MSN Music Blog - Reverb

PSY's anti-American rap comes back to haunt

Weekend Christmas concert for president is still on

By Mark C. Brown Dec 7, 2012 2:17PM

My, this is awkward.

PSY, this year’s instant celebrity with “Gangnam Style,” has been all over the internet, television and iPods.

What no one has been listening to up till now is “Dear American,” a 2004 protest song in which PSY joins others in protesting American policies in Korea and Iraq. According to sources including the Washington Post and New York Magazine, the rap translates to:

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


Now my skills in Korean rap are non-existent, but running the original Korean text through several online translators do consistently bring up Yankees (spelled Yang Ke) and the “killing slowly and painfully” part comes through pretty clear.

This news comes at a very inconvenient time, given PSY is due to perform for President Obama and others at a Christmas concert in Washington D.C. on Sunday. According to the Post a petition has already been started to remove him from the bill. Some websites have tried to explain the changing nature of Korean attitudes toward the United States, but given the political atmosphere of the past few months subtleties and varying translations aren't going to win the day.

If anyone out there is fluent in Korean, here’s the song. Let us know what you hear.

UPDATE: PSY owns up to his words and issues an apology. He is quoted in Rolling Stone saying:

"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," said Psy in a statement. "The song  – from eight years ago – was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two innocent Korean civilians 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 anyone by those words.

"I 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 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 though music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology."

Via the Associated Press, the president indicated he will attend Sunday's concert, which is customary for the office.


Dec 13, 2012 2:58AM
What you didn't know about Psy and Gangnam Style:
Dec 10, 2012 11:57AM

i'm losing my faith in humanity...and Americans more so... get so angry over something as petty as this is disheartening...all those extreme comments from any of you realize how frightening you sound?...




...if we keep this kind of attitude, humanity is going to self-destruct...

Dec 10, 2012 10:15AM
A rapper who has songs with inflammatory lyrics?  That NEVER happens in America.  Oh, wait I mean it ALWAYS happens in America.  In fact ALL rap (that's not done by Will Smith) has inflammatory lyrics.  Ok, so he didn't like what the US was doing in Iraq, not a lot of people did, and this Psy,-guy waxed hyperbolic for shock value.  A common tactic.

Over sensitive, over patriotic people will get a bunch in their red white and blue panties but they'll get over it.  Just let them cry it out.

Dec 10, 2012 10:13AM

Who ever commented on my comment: 1. I do my homework.

                                                                         2. Learn to speak proper English!

Dec 10, 2012 1:07AM
Come on you can't hold him to that.  It was very emotional for him at the time.  I think that most people bashing him now have said something in their past that they regret.
Dec 9, 2012 11:49PM

Pride goeth before a fall, in this case off an imaginary toy horse.

