Watch K-Pop Star CL and Diplo Perform Live at the Style Icon Awards in South Korea

It's an easy-to-argue point that Korean pop music creates the ideal fusion between American pop tastes and electronic dance music. That being said, ne

Not Available Lead
Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

Not Available Lead

It's an easy-to-argue point that Korean pop music creates the ideal fusion between American pop tastes and electronic dance music. That being said, news that CL (of female Korean pop quartet 2NE1 fame)–alongside Diplo–performing a mix of her material, her group's material, covering Diplo's "Revolution" (in English) and dropping fresh English bars over her (and fellow k-pop star G-Dragon's) collaboration with Skrillex for "Dirty Vibe" at South Korea's Style Icon Awards on Tuesday evening was "a moment." It showcases either another amazing flash in the pan, or proof that a Korean invasion of American pop could make the British invasion look like a minor insurrection.

News of South Korean pop music giant YG Entertainment wanting in on the now EDM-adoring American pop market is old news. YG's already partnered with American super-manager Scooter Braun (of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande fame) to handle their artists stateside. As well, Psy's electro pop hits "Gangnam Style" and "Gentleman" have been viewed over three billion combined times on YouTube (with a hilarious clip featuring Snoop Dogg for "Hangover" gaining traction, too), making the Korean veteran performer a minor American pop celebrity. 2013 saw fellow YG Entertainment superstar (and member of quintet BIGBANG) G-Dragon's album Coup D'Etat feature an eponymous lead single produced by Baauer and Diplo, but also album track "Niliria" feature guest rapping from none other than Missy Elliott.

2015, though? Well, if CL's performance at Korea's Style Icon Awards on Tuesday evening is any indication, YG Entertainment's banking on the belief that in an era of disruption, Korean pop artists are the world's most disruptive of the lot, and thus well able to dominate in America. CL's 2013 solo single "The Baddest Female" kicks things off. Does it sound familiar? Well, that's likely the case because it was flipped by DAD favorites Saint and G-Buck for their 2014 single "Gijabae." That's followed up with CL's solo rap from single "MTBD" (from 2NE1's 2014 album CRUSH) blended with the track for Katy B and Iggy Azalea moombahton collaboration "Light as a Feather." From there, in perfectly unaccented English–a possible stumbling point in the sustainable crossover of G-Dragon and Psy in America–CL sings Canadian vocalist Kai's part in Diplo's single "Revolution," and ends the proceedings by debuting an English language rap over her Skrillex collaboration, "Dirty Vibe."

Overall, it's a stunning performance that leads to more questions than answers. Yes, Diplo is working with CL on her 2015-scheduled American debut. Can we expect to see the "Revolution" cover and the newer version "Dirty Vibe" there? What about Baauer, whose work with AlunaGeorge certainly has hints of his earlier work in American-trending k-pop? As well, if YG Entertainment is executive producing said album (and they have pushed back possible G-Dragon and Psy American albums for this), they certainly have the budget to spend for A-list American-favored producers. The idea of Diplo, Skrillex, Jack U, Baauer and, well, anyone that's hot right now in the urban-to-EDM marketplace being involved must be considered. This, more than any other recording, should be the one to watch the most closely for 2015, for many, literally based from watching this performance.


Latest in Music