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He’s a virtuoso on the best instrument.
There’s an ongoing, heated fan debate over whether the most important artist in Korean pop is supergroup BTS or supergroup EXO. What if it’s neither? What if the defining K-pop personality of 2018 is a guy who covers hit songs using a rubber chicken as an instrument?
Big Marvel, praised by fans as “chicken oppa” (“chicken daddy,” roughly), broke out at the end of 2017 with his viral cover of girl group Twice’s hit “Heart Shaker.” Here’s the original Twice video, which has nearly 100 million views:
And here’s the chicken oppa version, sitting at 1.5 million:
Big Marvel has also covered BTS:
And, most recently, he added backup dancers to his chicken cover of a Blackpink song. They’re amazing, and Chicken Oppa’s production values are clearly getting better as he gets more popular:
His most popular videos, though, tend to be covers of U.S. pop hits. Camila Cabello just went on Ellen and has been pegged as the hottest new pop star of 2018. I’m not saying it’s because Big Marvel covered her song “Havana” and got 16 million views, but it sure couldn’t have hurt:
Commenters have praised him effusively, calling him “the Mozart of our age,” “just so majestic,” and “the best BTS Cover Artist in Korea and the world.” It’s hard to argue with a guy who plays a rubber chicken.
Don’t call him a one-trick pony, either. He also plays the rubber pig:
He’s not just a cover artist, either, although that’s where he’s found the most success. Here’s the music video for his original song “The End,” which is pretty damn good too.
Chicken oppa is, as they say in K-pop fandom, our new “bias.” Long may he reign.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.