One of a kind

Livewire: K-pop hip-hop superstar G-Dragon electrifies in his many guises as a performer.

Testing positive for marijuana in 2011.

Accused of plagiarising some of his songs.

Dry-humping a female dancer on stage at a child-friendly concert that admitted anyone above 12.

These controversies would have sounded the death knell for some in the world of K-pop, known for its emphasis on its singers' squeaky-clean image.

But one man has survived it all, proving that he is indeed, like the title of his latest EP declares, one of a kind.

At just 24, K-pop superstar G-Dragon continues to be a force to be reckoned with, and not only because of his talent.

The acclaimed rapper, singer, songwriter, producer and fashion icon, whose real name is Kwon Ji Yong, is revered by those in the entertainment industry the world over.

British singer Pixie Lott has collaborated with him on her track Dancing On My Own, and apparently Hollywood actress Dakota Fanning had requested to meet G-Dragon in person when she next visits Korea.

Even Korean rapper Psy, who was cracking his head over creating a dance routine for his single Gentleman, ended up looking to the charismatic leader of K-pop boy band Big Bang for inspiration.

Psy told the Korean media that he wanted to come up with a dance that would "capture the world's imagination". He admitted to being close to a meltdown as the pressure of having to match Gangnam Style's success weighed heavily upon him.

Then one day, he spotted G-Dragon swaying his hips to K-pop girl group Brown Eyed Girls' song Abracadabra and went "Eureka!" - or whatever that translates to in Korean.

On his Twitter, Psy thanked G-Dragon with: "You danced the (Abracadabra) dance as soon as you heard the song, and that's why we thought of using it."

To this, G-Dragon replied cheekily: "I'm good at that dance."

Being labelmates at YG Entertainment, G-Dragon was also invited to perform as a special guest at Psy's Happening concert in Seoul earlier this month where the latter debuted Gentleman.

The man with the ever-changing hairstyle is as much an enigma as well as all-encompassing, and this very contradiction is reflected in his androgynous good looks.

On whether "G-Dragon is part of K-pop", he told entertainment magazine XXL: "I can't say I hate the title.

"At the end of the day, it's pop music from Korea. But in the long run, I don't want to be affiliated with that name.

"I don't want to go to a foreign country and get lumped into that genre. I'm just looking at the bigger picture.

"This K-pop title might be good for now, but looking ahead it could hold me back, like a prison of sorts. I'm a little wary of that."

Such yearning for freedom from labels also applies to his song-writing skills.

G-Dragon told music magazine Dazed & Confused: "I am a songwriter and producer and though you have to be personal in everything you do, you always have to look at things from another person's perspective.

"For example, there are many songwriters who are men but write for female artistes.

"It's still very fun and creative but I think I like to work on my solo material more because I am free to let loose and have the freedom to be as creative as I want to be."


Come June, he'll be in Singapore for two nights for his first solo world tour, 2013 G-Dragon World Tour: One Of A Kind. He's reportedly going to push the boundaries with a spectacular performance, but it's all under wraps.

He has on board famed choreographers Travis Payne and Stacy Walker, who worked extensively on the late King of Pop Michael Jackson's This Is It tour and the pair have said that G-Dragon possesses elements of both Jackson and US pop diva Lady Gaga.

G-Dragon released his debut solo album Heartbreaker in 2009 and it went on to become one of the most successful albums of the year, garnering sales of over 200,000 copies and winning the Mnet Asian Music Awards for Album Of The Year.

Last year, G-Dragon released the EP One Of A Kind, and the hit singles from his latest offering already include One Of A Kind, Crayon and That XX.

As of last month, the mini-album had sold over 225,000 copies, making it the highest-selling solo album in Korea since Heartbreaker.

Last month, G-Dragon also became the first Korean male celebrity to be the spokesman for, get this, red lipstick.

Cosmetics brand The Saem recently revealed a print advertisement featuring G-Dragon wearing a pair of sunglasses and holding a red lipstick in his mouth which went viral online as fans were enraptured by his audacity.

G-Dragon wore the lipstick, causing the media to remark on his "beautiful and charismatic red lips".

He is also a huge draw in Korea's push for tourism. On the CNN Travel website, he's listed as one of the 50 reasons why Seoul is the world's greatest city. No other K-popster made the list.

In a nod to G-Dragon's versatility as an entertainer, he wasn't even honoured for his contribution to the music scene. Instead, he was lauded for his edgy fashion sense. The CNN Travel website stated: "Since debuting in 2006, the audacious leader of Big Bang has thrilled Seoul fashionistas with fierce fashion - Alexander McQueen silk skull scarves, wedge loafers, skirts!

"Best fashion moment: head-to-toe vintage Chanel - complete with a retro headband - and Kanye West Louis Vuitton neon high tops for the group's concert Big Show 2008."

G-Dragon himself hasn't rested on his laurels when it comes to promoting his country.

When visiting Korea, his fans can stay at what has been affectionately termed the "G-Dragon hotel" that the superstar built. Last year, G-Dragon financed the Dolce Vita Pension. Only those aged 19 and older are allowed in the 11-suite boutique hotel.

Said hotel manager Eun Mae Huh in an interview with the Korean media last November: "G-Dragon came to stay with (Big Bang member) Taeyang recently, and (K-pop girl group) 2NE1 is also supposed to come soon."

The Crayon room, which is named after a track on the EP One Of A Kind, is reserved for the star and his friends only.

Become a fan on Facebook