Imagine Justin Timberlake's boy bander-turned-credible musician pedigree and Kanye West's genre-bending artistic daredevilry, and you'll get an idea of G-Dragon's standing in K-pop — though his reach is expanding rapidly beyond Asia.
Juggling equally successful careers as a solo artist and frontman of the group Big Bang, whose 2012 world tour drew 800,000 fans to sold-out shows on four continents, the rapper, songwriter and producer says, “Before I was physically there in different countries to meet my fans in person, I didn’t really realize how famous I was.”
The 25-year-old, ne Kwon Ji Yong, also has attracted peer admirers, working with Diplo,Baauer, Boys Noize, Sky Ferreira and MissyElliott on his 2013 solo album Coup d’Etat, a boldmashup of hip-hop, EDM, punk rock and Korean folk that charted on the Billboard 200.
G-Dragon, who has recorded a yet-unreleased song with Justin Bieber, says there is only one artist on his wish list: “Pharrell [Williams]! Ever since I got into writing hip-hop music, he’s been my only living idol.”
For his part, the newly minted Oscar nominee Pharrell Williams has tweeted that GD is an “amazing talent.”