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Jay Park Shows Off His Tattoos

"If I was never a b-boy, if I was never a dancer, I would have never become a singer." Jay Park breaks down all of his tattoos. From the compass on his neck to the passion and pleasure ambigram tattoo on his ribs, join the "Why" singer as he tells the stories behind his ink.

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Director: Graham Corrigan
Director of Photography: Grant Bell
Editor: Marcus Niehaus
Guest: Jay Park
Producer: Sam Dennis
Line Producer: Jen Santos
Production Manager: Andressa Pelachi; Kevin Balash
Talent Booker: Paige Garbarini
Camera Operator: Josh Andersen
Sound Mixer: Paul Cornett
Production Assistant: Phillip Arliss; Lauren Boucher
Post Production Supervisor: Rachael Knight
Post Production Coordinator: Ian Bryant
Supervising Editor: Rob Lombardi
Assistant Editor: Fynn Lithgow

Released on 12/12/2023


What's good, GQ, this is Jay Park.

I have my shirt off again and this is my tattoo tour.

Let's get it.

[chill hip-hop music]

My mom did not, and still doesn't like,

the tattoos that I have. [laughs]

Just because like, I think Korean people,

they relate tattoos to kind of like

gangsters and the mob people.

And so it's like they kind of correlate that together.

Like tattoo means crime, it's bad.

Like, so for me, since I do have a lot of tattoos

and I'm still very active, you know,

I always have to cover it up with stickers

or wear, you know, like long sleeve.

Since I have it on my fingers as well,

it's like I have to cut little stickers

and put it on each individual finger.

So yeah, it's a process, so, you know,

hopefully one day they'll allow it on TV in Korea

and hopefully I kind of open the doors for the newer guys.

[chill hip-hop music]

At first when I started, I got like little ones.

The first one is on the back of my ear,

the AOM one, that's the first one.

Then I got lettering here and there,

and then I think I got addicted to it.

'Cause then you start seeing blank spaces and you're like,

That looks so weird, like what am I... like,

and then you just start filling it up and then, yeah.

And then just eventually it turned into a sleeve.

H1ghr Music is a label that I founded in 2017.

And I was shooting a video

with this rapper named $tupid Young.

You know, that we were shooting at a tattoo shop

and they were like,

Yo, you wanna get a tattoo while you're filming?

I was like, Shit, alright, let's do it.

The healing didn't go too well,

so that's why it's like a little bit scarred.

[chill hip-hop music]

So I wanted to get a neck tattoo.

I wanted like to get one right here,

but then I feel like that would be just too hardcore

and like, my mom would disown me.

And so I got one right here.

And it's like a compass, like, you know,

trying to find direction in life,

but also it's like the Mariner's logo.

So also I got these stars for no reason and that's where,

back when people were just getting hella stars

and I was like, Yo, Lil Wayne has a star,

so let me get a star.

So I got these stars for no reason.

And then I was like,

Let me cover it up with something more meaningful.

And so that's why I got the compass is,

you know, finding direction in life.

And then I also have the JWalkerz on the upper spine.

And Jwalkerz is like the name of like, my fans.

'Cause I'm Jay Park.

Yeah, word play, I know, genius, I know.

I have a big angel with the rings wrapping around my skull.

And also it's like, you could cover it up

'cause your hair grows.

So I was like, Oh, that's very convenient.

And so yeah, I got a big head tattoo.

That was definitely the most painful tattoo, yeah.

Everywhere else was like, you know,

I could just be on my phone and get it,

drink Henny and get it, you know,

shoot a music video while getting it.

This one, I was like...

The whole, like, for six hours I was just like... [groans]

At least it was just one session.

So that was helpful.

And I was a little hungover so it was like,

that didn't help at all.

So the hands, it's like, you know,

heart of a Lion [speaks Korean].

You know what that is, yeah?

You're nodding your head. [laughs]

Yeah, so yeah, I have this lion.

And then King Life, it's like,

you know, I take care of a lot of people.

It's not like necessarily like,

Yo, like I'm a king, I'm above all of you.

It's more like, Yo, I try my best

to take care of my people.

And that's kind of what that mentality is.

The good life, you know,

you only have one life so make sure it's good.

New Breed is the first album that I made.

At that time I was a lot younger

and it's like, Yo, yeah, I'm the shit, I'm a new breed.

It's like, you know, that type of ignorant mindset. [laughs]

[chill hip-hop music]

So this is just like indicating I guess my love for music.

And you know, I'm a singer-songwriter,

so I have a mic 'cause I spend a lot of time

singing into a mic.

On this side you have Benjamin Franklin,

which is on the hundred dollar bill.

And then you have loyalty.

So for me it's kind of like loyalty over money.

