come when of the dancing horse the number of circles will be nine.”
As you can see, the Psy association is more likely due to the “Gangnam Style” dance routine.
5 He has become South Korea’s tourism ambassador
Back in 2013, Psy was named a South Korea tourism ambassador. Interestingly, visitors to South Korea can also take part in a Gangnam Style Tour.
According to the Seoul Tourism Organization, the “Gangnam” tour covers the Gangnam, Jamsil and Apgujeong areas of Seoul. Moreover, Gangnam is described as “a district full of style and sensibility of Korea’s youth.”
4 He now owns his own music label
Years after Psy came out with his hit single, the rapper has been busy running his successful music label called P Nation. He formed the label a few months after he parted ways from YG Entertainment.
In fact, according to a report from Asia One earlier this year, the South Korean rapper had recently signed two new artists, HyunA and E’Dawn.
3 He has also become a brand ambassador for Asiana Airlines
Back in 2013, Asian Airlines named Psy its Honorary Ambassador. According to CNN, that meant that Psy got free tickets to the airline’s highest-class throughout the year.
Meanwhile, a representative for the airlines also issued a statement to Pop Crush saying, “Asiana Airlines hopes to contribute to spreading K-pop around the world and its growth and development through this partnership.”
2 He is friends with a Malaysian fugitive
At one point, Psy was questioned about his relationship with a Malaysian businessman turned fugitive Low Taek Jho. According to Strait Times, Low embezzled as much as US $4.5 billion from the Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB.
Taking to IG, Psy explained, “Regardless of whether he was a good friend or not, it is clear that I was his (Low's) friend.”
1 He was summoned as a witness to a K-Pop scandal
Aside from getting mixed up in the embezzlement controversy of Low, Psy also ended up getting summoned by authorities because of a K-pop scandal.
According to a report from the South China Morning Post, Psy was questioned by the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency regarding a scandal involving his former label, YG Entertainment.
Sources - YouTube, National Post, BBC, Asia One, Reuters, Quartz, CNN & South China Morning Post