G-Dragon

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Kwon.
G-Dragon
지드래곤
G-Dragon 2012.jpg
G-Dragon in 2012
Background information
Native name 권지용
Birth name Kwon Ji Yong
Also known as G-Dragon, GD
Born (1988-08-18) August 18, 1988 (age 26)
Seoul, South Korea
Genres Hip hop, K-pop
Occupations Rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer, model, fashion designer
Years active 2001–present
Labels YG Entertainment
Associated acts Big Bang, Flo Rida, Pixie Lott, GD & TOP, Tablo, Dok2, Taeyang, Missy Elliot, Sky Ferreira, Diplo, Baauer, Boys Noize, Skrillex,CL
G-Dragon
Birth name
Hangul
Hanja 權志龍
Stage name
Hangul 지드래곤
Revised Romanization Ji deuraegon
McCune–Reischauer Chi Tŭraegon

Kwon Ji Yong (Korean: 권지용;Chinese:權志龍/权志龙; born August 18, 1988), better known by his stage name G-Dragon (Korean: 지드래곤), is a South Korean rapper, songwriter, lyricist, producer, model, and fashion designer.

At the age of eight he was under contract at SM Entertainment, but he decided to change record labels. After 6 years as a trainee under the record label YG Entertainment, G-Dragon officially debuted as the leader and one of two rappers for the Korean group Big Bang. G-Dragon has been involved with writing, composing, and producing many of Big Bang's hit tracks, including "Lies", "Last Farewell", and "Haru Haru".

He released his debut solo album, Heartbreaker (2009), which yielded the number-one single of the same name. The album went on to become one of the most successful albums of the year, garnering sales of over 200,000 copies and winning the Mnet Asian Music Awards for Album of the Year. Heartbreaker also sparked major controversies for the artist, including accusations of plagiarism. After almost a year of hiatus, G-Dragon and bandmate, T.O.P collaborated to record and release the album GD & TOP (2010). The album saw the release of three singles: "High High", "Oh Yeah", and "Knock Out", all of which have charted within the top three positions of the Gaon chart, with "High High" becoming a chart-topper. In 2012, G-Dragon released his second solo album, "One of a Kind", with hit singles "One of a Kind", "Crayon", and "That XX". Recently in 2013, he released his second full album in four years Coup D'Etat.

He is the only man selected as one of the "50 Reasons Why Seoul is the Best City" by CNN.[1]

On April 2013, G-Dragon released a new song, "미치GO", through messaging app LINE. G-Dragon became the second member of Big Bang to make a solo debut in Japan after his bandmate Daesung's solo concert tour in February. G-Dragon embarked on his second worldwide tour as a solo artist(first Bi Rain ), which included a four-dome tour in Japan.[2] As of September 2013, he is promoting his album Coup D'Etat.

Life and career[edit]

1988–2009: Early life and debut with Big Bang[edit]

Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Kwon Jiyong began his career at age five as part of the group Little Lula.[3] After releasing a Christmas album, the group's contract was terminated by their record company, to which Kwon described as "shock[ing]". Although he vowed to his mother that he "wouldn't do it [becoming a singer] again", Kwon Jiyong was scouted by SM Entertainment while on a ski trip with his family.[4] He was a trainee under the record label for five years (8–13 years old), specializing in dance before he left as he was unclear about what he wanted to do.[3]

In third grade, Jiyong was introduced to the American rap group Wu-Tang Clan by a friend. Inspired by their music, he developed an interest in rapping and began taking classes.[3] Under People Crew's[5] tutelage, he participated in the release of the Korean hip-hop Flex album in 2001, becoming the youngest Korean rapper at just 13 years old. Although he wrote his own lyrics for the song, he admitted that his English was weak and the story behind the lyrics actually meant "I'm young, but I'm the best".[3] Kwon Jiyong caught the interest of Sean of the hip-hop duo Jinusean from YG Entertainment, who later recommended him to CEO Yang Hyun Suk. After signing a contract with the record label. Kwon Jiyong spent the first year cleaning the studio for the other artists in the record label and fetching them water bottles during dance practice.[3] He and another trainee Dong Young-bae, originally planned to debut as the hip-hop duo GDYB, with him choosing the stage name of G-Dragon ("Ji" is pronounced like "G", and Yong is Korean for Dragon).[4] After six years of training, Kwon made several featured appearances on other artists' albums and even released several singles with Dong Young-bae under the name "GDYB". G-Dragon made his official debut as the leader of the group Big Bang in 2006, after six years of training under YG Entertainment, with Dong Youngbae (who chose the stage-name Taeyang) and three other members (T.O.P, Daesung, Seungri).

