Video: BIGBANG, “Bad Boy”

Judging by the growing alignment of American big media forces around K-pop—within the last two months, The Wonder Girls starred in a Teen Nick TV-movie, Interscope signees Girls Generation performed on Letterman and Swizz Beatz signed a broad production deal with a South Korean television company—2012 seems predestined to be the year the ever-growing genre breaks into the Western mainstream. BIGBANG have been twice name-checked by Swizz as potential Chris Brown collaborators, and on “Bad Boy,” the newest music video from their Alive mini-album, they make the most compelling case yet for why a rising K-pop profile in America is a well-deserved and wonderful thing.

The song opens with a very Slick Rick-sounding, A-yo, Choice, drop it on me, spoken by the group’s leader, G-Dragon, an androgynous man with a delicate, Skrillex-inspired hairpiece and a patched motorcycle jacket with a teal muppet-fur back. Despite spending 6 years being trained for stardom by his record label before debuting with BIGBANG, G-Dragon was indicted by Seoul police last October for smoking marijuana. Either way, he’s totally seamless here. “Bad Boy” is exquisite, with roots in the airiest of hip-hop/R&B summer crossover. Though it’s sung 90 percent in subtly processed Korean, carefully placed English phrases explain the song succinctly—Sorry, I’m a bad boyyou’re a good girl—and provide crucial hooks for at-home singalong. “Bad Boy” floats the way your hand does riding currents outside the car window, in and out of the sun without seemingly any effort.

But perhaps most importantly—and definitely most surprisingly—the music video for “Bad Boy” was filmed in Williamsburg, down by the Marcy Ave JMZ subway entrance. Half the charm of K-pop is that it’s preciously and unabashedly manufactured, but there’s something seriously compelling and refreshingly unforced about weaving dances around Brooklyn subway steps. In our interview last week, Swizz Beatz said, “It feels like Korea is in your backyard, the way the internet makes things.” It’s already past that point. BIGBANG really is in our backyard. They’re on the ground and they’re walking the turf, and for four breezy minutes they’re absolutely killing it.

POSTED March 5, 2012 12:45PM IN MUSIC VIDEO Comments (81) TAGS: , , , ,




  1. Duncan Cooper says:

    Fart, especially, and Aren – As this post’s author, I feel like I should at least respond to your theory about my supposedly link-baiting opportunism. I wrote about “Bad Boy” because I honestly think it’s a great song. And as a person interested in the weirder workings of pop, I think K-pop’s emergence in America is the number one most compelling industry phenomenon of 2012. It’s something that I and most readers are totally new to and might reasonably be curious about, and maybe mostly because it brings up complicated shit that’s fun to talk about. FADER aspires to be “the definitive voice of emerging music,” and for me that means covering Big Bang when they make good songs. I’d rather work through an opinion about it than plug my ears.

    I’ve even written explicitly about the difficulty of covering Asian music on The FADER before:

  2. Dae says:

    I mess with BIGBANG since 2010, and if you don’t, I feel pity for you. And as far as one of the commenters from the above that stated BB aren’t taking seriously by the actual “underground hip hop” world of South Korea. Well, the main rapper in the band originates from the underground. The leader has collaborated with others outside of the “Korean pop” labeled world. Both have sickass flow and no one can deny that. Diplo created a beat for their duo work, in the song, Knock Out. GD&TOP.

    So I don’t think you’re allowed to discuss and or debate anything BIGBANG-related unless you actually know them well enough to formulate an opinion. YG Entertainment basically set the standards for all hip-hop music during the time that the genre exploded overseas. Jinusean, 1tym.. act like you know, people. It always annoy me that people put BIGBANG underneath this label, similar to SM Entertainment artists. They write their own music (most artists in the United States can’t even say this), they are in control of their own career and style.

  3. Aren says:

    Thanks for the reply Ducan. I slipped. It’s weird to me. I love Fader and I enjoy K-Pop, I jumped the gun at being accusatory. I’ll just say it’s “weird”, which is NOT a bad thing. It’s good weird.

    I just read the other piece you linked and I’d submit the difficulty of writing about K-Pop on Fader is similar to the difficulty your audience will have taking it – even for people like me who are predisposed to linking it. Hence my comments. More power to you for trying.

    I’m curious about the convergence of indie media simultaneously revving up their K-Pop engines, preparing for the American invasion, when this stuff has been around for a while. Just as I wonder about how the music will translate here, I wonder how press coverage will give as well.

    Anyway, NOT SAYING YOU’RE LINK BAITING, but!, where the hell are all these K-pop fans coming from? This article has to be on some Big Bang message board, amirite?

  4. Grizzly Mane says:

    It’s no surprise that fans are up in here singing about weed issues or Big Bang’s authenticity. I like the music, but K-Pop fans have to be some of the worst people on the planet.

  5. yourmagsucks says:

    Standards…The Fader no longer has them. This is an awful song and the MV would give anyone with a modicum of taste secondhand embarassment. It’s tragic that people listen to this drudge.

  6. Maddie says:

    K-pop isn’t a genre though! We just tend to think of it that way because it’s all music from “over there”.

  7. chare pop says:

    1. Skrillex did not invent that hairstyle.
    2. Chris Brown’s era is over. Unless they want to kill their career early.
    3. What does Marijuana have to do with your review?

    Try rewriting this without making the most irrelevant things relevant.

  8. junijen says:

    BIGBANG is the BEST…

    BIGBANG’s existence in this world is actually more meaningful than the haters who could not even reach half of what these boys already achieved. the fruit of their hardwork and perseverance. and they have the gal to insult these boys? pooh! take a look at yourself in the mirror please and ask yourself first if you think you DO have the right to bash them..?

