He's performed with Madonna, has been on the Today show, and is scheduled to perform
at a "Christmas in Washington" concert this weekend that President Obama plans
to attend with his family.
But now South Korean rapper Psy -- chubby, goofy Psy, who
horse-danced his way into so many American hearts this past year -- is now being
dogged by some surprisingly vitriolic anti-U.S. comments from his past.
In 2004, Psy, whose real name is Park Jae-sang, took part in
a live performance of Korean band N.E.X.T.'s song "Dear
American" in which he rapped:
Kill those f****** Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi
Kill those f****** Yankees who ordered them to torture
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughter-in-law and fathers
Kill them all slowly and painfully
The rap came two years after PSY had participated in a
protest concert against the presence of 37,000 troops in South Korea. During
the concert, Psy lifted
a miniature American tank above his head and smashed it on stage, to cheers
from the audience.
As many have noted, it's important to remember the context
here: the protest concert came shortly after two middle school girls in Korea were killed
after they were struck by an armored vehicle operated by U.S. soldiers (the
soldiers were later acquitted of charges related to their deaths). And the 2004 rap came in the wake of the
beheading death of a Korean missionary in Iraq, after South Korea rejected the
kidnappers' demands that it withdraw its troops.
Korea is an American ally, but has long been ambivalent
about the presence of U.S. troops on its soil; many have also questioned the
presence of South Korean troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Psy -- whose Gangnam Style video passed Justin Bieber's
"Baby" last month to become the most-viewed video ever on Youtube -- has yet to
Update -- Psy has responded in a statement: "As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States
and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the
sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and
democracy in my country and around the world. The song I was featured in -
eight years ago - was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq
and the killing of two Korean schoolgirls that was part of the overall antiwar
sentiment shared by others around the world at that time. While I'm grateful
for the freedom to express one's self, I've learned there are limits to what
language is appropriate and I'm deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be
interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused by those words."
have been honored to perform in front of American soldiers in recent months -
including an appearance on the Jay Leno show specifically for them- and I
hope they and all Americans can accept my apology. While it's important that we
express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate
language I used to do so. In my music, I try to give people a release, a reason
to smile. I have learned that thru music, our universal language we can all
come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my
Mike Coppola/Getty Images