The news that TOP’s contract with the company has ended makes fans regret considering the past 16 years.
On the morning of February 7th, BIGBANG’s fandom received two mixed news at the same time. One is that BIGBANG’s hiatus has come to an end. The group will release a new song in the spring of 2022. The recording process has been completed and they are preparing to shoot the MV.
The second news is that TOP’s contract with YG Entertainment has ended. The company said the male rapper is still a part of BIGBANG and is always ready for future activities with the group. TOP decided to leave because he wanted to challenge himself on a new path as a solo artist and an entrepreneur.
After Seungri got caught up in the law, the BIGBANG lineup now has only 4 members. Fans of the YG boy group have been waiting for a long time for this day when the group confirms their comeback. However, the fandom’s joy is unfulfilling because TOP has left the family he has been with for more than 16 years. Of course, this is not the end. YG also confirmed that TOP will always be with BIGBANG, but the VIP fandom is still sad, especially when thinking about the 16-year long journey that the male rapper has had with YG.
The eldest member of the BIGBANG empire
TOP’s real name is Choi Seunghyun, born on November 4th, 1987. He debuted as the lead rapper of BIGBANG in August 2006 and is also the oldest member. Although only turning 19 at the time of BIGBANG’s debut, TOP has quickly become a sought-after phenomenon thanks to his handsome appearance and impressive height.
If it is said that if G-Dragon is the soul representing BIGBANG’s music, then TOP is the most prominent color among the 5 members. Before joining YG, he was a famous rapper in the underground world.
In 2003, TOP (when he was still using the stage name Tempo) won the KBS rap contest called Rap Battle. One of the famous songs performed by him is Buckwild – an impressive song that has been noticed by rappers in the industry. After the contest, TOP reconnected with his old friend Kwon Jiyoung (G-Dragon) and dreamed of becoming a rapper at YG. His chance to join YG is also very interesting. Initially, TOP was rejected by Yang Hyun Suk because of his chubby body. Not giving up, TOP lost 20kg and returned to audition after 6 months and was signed with YG.
The male rapper has strengths in hip hop, mixing with R&B, dance, electro and auto-tune. The eldest member of BIGBANG can rap diss the whole world, but sometimes he still wears a suit and sings love songs, conveying lyrical melodies with the desire to soothe the audience’s soul. Not stopping at the limit of “idol”, TOP has been praised by the press as a true artist, bringing Korean music everywhere.
Succeeding with GD&T.OP and solo products
In 2010, G-Dragon and TOP, the rapper duo of BIGBANG, officially formed a subgroup and swept Kpop with many hits like High High, Oh Yeah, Knock Out… 5 years later, the song Zutter that GD&T.OP performed in BIGBANG‘s mini-album E continues to take over the world thanks to the unique colors of the 2 most popular male rappers in Kpop’s 2nd generation. Today, subunit separation is a form of promotion that is not uncommon for idol groups, but no rapper duo can replace GD&T.OP in both talent and personality.
Besides group activities and subunit separation with G-Dragon, TOP has also released many popular solo products. Two typical hits in TOP’s solo career include Turn It Up and Doom Dada. In particular, the MV Doom Dada has become a phenomenon because it is so unique, full of metaphorical images and TOP’s special personality, so far there has been no similar product.
The scandal of illegal substances caused his career to collapse under public pressure
In the midst of BIGBANG’s peak, in 2017, TOP was suddenly indicted for using marijuana. Besides, the male rapper was also expelled from the army, hospitalized in a coma due to an overdose of sedatives. Although the controversy broke out when TOP was in the army, the remaining 4 members of BIGBANG could not avoid being involved. In the end, TOP had to write a handwritten apology to the fans, admit to all charges and was sentenced to 10 months of probation by the court. On January 26th, 2018, he re-enlisted in the army and started working at the Yongsan District Committee as a community service worker.
After the shocking scandal, TOP disappeared from the entertainment industry. In July 2019, TOP was discharged from the army, receiving a large welcome from VIP. Although the VIP community still supported TOP “unconditionally” despite the past illegal scandals, a part of Knet expressed a negative attitude when the male singer was discharged from the army, urging him to never appear on TV again. In the face of public pressure, TOP repeatedly stated that he would not perform again in Korea, causing loyal fans to worry. It is highly likely that the stain in the past and the reaction from the public directly influenced the male rapper’s decision to leave YG.
According to the latest information from YG, BIGBANG will still make a comeback with a 4-member lineup this spring. Although it is not certain that TOP will still participate in regular promotions with the remaining 3 members after leaving the company, fans insist that they will always support him.