    LOL @ the haters who couldn’t help but peek and read news about bigbang or kpop. mehehehe

  9. Aren – I’m for sure betting money this is linked on some kpop message board/forum with a million trollers (and could give a very good guess as to which one it is)

    Grizzly – agreed, some Kpop fans are freaking crazy, and what shocks/puzzles me the most (as a Korean) is that some of these fans aren’t even Korean. I don’t know what the implications of this statement are but there.

    As for the GD/weed thing, personally I didn’t give a rat’s ass about it and am surprised to discover that there people are “emotionally tied” to the incident. However, a lot of Kpop fans are damn young, and to them their favourite idol whom they ruthlessly follow getting caught doing something “illegal/bad” and is thus seen in a” bad light” to the public is a personal offense to these young fans. Perhaps they are trying to console themselves/convince things are okay by posting defensive “G-Dragon is innocent” type comments on articles such as these.

    Like, why didn’t anyone mention Daesung (blond guy) instead of GD? He’s had way more of a rough time recently. The reason is obvious: because deep inside, people know GD did weed for real, not in some accident. No one’s defending Daesung for what he was accused of, simply because we all know he’s innocent.

    I could say more on more important matters (such as the YG vs K-hiphop thing) but I’ll stop here.

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  12. hipployta says:

    Big Bang’s styling for this album is highly questionable but the music is outstanding.

    Bad Boy and Blue are songs I can easily play for non kpop fans and the live version of Fantastic Baby gets people going.

    It’s odd to mention GD’s conviction for marijuana which was so minute that it was discovered by testing his hair follicle and suspended. The Muppet fur comment is valid LOL .

    If you want to name odd folks name checking Big Bang and YG they are the advertisers for Ludacris’ Soul headphones in Korea and they won the MTV EMA Worldwide Act award.

    They were #6 for pop and #8 overall on the iTunes charts when their new album dropped and #6 overall on iTunes for their last album. First Asian group to break the top ten overall.

    People kill me when they refer to Big Bang as fake. They write, produce, and choreograph their music and all have solo careers. What is YOUR fave doing? YG was the standard bearer for Hip Hop in Korean and while Jungle and indie labels may seem to carry it more now they are still there as the GD&TOP due displayed. GD started rapping at 6 and got signed by his label at 13 so what’s your definition of real?

  13. To Fart says:

    @Fart, I recommend you to listen to all BB’s songs from 2006. Even if I don’t understand lyrics I listen to Opera, Spanish music, Japanes music, French music. Without even understanding lyrics, listening to melody, rythm, rhyme only moved me.! isn’t it amazing? Music is Music.No prejudice

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  16. can says:

    @Aren– The k-pop fans are probably coming from Twitter. The producer of this song linked to this article. I was on his twitter myself (he’s similar to me according to twitterland) out of boredom and found the link. Hope that helps.
    I think that there will always be debate on k-pop. Those who don’t care and those who care too much. I do like Big Bang though. At first I was very indifferent but I came to like them more and more (mostly because a close friend of mine is a huge fan). I’m not gonna say I’m super into k-pop I only really listen to like 3-4 bands (Big Bang, 2NE1,f(x),and sometimes 2PM) but it is becoming more and more popular. It’s always cool listening to music from other places though. Even if you don’t like k-pop they have a pretty sweet underground hip-hop and indie scene ove there.

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  19. Taste says:

    Well the styling in this music video might be horrendous, to the point that it’s awkward to watch. But you can’t deny that the song makes your head nod in symphony….. And that chorus is stuck in my head.

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  22. Lauren says:

    I don’t think it matters whether you people like this or not. The target audience are not readers of this website. It’ll be the little young tweeny boppers, high schoolers who need to jam out to something with their friends, and college kids who have popular radio tracks blasting out of their Mac computers at parties. So, I guess this article is irrelevant since it doesn’t actually apply here.

  23. ryan says:

    ^ Good music is relevant to people of all ages.
    And the fact is, there article IS written here and maybe it’s here so that people who wouldn’t have heard these artists otherwise at least give it a listen. Isn’t that essentially one of the the goals of music journalism anyways?

  24. ryan says:

    *THE article

  25. Jean says:

    I’m a Korean reader of The Fader. I’ve never been a Kpop fan, but I think this band is worth watching.

  26. Lily says:

    I’m not going to get into any of the debate going on over here about Big Bang’s credentials as artists…
    But I will ask, what does G-Dragon’s marijuana incident have to do with their music? Especially when that incident was, in reality, so minute that it wouldn’t really have even made headlines had not the subject of the incident been GD. (He smoked one joint, on accident.) A review on the band’s music should be just… well, on the band’s music.

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  29. Adrianne says:

    Yes, this was posted on Big Bang fan pages, which is probably where almost all of this traffic came from. It’s a big deal when they get mentioned on foreign websites/news outlets. I live in Korea, and after many months of resisting, I’ve fallen into K-pop. HARD. I love Big Bang. Believe me, this has gotten me a lot of flack from both people here in Korea (foreigners and Koreans alike) and from friends&family back home “in the West.” But Big Bang do put out quality music, regardless of whether or not it’s ‘K-pop.’ A lot of the pop music that comes out here is garbage but I’m very excited that these boys are getting recognition and I’m excited to see how the rest of the world responds. Maybe because I’m exposed to it 24/7, I don’t see the “weird” quite as much anymore, but I hope that that (and the language barrier) won’t deter people from exploring the genre and embracing it. I mean, we all adapted to Lady Gaga didn’t we? Could it possibly be worse than the Biebs??

    PS Korea’s drug laws are INSANE. It was literally a “scandal” over here, which is ridiculous.

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