The formation of the group was documented on television,[6] and though there were initially six members, one was dropped before the official debut.[4] The group's debut was fairly successful, with their first single netting in sales of over 40,000 copies.[7] It spawned several airplay singles, including "La La La", "We Belong Together" and "Forever with You" which featured label-mate Park Bom. The album also included G-Dragon's first solo song, a cover of the American alternative rock group Maroon 5's single "This Love".[6] Following the release of the group's mini-album Always in 2007, G-Dragon began to involve himself more with the production of their albums.[8] Always featured several songs composed by him, including the lead-single "Lies" (Korean: 거짓말; Revised Romanization: Geojitmal), which became the group's first number-one hit. Their following mini-albums followed its predecessor's footsteps: Hot Issue yielded "Last Farewell" (Korean: 마지막 인사; Revised Romanization: Majimak Insa) while Stand Up spawned "Day by Day" (Korean: 하루하루; Revised Romanization: Haru Haru); both singles, which were composed by him were chart-toppers.[9][10]

2009: Heartbreaker[edit]

His first official solo single, "Heartbreaker" drew controversy over similarities to the song "Right Round" by Flo Rida

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Aside from Big Bang, G-Dragon also made several solo appearances. After helping produce Taeyang's debut album, he recorded his own version of the album's lead single "Only Look At Me" (Korean: 나만바라봐; Revised Romanization: Naman Barabwa), titled as the "Only Look At Me Part 2" to the song. The single was released digitally. Along with Taeyang and T.O.P., G-Dragon was featured on singer Lexy's song "Super Fly" for her album Rush. In May 2009, he collaborated with the Japanese boy band W-inds. for their single, "Rain Is Fallin'/Hybrid Dream".[11][12]

After Taeyang released his solo effort, G-Dragon released his debut solo album Heartbreaker, featuring collaborations with several artists, including Teddy of 1TYM, Taeyang, Kush, CL of 2NE1, and Sandara Park of 2NE1. Initially scheduled to be released in April, the album was pushed back to August[13] to coincide with his 21st (Korean years: 22nd) birthday.[14] The album marked a change in G-Dragon's appearances as he dyed his hair blonde to match its concept. Propelled by its lead-single of the same name, an electronic pop song, the album sold over 200,000 copies[15][16] and went on to win Album of the Year from the 2009 Mnet Asian Music Awards.[17] The second single, "Breathe", manage to chart within the Top Twenty[18] while his other songs — "The Leaders", "A Boy", "Hello", and "She's Gone" — went on to top various charts upon their release.[19] Shortly after Heartbreaker's release, G-Dragon was accused of plagiarism by Sony Music when his tracks "Heartbreaker" and "Butterfly" were alleged to be similar to Flo Rida's "Right Round" and Oasis's "She's Electric", respectively.[20][21] However, EMI, the record label that distributed "Right Round" said that they saw no similarities between these two songs.[22] On March 6, 2010, YG Entertainment announced that they personally contacted Flo Rida's representatives requesting that he feature in G-Dragon's live album, Shine a Light, to which Flo Rida accepted.[23] In support of his album, G-Dragon staged his first solo concert at the Olympic Park in December 2009. Entitled Shine a Light, the name of the concert was derived from the lyrics to his song "A Boy".[24] The concert subsequently sparked controversy following complaints of obscenity[25] and suggestive content.[26] The Korean Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs later asked the government prosecutors to investigate if G-Dragon or YG Entertainment violated laws on obscene performances in his concert.[27][28] He was found innocent and was cleared of all charges on March 15, 2010.[29]

