K-Pop Singer G Dragon Finishes Two Years Of Military Service; Plans Return To Music

Photo: Instagram
Who Is G Dragon? New Details On Big Bang Singer And His Military Service

The King of K-Pop is out of the army and headed back to the music industry.

Korean superstar G Dragon has been serving in the South Korean army for the past two years but this weekend he was officially discharged from service. He says he is ready to get back to work on music. Perhaps best known for his work with the boy band Big Bang, G Dragon has also released two successful solo albums in Korea and another in Japan. He has been performing since he was only six years old and is considered by some to be a musical genius. 

His military service was mandated by law — all South Korean men are required to serve — and he hasn't released any music or performed during that time. This weekend, he was met by hundreds of fans who were waiting for him outside the base where he was finalizing his discharge papers. He promised them that he would be getting back to work producing new music. 

Who is G Dragon? Read on for all the details. 

1. G Dragon's early years

Kwon Kwon Ji-yong was born in Seoul in 1988. By the age of six, he was performing with a group called Little Roo'Ra. After the group lost their record contract, he was discouraged and didn't want to keep trying to sing. His mother had him enter a talent show a couple of years later, where he as discovered by SM Entertainment. They signed him and he trained for several years to be part of the K-Pop industry. He chose his stage name because "Ji" is pronounced like "G", and Yong is Korean for "dragon." 

After learning to rap and releasing a few early singles as a duo with Dong Young-bae, the label decided to put him in a boy band. They created Big Bang with him and five other young men. Big Bang debuted in 2006 and quickly rose to become a fan favorite. 

2. His solo career

In addition to being a K-pop megastar, G Dragon has released two solo albums that were received with wide acclaim. He kept growing artistically and became known as a fashion icon as well as a musician, even as he grew beyond the usual image of K-Pop. When he turned 30 in 2018, critics predicted that wouldn't cut his career short, despite the emphasis on youth the industry usually has. “Turning 30 would normally affect a K-pop idol’s career, as the scene is obsessed with looks, but G-Dragon is a musical genius, not just a pretty singing and dancing product,” says Kim Dae-oh, a Korean cultural critic.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by G-DRAGON BIGBANG 권지용 (@gdragon_offical) on Oct 26, 2019 at 4:33pm PDT

Fans call him the King of K-Pop.

3. Big Bang Scandals

The pop star lifestyle comes with plenty of temptation and the members of BigBang are not immune, reports the South China Post. G Dragon and his bandmate T.O.P have both been arrested on drug charges. T.O.P was fined and sentenced to a 10-month jail term, though it was suspended for two years. Instead, he did public service work in Seoul. G Dragon was caught smoking weed in a club in Korea, which is illegal. He said he thought it was just a regular cigarette and he got off with a warning. 

One other band member was in serious trouble and eventually had to leave the band and retire entirely from the entertainment industry. Senguri, a BigBang vocalist was accused of providing prostitutes to potential investors in a club called Burning Sun. The investigation into the scandal is ongoing, according to the South China Post

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4. Mandatory military service

When G Dragon headed off to join the military it wasn't an act of patriotism. All South Korean men are required to do a two-year term of service in the military. The country is still technically at war with its neighbor North Korea and has been since 1950. The military remains in a state of constant readiness in case the armistice that drew an end to active hostilities is broken. 

G Dragon's service has been scrutinized more carefully than most people due to his fame. Normally, men are eligible for promotion after 10 months but G Dragon didn't get the boost in rank. That may have been due to an ankle injury that landed him in the hospital for more than 40 days. His treatment in the hospital also raised eyebrows. The South China Post notes that he got a private room, instead of recuperating in a ward like typical soldiers. There was also a rumor that he could have been sent back to duty much sooner than he actually was. 

RELATED: Kiss Me TWICE? Reps For Momo And Kim Heechul Deny The K-Pop Stars Are An Item — But Is It Possible?

5. What does the future hold?

Music critics in South Korea were optimistic that his career would only be better after doing his military service. "I think the military service will only enrich his life experience and give his work more depth. I look forward to more great things from him when he ends service in 2020,” says cultural critic Kim Dae-oh

"G-Dragon is at a different level, in a league of his own. G-Dragon has not only young screaming fans like many other idols but is also popular among older music-loving aficionados, Oh Ing-yu, chairman and founder of the World Association of Hallyu Studies and a professor at Korea University, said to the South China Post. "I think his music will get even better and that he will become more active in other areas such as art and film. Age won’t be an issue, at least not for someone of his level.”

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6. "Thank you for waiting"

G Dragon's discharge from the military has been much-awaited by his fans. Yesterday, a crowd of about 500 people from all over Asia was waiting when he exited the South Korean Army’s Ground Operations Command in Yongin, southeast of Seoul “Thank you for waiting,” he said to his fans, still wearing his dark brown military uniform and beret. “I will return to my job and faithful to my work.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Catie (@bts_bigbang_fan1) on Oct 28, 2019 at 1:11pm PDT

G Dragon met with fans.

After his remarks, he hopped into a van and headed to another event where 3000 fans were expected to attend, according to Reuters.

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.