T.O.P (entertainer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Tower of Power.
This is a Korean name; the family name is Choi.
Background information
Birth name Choi Seung-hyun (최승현)
Also known as Tempo
Born November 4, 1987 (age 27)
Seoul, South Korea
Origin Jamsil-dong, South Korea
Genres Hip hop, K-pop
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, actor, record producer, furniture designer
Instruments Harmonica
Years active 2006–present
Labels YG Entertainment[1]
Associated acts Big Bang, YG Family, GD & TOP
Korean name
Hangul 최승현
Revised Romanization Choe Seung-hyeon
McCune–Reischauer Ch’oe Sŭnghyŏn

Choi Seung-hyun (Hangul: 최승현, born November 4, 1987),[2] better known by his stage name T.O.P, is a South Korean rapper, singer-songwriter and actor. He is a member of the South Korean boy band Big Bang and has also participated in various dramas and films, such as I Am Sam, Iris, Nineteen,71: Into the Fire,Commitment and Tazza: The Hidden Card.

Jeff Benjamin of Billboard K-Town columnist noted that T.O.P is well known for his low-bass timbre rapping.[3]

Early life[edit]

Choi was born into a family of 4 and raised in Jamsil-dong, Seoul. His father previously served as a soldier in the Korean military.

Personal life[edit]

T.O.P attended Dankook University in Theater & Films from 2008 to February 2012.


2005–2006: Big Bang debut[edit]

Prior to his involvement with YG Entertainment, Seung-hyun was an underground rapper under the name of Tempo, and a childhood friend of G-Dragon, another member and leader of Big Bang.[4] G-Dragon stated that the two were “neighborhood friend[s] from middle school” and would often dance and rap together.[5] Although G-Dragon later moved away and the two “became distant”, he contacted Seunghyun again when YG Entertainment was scouting for candidates to create a boy band.[5] The pair recorded several demos and sent them to Yang Hyun Suk, CEO of YG Entertainment, who later asked Seunghyun to audition.[4] Seunghyun was initially rejected by the record label, which deemed him too “chubby” to fit the “idealistic version” of an idol.[4] Seunghyun later stated that he “went home and exercised really hard because I wanted to join YG Entertainment.”[4] Six months later, he returned for another audition and was signed on. He reportedly lost 20 kg in 40 days.[4]

Choi Seung-hyun was given the stage name of T.O.P. (Korean: 탑) by fellow YG artist Se7en. He became one of the two rappers in the group Big Bang, alongside G-Dragon. The two were paired with four others: Taeyang, Daesung, Seungri and So-1 and a documentation of their training was aired to promote them.[6] So-1 was dropped by the record label, and Big Bang made its official debut with five members.[7] Their first album, Since 2007, was a fair success,[8] and included T.O.P.’s first solo song “Big Boy.” The group achieved mainstream success with the release of the song “Lies” (Korean: 거짓말; Revised Romanization: Geojitmal) from their 2007 mini-album Always, which topped several charts upon its release. The singles, “Last Farewell” (Korean: 마지막 인사; Revised Romanization: Majimak Insa) from the mini-album Hot Issue and “Day by Day” (Korean: 하루하루; Revised Romanization: Haru Haru) from Stand Up, became chart-toppers as well.[9][10]

2007–2010: Solo career development, move into acting, and GD&TOP[edit]

Following the release of the band’s albums and singles, T.O.P. began working on his solo career. In April 2007, he was featured with fellow Big Bang members Taeyang and G-Dragon on singer Lexy‘s single “Super Fly” for her album Rush. Later that summer, he appeared as an actor in Red Roc’s “Hello” music video.[11] He later became the first member of Big Bang to venture into acting, starring in the KBS2 drama, I Am Sam,.[1] portraying the school’s top fighter, Chae Musin. He also took the role of MC of MBC‘s Music Core on November 10, 2007, only to resign in April of the following year. In 2008, he collaborated with R&B artist Gummy on the song “I’m Sorry” for her album Comfort, veteran singer Uhm Jung-hwa for her single “D.I.S.C.O.” and ZiA for her single “I Only See You”. That same year, he was also admitted to Dankook University, to the theater department.[12]

T.O.P later put his solo career on hold while he joined Big Bang for their promotional activities. After more than a year of promoting the group’s materials, he returned to acting, playing the assassin Vick in the critically acclaimed[13] Korean television drama Iris.[14] T.O.P. also recorded the song “Hallelujah” for the drama’s soundtrack with Taeyang and G-Dragon. Following Iris, T.O.P. and his fellow Bigbang member, Seungri appeared in the teenage suspense drama, 19[15] which they released a song titled “Because”.

His appearance in the 2010 film 71: Into the Fire was well-received, earning him several awards including the Hallyu Popularity Award in the 47th Grand Bell Film Awards.[16] The movie also gained 1 million views in a week, making it the first movie of 2010 to do so South Korea.[17] Simultaneously, T.O.P began to prepare for his solo musical debut.[18] During Big Bang’s Big Show concert in January 2010, T.O.P. performed his new single “Turn It Up.” They later uploaded an official video, which garnered over a million views within a few minutes.[19]He became the first Korean artist to have his song released worldwide on iTunes.