2010–2011: GD & TOP[edit]

G-Dragon with T.O.P at a promotional shoot for GD & TOP
G-Dragon performing on Alive World Tour in September 2012

In November 2010, YG Entertainment announced the collaboration album from G-Dragon and bandmate T.O.P.[30] Preceding the release of the album, the duo held a world-wide premiere showcase for their album at Times Square in Yeongdeungpo of Seoul,[31] which was also broadcast live on YouTube.[1] To promote their album, the duo released three singles: "High High," "Oh Yeah", and "Knock Out".[32] All three singles preceded the release of the album. The singles attained commercial successes: "High High" was a chartopper[33] while "Oh Yeah" and "Knock Out" both peaked at number two and number three respectively.[34][35] The album was released on Christmas Eve, and debuted at number one on the Gaon Chart[36] with pre-orders of 200,000 copies.,[37] eventually topping 130,000 copies sold.

With a collaboration with Park Myung Soo, they created a duo called GG for the Infinite Challenge Seohae Ahn Highway Song Festival 2011. They released their song "Fired Up(바람났어)" featuring Park Bom from 2NE1 on June 2, 2011, which became an 'All Kill' on various Korean music charts.

2012: One of a Kind[edit]

It was announced in March 2012 that G-Dragon's solo comeback would be scheduled in the later half of the year, probably in August and sometime near his birthday.[38] G-Dragon also featured in English artist Pixie Lott's upcoming Japanese album, along with fellow member T.O.P.[39]

G-Dragon released the music video for his song "One Of A Kind" from the album of the same name on August 24, 2012, on YouTube.[40] The song later earned him two "Best Hiphop / Rap Song of the Year" awards from Korean Music Awards and Rhythmer Awards. On September 1, G-Dragon released his first single "That XX". The song topped music charts immediately after release and eventually achieved "perfect all-kill" status.[41] His mini-album One of a Kind was released on September 15 digitally and on September 18 physically.[42] Upon release, the album was an immediate success in South Korea. All of the tracks occupied the top positions on all major music charts.[43] The album also places first on the Billboard World Album Chart and entered the Billboard 200 Chart at 161 for the week.[44] As of the end of 2012, the album has sold over 200,000 copies, making it the highest selling solo album in Korea since the release of Heartbreaker in 2009, also by G-Dragon.

On November 30, 2012, he won as Best Male Solo Artist at the 14th Mnet Asian Music Awards. On January 31, 2013, he also won Record of the Year award for "One Of A Kind" at the 22nd Seoul Music Awards.

2013–: Coup D'Etat[edit]

In January 2013, he was the first Korean solo Artist to embark 4 dome tour in Japan (When before replace the 3 dome tour in March) and second korean solo artist world tour (first Bi Rain ). As the beginning, the first run in Seoul starts on March 30, 2013. Japan shows started in April, and more cities were added on later dates as they were confirmed. This tour is known as G-Dragon 2013 1st World Tour.

In April 1, 2013, YGEX announced he will release a second solo album on August 14. YGEX further announced that Grammy Award-winning musician Missy Elliott will be featured on the album.[45] Elliott previously announced in January 2013 via Twitter that she had contributed two tracks ("Chugalug", "Niliria") both of which were produced by Teddy P.[46][47]

The album, titled Coup D'état, was released in 2 parts online, on September 2 and September 5, with the full album being released September 13 featuring 2 songs that will be album only. Coup D'etat featured collaborations with a star-studded list of artists and producers which included Missy Elliott, Diplo, Baauer, Boys Noize, Sky Ferreira, Siriusmo, Zion.T, Lydia Paek, and label-mate Jennie Kim. G-Dragon and Missy Elliott performed their song "Niliria" at the KCON 2013 in LA. Tracks from Coup D'etat topped major Korean music sites such as Melon, Mnet, Bugs, Naver, and Olleh. A total of seven tracks were placed from one to seven on the Mnet charts upon release,[48] while six tracks from Coup D'etat were also placed within the top 10 of the Gaon Singles Charts with "Who You?" being number one.[49] The album also topped the iTunes charts in several countries.[50][51] The music video for "Coup D'Etat" was released on YouTube on September 1 while the music video for "Crooked" was released shortly after, on September 4.

