Gangnam Style is a 2012 Korean Pop single sung by the South Korean rapper Psy. It is widely praised worldwide for its humor, catchy rhythm as well as Psy's unusual dance moves, unofficially called "The Horse Dance". The song was released on July 15, 2012, when it debuted at number one on the Gaon Chart. The music video has been viewed over 1,700,000,000 as of August 2013, making it YouTube's most watched K-Pop video, and the most viewed video ever, beating Justin Bieber's "Baby". It is the first Youtube video ver to reach a billion views.



"Gangnam Style" is a Korean language colloquialism that refers to a luxurious lifestyle associated with the Gangnamdistrict, an affluent area of Seoul, where people are trendy, hip and exude a certain "swag". The term was listed in TIME's weekly vocabulary list as a manner associated with lavish lifestyles in Seoul’s Gangnam district. The song is about "the perfect girlfriend who knows when to be refined and when to get wild."


In a CNN interview, PSY has compared Gangnam to Beverly Hills, California, "Gangnam is a territory in Seoul, Korea. I describe it as noble at the daytime and going crazy at the night time. I compare ladies to the territory. So — noble at the daytime, going crazy at the night time — and the lyric says I am the right guy for the lady who is like that."

The song is a satire of conspicuous consumption in South Korea – such satire is unusual in South Korean music, especially in K-Pop, which is known for bubblegum pop. The lyrics are by Psy, music by Psy and Yoo Gun-hyung, and it was arranged by Yoo Gun-hyung, who is a well-known producer in South Korea and also collaborated with Psy in the past. In K-Pop, it is unusual for an artist to write his own music and choreograph his own video as Psy does.


About a month after its initial release, on August 17, Gangnam Styleofficially won first-place in the Korean music television programme Music Bank on KBS 2TV, scoring a total of 18,601 points. By early August, the international media began to take notice of it, and it became a worldwide hit. On August 4, Deborah Netburn of The Los Angeles Times wrote that "Gangnam Style" is "unstoppable" and it is "taking over the world". During the last week of August, Billboard Magazine reported that Psy jumped up by 8 spots on the weekly Billboard Social 50. He had beaten Taylor Swift to take the number one position for 3 weeks; a feat that has so far only been achieved by Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Adele and Rihanna. On September 15, "Gangnam Style" became the first K-Pop song to take the number 1 position on the iTunes chart. On September 17, it was nominated for Best Video at the upcoming 2012 MTV Europe Music Awards that will be held in Frankfurt, Germany.

PSY Gangnam Style

"Gangnam Style" has managed to catch the attention of international media outlets such as the CBC and CNN, the latter of which describes it as "very different and comedic." Other broadcasting networks, popular magazines and newspapers which have reported on "Gangnam Style" include Reuters, The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, The Herald Sun, The Atlantic, The Vancouver Observer, The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, USA Today, the Bleacher Report, Bloomberg, ESPN, Le Point, Libération Le Nouvel Observateur, BBC, VH1, M6 TV, and the Financial Times.

On December 21st, 2012, around 15:50 P.M, Gangnam Style officially reached 1 billion views, making it the first ever video on YouTube to ever get that goal. A dancing PSY icon was shown near the view count.

Social InfluenceEdit

One of the main factors that have led to "Gangnam Style's" receiving worldwide media attention is its popularity among notable celebrities. According to The Wall Street Journal, T-Pain was among the first to have "sent it (Gangnam Style) to the stratosphere" when he tweeted about it on July 29. It was then picked up by Neetzan Zimmerman from the social blog Gawker, who asked "Did this underground Hip Hop artist from South Korea just release the Best Music Video of the Year?" on July 30.

The list of celebrities who have mentioned it include: LMFAO, Ryan Seacrest, Darren Criss, Tom Cruise, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and many more.


The music video for the song has gone viral and is considered by some to be an internet meme.

Domestically, Ju-min Park of Reuters mentioned that "a few of South Korea's normally staid presidential candidates are imitating Psy's moves in an appeal to voters". The Korea Tourism Organization even launched an ‘One day Gangnam tour’ that begins with some ‘gangnam styling’ at a beauty salon, shopping at the Apgujeong & Cheongdam boutiques, a quick luxury coffee and brunch, followed by the casino and clubbing.

On September 3, Scooter Braun made a public accouncement that was later uploaded onto YouTube, saying that he and Psy have decided to "make some history together. [To] be the first Korean artist to break a big record in the United States." On September 4, it was then confirmed that Psy was signed to Braun's Schoolboy Records.


The rapidly growing popularity and international recognition of the video has spawned many user generated videos, including reaction videos and parodies. Some of the videos have even received international media recognition.
Kiyoteru-Fansub-PSY-Gangnam-Style.mp4 snapshot 02.37 2012.09.17 01.53.33

Hyuna, who appears in Gangnam Style also appears in a separate music video titled, Oppa Is Just My Style. Mallika Rao of The Huffington Post wrote that the video was "apparently retrofitted here to work from a woman's point of view, but the main difference we're spotting is less invisible horse riding and more sultry side-eyeing."

Check out the gallery of parodies/videos here.

Music VideoEdit




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