Have you been jamming to the super catchy Any Song on Spotify? Released on January 13 this year, the infectious tune by South Korean rapper Zico not only took South Korea by storm, but it also racked up huge streaming numbers worldwide. In fact, it even charted in at ninth place on Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart for the week of February 15.
A big part of the song’s success overseas can be attributed to the #AnySongChallenge. It started when Zico posted videoclips of him dancing to the opening section of “Any Song” together with Hwasa from K-pop girl group MAMAMOO and singer Chungha on his Instagram and TikTok pages.
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The dance cover challenge soon went viral and garnered millions of views. It inspired fellow Korean singers like Mino from K-pop group WINNER and fans to upload their own versions of the dance on social media.
So, who is the man behind the song? Here are five things to know about Zico.
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Zico, whose real name is Woo Ji Ho, made his debut with K-pop idol hip-hop group, Block B in 2011 as their leader and rapper. He also produced their debut mini-album Welcome To The Block.
Their music video for their debut single “Freeze” was deemed to be too sexy for Korean television and was banned by the Commission of Youth Protection. However, with their unique concept, the seven-member group went on to become one of the most well-known K-pop groups. Their popular singles include “Toy”, “Very Good” and “Shall We Dance”, which were all produced by Zico.
In 2018, Zico did not renew his contract and left the group’s company Seven Seasons, but the company has stated that it would still be discussing group activities with all seven members in the future. Zico also mentioned that he still keeps in touch with his members.
After leaving Seven Seasons, Zico established his own record label named KOZ Entertainment in 2019. KOZ stands for King of the Zungle, and it signifies his desire to work towards being the king of the jungle that is the music industry.
Besides promoting his own work, Zico also wishes to discover and develop new talent through his label. Currently, KOZ Entertainment has signed former SoundCloud artist, singer-songwriter Dvwn as their first artist.
Despite his success as a K-pop idol, Zico is still respected in the South Korean underground hip-hop scene. He has appeared as a judge on popular rap competition TV show Show Me The Money for two seasons together with veteran hip-hop artists like Tablo, Jinusean, Dynamic Duo and Tiger JK.
He is also part of the six-member R&B hip-hop crew FANXY CHILD, which includes R&B singers Crush and Dean. As testament to the group’s star power, tickets to their first concert in 2019 sold out within 1 minute.
2018 was a great year for Zico. His first solo concert in Seoul in 2018 sold out almost immediately after tickets went on sale and he then went on to perform in Japan, Europe, and America.
He also attended the Inter-Korean Summit held in Pyongyang, where he performed his funky song Artist in front of a North Korean audience which included North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. Although he was initially worried that the audience would find the hip-hop genre foreign, he says that they reacted well to his performance and even got them to put their hands up in the air.
As a producer and rapper, Zico has worked with numerous top artists ranging from veteran singers to K-pop idols and hip-hop artists. They include IU, Hyuna, Hyolyn, f(x), Mino, Zion. T, Yoon Jong Shin and Taeyang.
He also co-wrote Psy’s hit single “I Luv It”, which featured actor Lee Byung Hun in the music video. Most recently, he produced Super Junior’s latest single “2YA2YAO”.