In November 2010, YG Entertainment announced T.O.P and bandmate G-Dragon would release a collaboration album under the name “GD&T.O.P”.[20] Preceding the release of the album, the duo held a world-wide premiere showcase for their album at Times Square in Yeongdeungpo of Seoul, South Korea,[21] which was also broadcast live on YouTube.[22] To promote their album, the duo released three singles: “High High,” “Oh Yeah,” and “Knock out.”[23] All three singles preceded the release of the album. The singles attained commercial successes: “Knockout” was a chart topper[24] while “Oh Yeah” and “HighHigh” both peaked at #2 and #3 respectively.[25][26] The album was released on Christmas Eve, and debuted at number one[27] with pre-orders of 200,000 copies.[28]

2011—present: Continuous acting[edit]

During 2011, Big Bang halted their activities following the release of their Tonight EP because of Daesung’s car accident & G-Dragon’s marijuana accident. He attended 2011 MTV EMAs with his group Big Bang, which they won the category for Best Worldwide Act.[29]

In 2012, T.O.P starred in the film Commitment (also known as Alumni), playing the son of a North Korean spy who is falsely accused.[30][31] During filming a combat scene for the movie, he injured the back of his hand on a glass fragment and was later admitted to the hospital for surgery. Filming of the movie was delayed for several weeks, though despite his injury he continued to appear with Big Bang throughout their world tour.[32] For his role, he won Rookie Award at the Asia Star Awards, held during the Busan International Film Festival, the only Korean actor who won an award in the ceremony.

T.O.P was named one of the hottest sex symbols in 2013.[33] In November, he released a digital single, “Doom Dada” [34] which he himself regarded it as strange and weird. It was his latest single after 3 years with the release of “Turn It Up” in 2010. The song was performed for the first time at the Mnet Asian Music Awards 2013 in Hong Kong [35]

T.O.P was later featured in English artist Pixie Lott‘s Japanese album along with G-Dragon for the song “Dancing On My Own“.[36] In 2014, T.O.P portrayed the role of main character Ham Dae-Gil in the South Korean gambling film Tazza 2: The Hidden Card, sequel to Tazza: The High Rollers.

After debuting as a furniture designer in 2015 in collaboration with Vitra,[37] he was awarded the Visual Culture Award at the Prudential Eye Awards.[38]


Main article: Big Bang discography
Collaboration albums


GD & TOP promotional photo shoot

Year Single Peak position Album
2006 “Big Boy” (T.O.P solo) Since 2007
2007 “Friend” (Feat. Taeyang) MBC TV Drama [Friend, Our Legend] OST
“Act Like Nothing’s Wrong” (Feat. Kim Jieun) Always
2009 “Hallelujah” (Feat. G-Dragon & Taeyang) 18 Iris OST
2010 “Turn it Up” 11 Digital Single
“Because” 19 OST
2011 “Of All Days” 89 GD & TOP
“Oh Mom” 27
2013 “Doom Dada” 4 Digital Single

Featured and collaboration singles[edit]

Year Title Peak positions Album
2006 “Forever with You” (with G-Dragon Ft. Park Bom) Bigbang Vol.1
“We Belong Together” (with G-Dragon & Vxp Ft. Park Bom)
2007 “Buckwild” (NBK Gray Ft. T.O.P)
2008 “I’m Sorry” (Gummy Ft. T.O.P) Comfort
“D.I.S.C.O” (Uhm Jung-hwa Ft. T.O.P) D.I.S.C.O
“All I See is You” (ZiA Ft. T.O.P) Road Movie
“Forever with You” English version (with G-Dragon Ft. Park Bom) With U
2010 “Digital Bounce” (Se7en Ft. T.O.P) Digital Bounce
2011 “High High” (with G-Dragon) 1 GD & TOP
“Oh Yeah” (with G-Dragon Ft. Park Bom) 2
“Knock Out” (with G-Dragon) 3
“Intro” (with G-Dragon)
“Baby Goodnight” (with G-Dragon) 13
“Don’t Go Home” (with G-Dragon) 22
2012 “Dancing On My Own” (Pixie Lott Ft. T.O.P & G-Dragon) Young Foolish Happy (Deluxe Edition)
2013 “Bubble Butt” (Major Lazer Ft. Bruno Mars, G-Dragon, T.O.P, Tyga and Mystic) 78 Free the Universe (Asian Edition)
“—” denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.



Year Title Role Notes
2008 Story of Men Himself Cameo appearance
2009 Nineteen Seo Jeong-hun
2010 71: Into the Fire Oh Jang-beom
2011 Iris the Movie Vick Film adaption of Iris for Japan
2013 Commitment Lee Myeong-hoon / Kang Dae-ho
2014 Tazza: The Hidden Card Ham Dae-gil Sequel of Tazza: The High Rollers

Television drama[edit]

Year Title Role Network
2007 I Am Sam Chae Mu-sin KBS2
2009 Iris Vick KBS2

Music video appearance[edit]

Year Song Title Artist
2007 “Hello” Red Roc
2008 “I’m Sorry” Gummy
“D.I.S.C.O” Uhm Jung-hwa
2011 “I’m Sorry” (Japanese version) Gummy

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2010 47th Grand Bell Awards Hallyu Popularity[39] 71: Into the Fire Won
Best New Actor[40] Nominated
8th Korean Film Awards Best New Actor[41] Nominated
Style Icon Awards New Icon (Movie) [42] Won
31st Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actor[43] Won
Popularity Award[43] Won
Max Movie Award Best New Actor [44] Won
5th Asian Film Awards Best New Actor[45] Nominated
2011 47th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor [46] Won
Popularity Award[46] Won
2013 17th BIFF Asia Star Awards Rookie Awards[47] Commitment Won
2014 50th Paeksang Arts Awards Popularity Award Nominated
Singapore Entertainment Awards Most Popular K-pop Music Video Doom Dada Nominated
2015 Prudential Eye Awards Visual Culture Award Himself Won

Music program[edit]

SBS’s Inkigayo[edit]

Year Date Song
2011 January 9 “High High (Feat G-Dragon)”

Mnet’s M! Countdown[edit]

Year Date Song
2010 December 30 “Oh Yeah (Feat G-Dragon)”
2011 January 6 “High High (Feat G-Dragon)”




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