It has been a long time coming, G Dragon is finally back with his new solo track; One Of A Kind.
The concept for this song and video is pretty simple; ‘One Of A Kind’ is a hip hop track that seems to pay homage to BIGBANG’s beginnings and their influences. Throughout the video there is an incredibly Western feel to it (the prison line up and street style clothing, etc) which might attract the attention of potential fans that are perhaps unsure whether they would enjoy Korean music. With our own pop culture being saturated with American artists and Americanised imagery, this would be a familiar and recognisable concept for potential fans.
That being said, the uniquely G Dragon style that is presented through the many outfits he wears in this video is more than likely going to raise a few eyebrows. Even though most of the outfits are hip hop inspired, I think it is safe to say that they are probably not UK-friendly. As K-pop fans we are used to being exposed to some of the most outrageous and inspired styles that are worn by idols, and as such we don’t bat an eyelash at neon-bright hair, odd patterns and excessive makeup. G Dragon is notorious for his style and uncompromising vision for his music and videos, but I think a culmination of neon yellow dreadlocks, knee-high socks, and a tennis outfit are just going to be seen as strange by British people. We are used to this kind of vivid and slightly obnoxious styling from female pop artists, such as Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga, but from popular male artists we look for a more conventional style. He rocks a tiger head backpack, an ornate boxing helmet, and a bear-style hat among other styles, and even though I enjoyed everything he wears, I don’t think it will be appreciated by everyone. Not even mentioning his many hair styles throughout the video; plaits, dreadlocks, cornrows, slicked down and just plain messy. I think most of these hairstyles will just be seen as odd by many potential listeners.
It was interesting to see a more racially diverse music video, as there were a few points in the video where G Dragon is interacting with people of other ethnicities. Again, this is something that will probably appeal to potential fans as they might find that since their own ethnicity is being represented in the video, then the music might be worth listening to.
The animals used in the video were quite interesting as they are dangerous and wild animals, but the bear and tiger shown are still babies, they’re both cubs. I guess it’s symbolic that even though they are wild animals, they aren’t threatening…if anything, they’re just cute. On a more personal note, the bear having a collar around its neck made me a little uncomfortable; it’s too close to looking like a dancing bear for me to be able to appreciate it and this might be an issue raised by others, but I don’t doubt that it will look pretty awesome to other people. They are definitely unusual choices to put in a music video, as most people choose pedigree dogs or even snakes, but this perhaps is just another way that G Dragon is showing his uniqueness.
Overall, this video has an almost ‘bragging’ theme running through it as he wears extravagant clothing and large amounts of jewellery. At more than one point throughout the video he is clearly showing what prestige labels he is wearing (Chanel, etc), which really reinforces that he is one of a kind.
(Was anyone else creeped out by that big Barbie doll?)
UK Potential: 2.5/5
I really enjoy the dance for this song, as it looks a little complex but after watching it a few times it’s actually fairly simple yet completely effective. Towards the beginning of the video there is one female dancer stood next to him and this was visually interesting. It then changes to either a classic line up of him being surrounded by all females or all male dancers at any one time.
The movements are pretty rapid and edgy looking which matches perfectly with the song, and because of the jerky movements to the parts of the choreography shown in the video, it looks fairly easy to replicate. With this being a song that sounds like it would be played in a club, a dance that’s easy to copy will help it to appeal to more people as they will know roughly how to dance to it.
UK Potential: 4/5
‘One Of A Kind’ is a hip hop track with an upbeat rhythm, which as I mentioned before, feels like he is nodding his head to his musical roots. I’m not usually impressed by K-pop artists taking a hip hop approach to music as it can be done badly, but this track has the amazing balance of conventional hip hop to G Dragon’s unique style, which gives it an incredibly edgy and distinctive sound.
Most people that I know are convinced that Asian people can’t rap, and ‘One Of A Kind’ will be an amazing aide to proving them wrong. This song is a clear showcase of G Dragon’s extraordinary rapping skills that should be able to impress British fans even if they don’t know what he’s saying. His voice is perhaps slightly higher than most rappers but that makes it distinctive, and when paired with his awesome rap speed, I think he will be able to generate a lot of respect.
One thing I have to say is that I’ve always found G Dragon’s English to sound a little slurred, almost like he’s trying to speak with slang to keep the lyrics cool but it comes out fairly accented and as such the effect of the slang is ruined. This song has fairly minimal English, and any English that is used is mostly limited to a few words at a time, ‘I’m wild and young, do it just for fun’ ‘Young and rich’, etc. The first line after the introduction is ‘Hello ladies, my name is me and choice’ which doesn’t really make any sense, but that is all I can really find fault in grammar-wise, so it could have been worse. Overall, I think the English used was well thought and very effective, which makes a change from some K-pop songs having random English lyrics thrown in for the sake of it.
UK Potential: 4/5
Highlight: – Is it too fangirl-like to admit that I love that Taeyang was also in this video? I loved that it felt like homage to their song ‘La La La’, as the style was the same.
Overall UK Potential: 10.5/15
I really think that this song could appeal to a large amount of people here in the UK, but my main concern is the over the top style that G Dragon wears in this video. Maybe I’m just being over-critical, but I think it could really turn people off his music, for example think of how Nicki Minaj has people who love her or hate her. People seem to either like both her style and music, or they hate both, and I think that G Dragon might meet a similar reception if he were to introduce this song into the UK market.
Despite all that, I think the song would actually appeal to a lot of people, and I would hope that it would do well.
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