PSY and MC Hammer: Bridging the generationsBy Joseph R. Atilano
‘Gangnam style’ is proving to have the kind of “staying power” that is not synonymous to a song being relegated as a one-hit wonder. And I use the term “one-hit wonder” loosely here. Because given the fact how much of a global impact it has made in pop-culture, that single song has reached new heights.
Who was to guess that it would go down in history as one of the greatest dance-anthems in pop-music history and surely of the last decade! Who was to know that out of nowhere, PSY would turn the attention of most people—even the young once and now jaded, would you believe– from their pop-idols and boy bands to K-pop! All because of how ridiculously catchy and addictive his song has become to dance to.
PSY made not only his presence felt in numerous platforms from social media to television, radio etc. It goes on and on. No supposed one-hit- wonder can last this long. But PSY has and he continues to perform in various shows—the most recent being at the AMA. It is unusual that the song’s popularity hasn’t waned by now.
Others wonder how long this can last. ‘Gangnam style’ has become a song that defies the odds. But each time there is a feeling that the song is on “its final run”… it just gets only stronger and maintains its upward momentum. Take for example, just recently, when PSY performed as the closing act in the AMA, people assumed that it would be a” one more time” performance of his song. But in the middle of the song, he pauses and brings out a surprise performer in the form of MC Hammer.
For those who can’t remember who MC Hammer was, you probably weren’t born yet or you were too young to know who he is. This guy had three big international hits during his run from the late 80’s to early 90’s with ‘U Can’t Touch This’ and ‘2 Legit 2 Quit’ with the latter being the song used for the mash-up song in the performance of PSY.
PSY’s ‘Gangnam style’ and MC Hammer’s ‘2 Legit 2 Quit’ just blended perfectly, plus the wordage almost complemented each other, as though the songs were a perfect mix for each other. I was surprised how sharp and on cue MC hammer still was. The guy is already 50 years old and yet he still dances better than a lot of the current artists now. He likewise gave the 34-year old PSY a run for his money when it came to dancing. What a flashback moment to the 90’s! Within a day after their performance together, almost all the music videos of MC Hammer in Youtube had a jump in views and the latest comments were referencing to their performance at the AMA. This might just lead to a re-launch the career of MC Hammer but if it doesn’t happen, that performance with PSY, at least, made him relevant and talked about again.
It wasn’t only his songs that he was known for because MC Hammer not only popularized his dancing but also his choice of wardrobe, such as the genie pants. Everything really is a cycle. Before you know it, people will be wearing those genie pants again and digging up their old records of artists from the 90’s! PSY bringing in MC Hammer also showed that he knows how to acknowledge and look back to past artists who were able to release mega dance hits.
Just as PSY has done today, ‘Gangnam style’ is not only a mega dance hit– it has hit a new stratosphere of popularity, so to speak. But if we compare ‘2 Legit 2 Quit’ and ‘Gangnam style’ in terms of popularity, they are quite far apart from the other. Given all the records broken by ‘Gangnam style’, who is to say though that if songs like ‘2 Legit 2 Quit’ had also been released at this time with social media already around that it would not have garnered as much views is hard to debate and to rule out because for one, the 90’s was such a changing decade.
Everything in pop-culture is almost backwards today and it was literally a different time and place. The same can be said for ‘Gangnam style’– if this song had been released in the 90’s, would it have made such a global impact and been as phenomenal as it is now? That would be hard to debate and to rule out.
But if ‘2 Legit 2 Quit’ can be heard once again and danced to after two decades, definitely ‘Gangnam style’ will still be remembered later on and danced to in as many years from now. Let’s see, by then PSY would be 54 years old because he is 34 years old now. Definitely, there would be many people who would still pay to see that. I think that there are songs that can define a career.
Some artists hate being tied in or connected solely to one song but by observation and watching his interviews, PSY seems perfectly fine with it. He doesn’t mind being associated to one song only because this single song has made his name known worldwide. He got to meet people he thought he could never meet both in the music industry and in entertainment. But what I look forward to the most is not how long ‘Gangnam style’ will stay popular and relevant but if PSY can follow up this release with another mega dance hit. If he can manage to pull off another winner here, then that would be the best in terms in proving he is no one-hit wonder! If he can do this, then nobody will ever doubt him again. In the meantime ‘Gangnam style’ is here to stay!
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