G-Dragon is the undisputed king of K-pop. He is the ultimate multi-talented K-pop icon. At 34, he has a career spanning 20+ years, with a musical and artistic legacy that has inspired two generations. He is a celebrity among celebrities, especially in K-pop.
This blog includes a brief biography and his contributions to the industry, making him worthy of the title of King of K-pop.
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G-Dragon’s brief Biography
G-Dragon, also known as Kwon Ji-Yong, GD, or PEACEMINUSONE, was born in Seoul on August 18, 1988. He started in entertainment through MBC’s children’s program, Bbo Bbo Bbo Bbo. Later, GD was discovered by Lee Soo-Man on a family trip and became an apprentice at SM Entertainment at age eight. Five years later, after studying dance, he left the company.
GD developed an interest in rap and hip-hop thanks to a friend and the Wu-Tang Clan. Under People Crew’s guidance, he joined the album 2001 South Korea Hip Hop Flex, making him the youngest rapper to debut in the early 2000s. This collaboration led to recognition by Sean of YG Entertainment’s hip-hop duo, Jinusean, who recommended him to CEO Yang Hyun-sik. He ultimately agreed to sign a contract with YG Entertainment as an apprentice.
At YG, he dedicated his time to practicing and improving his musical and rapping skills. He cleaned the practice room and studio, collected water bottles, and served as a backup dancer for his superiors. At that time, he came across his bandmate and closest friend, Dong Young-bae, also known as Taeyang on the international stage.
After more than ten years as an apprentice, he finally had his long-awaited debut on August 19, 2006, as the leader and rapper of the internationally renowned K-pop group BIG BANG.
THE MUSICAL GENIUS
G-Dragon had his musical debut at 13 in the album South Korea Hip Hop Flex (2001). The album’s producer praised the kid’s rap skills and strong understanding of hip hop, noting his advanced lyrics. Throughout this time, he remained an elementary school student.
GD’s talent as a musician quickly became evident after debuting with Big Bang, with the release of LIES, LAST FAREWELL, and HARU HARU HARU. These were the three defining songs for the success of the Big Bang group, which became mega hits and became anthems of the second generation of K-pop. He wrote and produced them, at a time when idols didn’t typically write and compose their own songs. As a result, GD gained a reputation and earned the title “Idol Producer,” adding to his existing label as a “Rapper Idol,” solidifying his status as a musician rather than just an idol. It’s important to note that back then, idols were not seen as musicians. Instead, there was a stigma that they were manufactured and controlled by companies, without any involvement in the music-making process, so they were considered mere performers.
G-Dragon was declared the “Idol with the most promising future” and emerged as the year’s top composer, surpassing esteemed producers like Seo Taeji, JYP, and Brave Brothers. The Korean Times recognized him as a “genius singer-songwriter” at a later time.
G-Dragon is in the studio.
GD’s music is known for its distinct, memorable, and youthful melodies. Spin magazine described his music as daring by K-pop standards and wildly innovative by any standards. Although his main genre is hip-hop, he has also explored pop, trot, EDM, dance-pop, R&B, and rock, and is said to be a master of any genre. His songs stand out with their unique sound and lyrics, as he skillfully addresses diverse topics and showcases meticulous production and clever wordplay. He has become the benchmark in K-pop, inspiring many idols to pursue their own music.
His performance now encompasses a wide range of styles. GD’s stage presence is known for being commanding, highly expressive, and irrepressible. Every time he performs, he releases an explosive supernova energy that outshines everyone. His singing style is also distinct, and you can instantly recognize him by just one note. Furthermore, his voice displays great versatility, effortlessly transitioning from rapping to singing in falsetto. He captures the charm of K-pop perfectly.
G-Dragon performs in the MADE WORLD TOUR.
GD made the street look popular in Korea, along with many other styles that are still trending today. He has a style that is edgy, elegant, and dramatic. he has a tendency to wear baggy clothes, tweed jackets with pearls, long necklaces, rings, earrings, and piercings. he incorporates various accessories and a limitless array of colors. He fearlessly embraces designs, textures, and prints, blurring the line between women’s and men’s clothing. He embodies the non-conforming expression of diverse masculinity through his clothing.
His androgynous appearance and experimental style are well-known. In 2017, Vogue magazine highlighted his androgynous appearance as a challenge to traditional beauty standards. His fashion is described as “quirky and experimental” by Rushali Pawar (2015) of the International Business Times, while T” Likewise, Monica Kim of Vogue magazine admired his “uncanny knack for a larger-than-life style that’s still cool” (2016). According to Joe Coscarelli of The New York Times, he is considered a style icon and is often more eccentric than Lady Gaga (2017). He has covered numerous issues of W, Dazed, Hypebeast, Elle, and Vogue, and featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, and other Asian magazines.
Furthermore, GD was the trendsetter for experimenting with various hair colors and styles, leading to idols constantly reinventing themselves with new looks. Their performances have consistently surpassed expectations, setting trends and raising the bar for comebacks. As a result, GD became the standard for appearance in K-pop.
