K-pop tie-ups set to take off this year

K-pop tie-ups set to take off this year
Psy (left) and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler (Psy’s official Twitter account)

SEOUL - In October last year, Psy revealed that he will be jamming with American rock legend Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.

In November, Big Bang lead singer G-Dragon announced that he had recorded a song with teen heart-throb Justin Bieber, to be released this year.

In August, G-Dragon's second solo album, Coup D'etat, also featured a number of collaborative tracks with international artists like American hip-hop star Missy Elliott.

"K-pop superstar G-Dragon has the power to do whatever he wants, so it was nice to see him bring Missy Elliott out of unofficial retirement," said lifestyle website Complex at the time.

Compared to many K-pop collaborative projects that have been released in the past few years, this is one of the few that has made a dent in the international scene.

Through the single, G-Dragon practically lifted Missy Elliott out of retirement and back onto the stage, giving her a new status in South Korea while still managing to draw attention from K-pop lovers in the United States.

Collaborations between K-pop artists and international superstars have become a slowly growing trend that has been years in the making.

However, despite the many efforts to organise these collaborations, most of the past releases did not have the breakout power that many had hoped.

In 2011, superstar girl group Girls' Generation released an English remix of the group's hit single The Boys, featuring international rap superstar Snoop Dogg - an artist who couldn't be more conceptually different from the nine-member girl group - in their attempt to break into the American music market.

However, despite the inclusion of English lyrics and an American hip-hop superstar, the single made little impact in both the US and South Korea, and the English version of the track failed to even enter the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

Of all the K-pop collaborations, one of the most unexpected match-ups had to be the one between K-pop trio JYJ, hip-hop megastar Kanye West and Grammy Award-winning songwriter Malik Yusef.

In 2010, JYJ released the group's all-English debut studio album, The Beginning, which included the single Ayyy Girl, featuring West and Yusef, and the track Empty, which was produced by famous American record producer Rodney Jerkins.

In a Billboard interview, JYJ's Jinsu said: "When we met West and Jerkins, we realised that we had a similar goal. For them, it was to take their music to the East, while for us, we wanted to take our music to a wider audience in the US."

However, despite the international powerhouse West showing off his rapping skills on Ayyy Girl, the track gained only moderate attention in South Korea, peaking at No. 19 on the Gaon Charts, while having little to no impact in the US.

In the past, K-pop artists have struggled to pull off international collaborations regardless of the big names they were able to land.

Although K-pop fans seem to be only slightly impressed with the featuring of famous artists, 2014 still looks to be trending towards more international collaborations, especially with the release of Psy's first global album, which he has stated will feature a number of popular music artists.


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