The K-pop icon became the highest-charting Korean pop act on the Billboard Hot 100 with the track peaking at Number Two. Since then, only BTS have gone on to best his record, hitting Number One six times since 2020.
Speaking at a press conference for his new album ‘PSY 9th’ – which includes the single ‘That That’, featuring and produced by BTS’ Suga – Psy reflected on the success of ‘Gangnam Style’ almost a decade ago. “It was so exhausting at the time of its success [because] the song got popular so it wasn’t a ‘healthy hit’,” he said, per fan translations.
“There were even people who thought my name was ‘Gangnam Style’,” he explained of the track’s meme status in the West. “Some people overseas who would say ‘Hi, Gangnam Style’.”
Discussing the success that other Korean artists have experienced in the 10 years since ‘Gangnam Style’ was released, Psy said acts like BTS and BLACKPINK have achieved the “opposite” of his viral fame because they have gained “permanence and persistence”.
“There are cases where the song increases in popularity and cases when the [artist] increases in popularity, and longevity is that much longer in the latter,” he said.
He also noted that even BTS and BLACKPINK still face barriers in the West, particularly in terms of radio play. “The wall of American radio is very high because the songs are in a foreign language,” he explained. “Our biggest weapon is YouTube.”
Singling out BTS, the star described the band as having “achieved unfulfilled dreams” – such as scoring a Number One hit in the US. “If they continue like this, though they’re not doing music for the sake of raising national prestige, I think they’re giving [Korea] a lot of proud moments,” Psy added. “I feel very proud that I had a role in being that trigger. BTS have thanked me for that part several times, so I’m proud of it.”
In a recent interview discussing his involvement with Psy’s new single ‘That That’, BTS’ Suga revealed he wasn’t initially aware how much he would be involved with the release. “I seriously didn’t expect to be dancing with Psy,” he said. “Ah… I thought I was only writing the song.”
Psy, meanwhile, explained: “At the beginning, we met because he wanted to produce my music. Then he ended up featuring on the track. Then he ended up learning the intense choreo[graphy]. Then he ended up starring in the music video. Step by step, he got involved more and more deeply.”