That look, trying to look "bad", comes off silly in the photo.  
Dec 9, 2012 6:17PM
He made the statement years ago, kill the mothers and daughters slowly and painfully, at the time he made these remarks he was not a citizen, as far as I am concerned he should have been sent back to Korea, maybe even North Korea to one of the camps.  I seen Korea briefly, and I said to the commander, well I better not repeat that at this time, I continued to Okinawa for the next year.  So I do not like what he said then or even now , us Yankees , as  you put it ,especially this Yankee would like to see you get the he__  out of this country,  you talk about torture, what about all the Yanks that were tortured during WW!!, fingers cut off one at a time, ears and other parts cut out or off to get them to talk.  You know how many Yanks gave their lives for this country.  I could go on, but I think you get my drift. So why don't you go back to Korea, cause as far as I am concerned you are not an American Citizen and never will be, just my opinion of course.
Dec 9, 2012 5:38PM
Come on people, eight years ago. Young, naive, and perhaps a little into himself. But now grown, mature, and has written a song with dance moves even the elders like me try to do. Let this go. We would have never heard about this if someone wasn't out to destroy his career. Also we must ask ourselves, "Will It". Come out with another hit like this one, I'll be hopping around like a cowboy again at age 100, if I live that long. I think that is the best apology I have ever heard, and I believe him.
Dec 9, 2012 3:06PM
I think this guy is a jerk in the first place and as a recent sworn in US Citizen I still cannot understand why this fat little korean with his gangnam style became a hit. But more than anything else I object to our president to have him come and perform his stupid act.
Dec 8, 2012 8:01PM
This is so very anti american and this queer little joke of a man should be deported, put on our no fly list and never be allowed in this country ever!! I just do not understand how our president can allow this punk to perform in front of him. Why is this not considered terrorism? :( :(  :( He should be held accountable.
Dec 8, 2012 1:15AM
Ok so why is this even an issue geezzz. this guy has done nothing wrong...all he dude was trying to do was to spread awareness of the war back then in the most peaceful way....Music...and i don't think he should apologise for that I mean if it were America in war @ that time trust me someone would have done the same thing...that is write a song about the war and condemn whoever they felt was responsible...I f Obama says he cannot perform anymore because of this then i will be utterly surprised....I believe Americans are better than such petty issues.
Dec 7, 2012 9:43PM
Finally15 minutes are coming to an END!
Dec 7, 2012 9:39PM
AWW what ever he is so forgiven!!! I have said plenty of things I really did not mean because my emotions were high and I no longer care at the moment. Anyways the way our countries values is going down the drain we have bigger things to worry about.
Dec 7, 2012 9:03PM
Really sick of Anti American slogans and songs. Yeah, America has it's share of problems, it's not perfect and it's made plenty of mistakes throughout it's history. But what country hasn't? Just seems so common anymore that so many hate America, until they need us. I love this place, in spite of all our problems, I love America and it's funny how so many not born on our soil, do also. 
This PSY thing, he knew what he as singing and knew there would be a bit of backlash from it, so why did he do it then? Especially in light of the fact he'll perform in front of our President..., capital gains perhaps? don't know. I think if I were president, I'd reject his performance. It's just to disrespectful to those who love this land, and have fought for it over the years. America welcomes freedom of speech of course, but there's a line. Speak against us diplomatically and we'll welcome your opinions, disrespect us though with your harsh vulgar comments, and you simply have rubbed us the wrong way. Then be ready for the backlash, we have pride too you know......
Dec 7, 2012 8:50PM
Obviously, this must be referring to Abu Ghraib.  Some people are taking it as an attack on Americans?  Those two lines are clearing insulting the soldiers of Abu Ghraib.  It's more of a direct attack on those soldiers who caused the torture of the Iraqi captives.  Are you calling those people  American?  Are you defending their name?  Do any of you realize what they did?  Psy doesn't deserve any form of special treatment, but we have to realize what those soldiers in Abu Ghraib did.  
If you claim that Psy is now apologizing because he became rich from us.  Well no!   We promoted the hell out of that song....  All those Youtube parodies, flash mobs, you're saying we had nothing to do with?  Psy didn't intentionally release the song for Americans... Get over yourselves.  
Maybe all we need is a wake up call and understand that some people hate Americans...  Can we let go of our ego?

Dec 7, 2012 8:23PM
i wouldn't apologize for a song protesting torture. And if you support the horrifying sexual and brutal torture of those at Abu Ghraib, CIA black sites, and Guantanamo Bay, then you deserve to die just like those lyrics say.Nothing, and I mean nothing can justify committing those atrocities upon anyone, even prisoners of war, and that's what the real situation was. It will be a long time, if ever, that I could be proud of America again, let alone American soldiers. And they're still committing atrocities to this day.
Dec 7, 2012 8:21PM
Okay, what's with all you 'gung-ho' racists attempting to find a reason to just bring this guy down?

You're violating your own First Amendment by thinking of this guy as a terrorist and wishing to brand him in said fashion. Do you even try to find that line by which the reaction was formed? I doubt he woke up one day and said, "I will write a RACIST song today! How about that?" There was a reaction. I'll give you a hint: EVERYONE jumped the American Hate Train. In that case, you can say that we should just nuke South Korea 'because we have every right to'. In that case, Vietnam, China, South Korea, Iran, and if it's inexcusable, Great Britain, they ALL have the right to nuke us. Only because there was something stained in our past that we can't patch up. Hey, thanks to us, the American Revolution was born! I think they should really get on our backs for that if we're allowed to hate PSY.

And before any of you try to contest me, why don't I just point out how you NEVER gave this guy a chance to speak. You simply let it in through one ear, out the other, and let the hate ring in your heads like a disease? Congratulations. You have ignorance. And the fact that you're allowing it to spread still amazes me.
Dec 7, 2012 8:17PM







Dec 7, 2012 8:14PM
This guy comes from from S. Korea, a country we have 25,000 sevice members in to help protect them from the unstable North. Freedom of speech is fine, but the President also has freedom of choice, and this should be grounds enough to say go play somewhere else.  
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