G-dragon Airport Fashion
He became the founder of “Airport fashion” due to his noticed style. When he walked to the terminal to board the plane, it resembled a fashion runway. After that, the idols started showcasing their unique style every time they were about to board a plane, with the press eagerly awaiting.
He is nicknamed the “Sold-out man” because everything he wears sells out instantly. Additionally, he became the inaugural Asian muse for the luxury brand GIVENCHY and the first Asian invited to CHANEL Haute Couture in Paris, France. Interestingly, he is also the official ambassador for CHANEL, personally selected by Karl Lagerfeld. As a result, GD is now credited for bringing Asian celebrities to international fashion shows and influencing the success of luxury brands in Korea.
The price of G-Dragon’s “Valentine’s Day” Air Force 1 doubled after he announced online that he had received them.
From the beginning, his stage name reflects his creative talents. G-Dragon is a stage name created by combining “Ji” (which sounds like “G” in English) from Kwon Ji-Yong’s real name with “Yong” (meaning “dragon” in Korean). G-Dragon is the outcome when you put everything together and translate it into English.
It is also known as Peaceminusone, a name derived from GD. He uses the “peace” symbol to represent the acronym of his name, but removes the right dash, resulting in “Peace-minus-one” at the end. Another meaning of this name is a clock that strikes 8 o’clock, his lucky and favorite number, forming GD.
G-Dragon is an art enthusiast as well. Painting and designing is his passion. Among the highlights, he has designed is the successful collaboration with Nike with the “AF1 Pa” and KWONDO. Also, regarding his artwork, there was an exhibition called “Untitled 2017” at Dopeness Art Lab in Taipei. The exhibition showcased seven original paintings created by G-Dragon before his military enlistment. These paintings were printed on acrylic frames and made available for sale.
G-Dragon and Nike
G-Dragon, already acknowledged as a prominent figure in Korean music and fashion, also initiated a groundbreaking project named Peaceminusone. The art brand embodies his hope for peace, aiming to turn imagination into reality. Peaceminusone acts, essentially, as a functional exte’s image. The man’s style and aesthetic have gained him tens of millions of fans in Asia and a growing fan base in the US.
The brand’s growth led to its presence at Paris Fashion Week 2017, where Peaceminusone held a pop-up store and exhibition with +82, showcasing clothing, accessories, sculptures, and video projections. Additionally, a legendary bash featuring Bella Hadid and Haider Ackermann.
G-Dragon’s artistic experimentation goes beyond fashion and painting, encompassing his videos and music concepts. They frequently push the limits of the imaginable and defy our understanding of art. An example of this is the music video for COUP D’ETAT from 2013, a video with a singular and attractive aesthetic that is full of metaphorical images referrin’s life.
If there’s any doubt about his accomplishments and influence on Korean and global pop culture, here are some fun facts that prove GD’s uniqueness.
He holds the record for being the sole artist to win “album of the year” at the 2009 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) as a solo artist with his debut Heartbreaker, the largest male debut in K-pop history.
He has achieved success in his musical career as a member of BIG BANG, in the sub-units GD & TOP and GD X TAEYANG, as a solo artist, and as a producer for other groups.
He was the initial K-pop artist to team up with a Western artist. In 2009, FloRida was invited to the Heartbreaker remix.
Forbes named him the top person under 30 in Asian sports and entertainment in 2016.
He has written and co-written 23 number-one songs on the Gaon Digital Chart, many of which he has also co-produced.
The G-Dragon name has over 180 songs listed by the Korea Music Copyright Association.
In 2006, he created the first K-pop lightstick, known as Bang Bong. Its design, featuring a golden crown, gained popularity and influenced other groups.
His live performances set the standard, as evident in the MAMA where his powerful attitude always stole the show.
G-Dragon stunned everyone at MAMA 2012 with an unexpected rap during the opening, imitating his unique style and welcoming new rappers. The rap was just the beginning; the biggest surprise came later when G-Dragon, who had arrived at the awards ceremony with blonde hair, took the stage with fiery red hair for his presentation with BIG BANG.
G-Dragon’s exposure of Mnet and MAMA at the 2014 awards gala was iconic. Just before Good Boy’s performance, G-Dragon came on stage and delivered a short but impactful diss, addressing the way prizes are distributed.
He launched an art exhibition in 2015 called Peaceminusone: Beyond the Stage, showcasing 200 artworks by twelve global artists, including Michael Scoggins, Sophie Clements, and James Clar. GD spent almost a year combining modern art and pop culture for the exhibition at the Seoul Museum of Art from June 6 to August 23, 2015.
G-Dragon has been called the “King of K-Pop” by various media publications, including Rolling Stone, Dazed, and Vo” That’s because his artistry, multi-hyphenate career, popularity, and level of influence have all been compared to that of American singer Michael Jackson.
His title as “King of K-Pop” is undeniable, as he has truly earned it. Something that should not be forgotten is that he has been in the industry for longer than outside of it, and his legacy is not going to disappear, because he has already become a living legend.