Controversy: 'Gangnam Style' singer Psy's anti-American past

Chris Gayomali
The Week

Long before he galloped with Ellen DeGeneres, the South Korean superstar harbored angry sentiments about the U.S. military

South Korean pop star and invisible-horse jockey Psy, 34, became a household name over the summer, thanks to his absurdly catchy dance-number "Gangnam Style." The single is poised to make him upwards of $8 million alone, mostly from YouTube views (900 million and counting) and downloads from iTunes and other music services. Psy's meteoric rise to the top of western music charts is a first for a singer of Asian descent. 

But long before he was doing big things like closing out MTV awards shows with MC Hammer, and dancing with Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show, a 24-year-old Psy had much angrier things to sing about. According to, during a 2002 concert, the singer took to the stage to protest the presence of 37,000 American troops in South Korea, reportedly smashing a miniature "American tank" to condemn the death of two Korean school girls run over by U.S. forces

Two years later, as part of a band called N.E.X.T., Psy got up in front of an audience to rap about the United States' presence in Iraq following the beheading of a Korean missionary. In a protest song called "Dear American," Psy sang:

Kill those fucking Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives
Kill those fucking Yankees who ordered them to torture
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers
Kill them all slowly and painfully

Conservative outlets have already pounced on the "Gangnam Style" singer's apparently anti-American past, with many wondering why Psy's disgruntled early days haven't gotten as much attention as his much more upbeat YouTube video. 

And yet he's hardly the first artist — American or otherwise — to venomously condemn the actions of the U.S. military through his early music.

A perhaps too-brief sampling:

Outkast - B.O.B. (2000)

Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name (1993)

SEE ALSO: 2013 Grammy nominations: 5 surprising snubs

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son (1969)

Bob Dylan - Masters of War (1963)

SEE ALSO: Dave Brubeck dies at 91: Listen to 3 of his most iconic jazz hits

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