And that's another mentality or like philosophy that I have.

I got like, piece by piece

and then it was at this time where it's like,

Why does it look weird?

Because there's like, just to me, at that time,

empty space on my arm looked weird.

Like, What do I need to do?

And so I looked at a bunch of like other rappers

and other, you know, actors and models,

like how they did it.

And so they had like a lot of like filler in between,

like shading in between.

And so I just asked my tattoo artist, I was like,

Yo, like let's try to make it like

some like cloud or smoke or....

And then, so I just got a bunch of shading.

This is like a caricature of myself.

And then on the left you have Seattle.

This is where I was born and raised.

And then you have Korea.

This is where I'm, you know,

my blood and my DNA and where I live now.

Then you have a heart and inside I think it says

Family, friends and music if I'm not mistaken.

So Art of Movement is my B-boy crew.

And you know, I still identify as a B-boy dancer.

It's where I basically got my group of friends from,

basically what started off my career.

Because if I was never a B-boy, if I was never a dancer,

I would've never became a singer basically.

And that's why, you know, I have B-boy life, Hip-hop,

you know, very grateful to the hip-hop culture.

Just because it gave me everything I have right now.

So that's kind of like a salute,

an appreciation for hip-hop.

And then on here you got God's son

and then you got Strength.

Strength and faith, just 'cause I do believe in God

and you have to have faith in order to have hope.

And hope gives you strength to, you know,

get through whatever you're going through

or to achieve whatever you need to achieve.

Find that motivation.

And then, yeah, this is kind of like another one

where it's like I was young,

Yo like the world is in my hands,

like a ignorant I'm the shit type of mentality.

So yeah, I'm just like, the world in the palm of my hands.

And this is all art from a artist named Mina Quan.

Tan-Li did the tattoos, but the actual like art

came from Mina Quan, this one and this one.

And then, yeah, this is another one where it's like,

I was a very big 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air' fan

when I was growing up.

And so it was like Fresh Prince of S

and that could be Seoul or Seattle.

And then on the back of my arm right here,

it says Live free, if I'm not mistaken.

I haven't seen the tattoo in a while

'cause it's on the back of my arm.

Does it say Live free?

The lion inside, it's like my family's birth dates

and then I think it says Always come proper.

That's kind of like another, like little philosophy one.

Like Yeah, need to hustle

and grind and always come proper,

like that type of mentality.

And the lion is like that mentality,

like heart of a lion, you know, I have to stay strong

because I am accountable for a lot of people.

I run two companies, I have a lot of employed,

my family, friends,

I do take care of or support a lot of people.

And so I can't be weak mentally.

That's something like, Yo, you, you got this.

Like, even though I feel overwhelmed sometimes

I have to remind myself like,

You got this, like you...

You know, give myself confidence, self boost.

[chill hip-hop music]

Oh yeah, so I would say it's like Passion

and then upside down, it says Pleasure.

Yeah, you didn't know that, right?

Yeah, passion and pleasure, yeah.

She was like, Yo, like there's this thing

where if you read it one way it could say something else

and I was like, Oh shit, that sounds cool.

You have to have passion,

but you also have to enjoy things sometimes.

On this side, See no evil, speak no evil, do no evil.

Right, and it's like angels.

Like I said, I do believe in God,

so I don't like evil, and I don't, you know,

I think a lot of people don't like evil,

but like there's a lot of evil things in this world.

It's very easy to get engulfed in that type of stuff.

So, you know, I try to like remind myself,

like to try to stay away from that type of shit.

Everything I get is,

except for the piece from Bok, which is on my leg,

I wanted to get the AOMG,

which is another label that I founded.

And then he finished so quickly he was like,

I got another hour, like, you wanna do something?

So I was like, Shit, okay.

And then so he did the other side of my leg

and he just free-styled that one.

So besides that one, everything else is just

things that I wanted to get.

Yeah, so it's AOMG, Artists only money getters

or like Above Ordinary Music Group.

It stems from AOM Art of Movement, my b-boy crew.

And then I turned it into a label.

So he finished this in like an hour and a half

and then he was like, Yo, you want something else?

And I was like, Alright, cool.

And so he did this.

So it was like a rose, feathers, another mic,

some notes and a eye, you know.

I didn't ask particularly like why he did the eye,

but you know, I was like, Yo!

He just free-styled this as well in an hour and a half.

So that just goes to show how talented he is.

He did it like breathing almost.

I have another piece, I got it like seven, eight years ago.

It's like an angel and I haven't finished it yet.

So it's been unfinished for like seven, eight years

and I don't think I'll ever finish it, to be honest.

Well, I'm not getting a lot of tattoos anymore,

but I love my ink and I still, you know,

am on TV so it's all good.

[chill music]

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