On October 24, 2013, G-Dragon at 2013 SIA won the Style Icon Top 10. In the end, he won the 2013 Style Icon of the Year Award. He is the first solo singer to win the award undivided.[52]

He also made a song for the Infinite Challenge music contest, held on 17 October in Imjingak. The song is titled "Going to Try" (Haebolago) and is a duet with comedian Jeong Hyeong-don.[53]

On November 22, 2013, he won a total of four awards at the 15th Mnet Asian Music Awards, including Best Male Solo Artist, Best music video for "Coup D'etat", Best dance performance for "Crooked", and the highest award, Artist of The Year.[54] He's the first solo act to win the latter.[citation needed]

On March 18, 2014, he worked with Skrillex, on the album Recess, on a song called "Dirty Vibe".[55]

Image and artistry[edit]

The right kind of music is not made once the artist feels that music is work. When one is working on music, performing or just having fun, ... it directly influences the music ... The more I work, the more I feel like I'm learning and maturing at the same time. —G-Dragon[56][57]

Public image[edit]

G-Dragon's fashion is a trend setter in South Korea

Described as the "most fashionable" one in his group,[58] G-Dragon's role in influencing fashion trends in South Korea have garnered him awards such as the "Style Icon of 2008"[58] and the award for "Most Influential Men of 2008" sponsored by Arena magazine.[59] Fashion icon Kang Dong Won has also acknowledged G-Dragon's influences, calling him a "fashionista".[60]

While promoting Heartbreaker, his change in hairstyle from dyeing it to blonde gained popularity among his fans and became one of the top hairstyles of the year.[61] Additionally, his constant sporting of triangular scarves became a trend among teenagers and were later nicknamed the "Big Bang scarves".[62]

Despite his influences, G-Dragon has admitted to being self-conscious of his role as a musician, noting how he had "changed many things including the tone of my voice because I was conscious about my job when I was in front of others".[56] Aware that his public image is important when promoting his materials, G-Dragon notes that "what the public perceives of [my physical appearance] is my doing so it's my fault if I give off the wrong intention".[56] He also strongly opposes the idea of singers as "products" of the entertainment industry.[63]

On October 5, 2011, it was reported that G-Dragon was tested positive for marijuana. His urine test came back negative but a weak positive for marijuana was detected from testing the content of his hair. The tests were done in early June and the results came back in August. As it was a first offense with a minuscule amount, it resulted in an indictment and he was not charged.[64][65] He allegedly accepted an offered cigarette from a fan in Japan during a party back in May.[66] He was the only one at the party who was later tipped off to Korean authorities. He confessed that he smoked the cigarette that was offered to him, but after realizing it was not a normal cigarette, he threw it away.

The scandal caused a halt to his promotions, and YG Entertainment issued a statement that he was being given time to reflect on his mistake.[67] Because he was not charged, he did not lose any endorsers and later made his first public appearance after the scandal at the 2011 MTV EMAs with his group Big Bang.

Musical style, lyrics and composition[edit]

Haru Haru, one of the most famous songs of Big Bang[68] was composed by G-Dragon

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Inspired by music by the Wu-Tang Clan, G-Dragon participated in the annual hip hop Flex album in 2001 at the age of 12, establishing his career as an artist.[3] During the early days of Big Bang's career, the band was marketed predominately as a hip-hop group, though they went on to experiment with electronic music and setting it as the new music trend in Korea.[69] From previous exposure to a range of genres with Big Bang, G-Dragon incorporated a mix of dance, hip-hop, and R&B songs into Heartbreaker.[70] During the production for the collaboration album GD & TOP, G-dragon opted for a more hip-hop sound, though he does acknowledge that R&B, acoustic, and electronic music heavily influenced it.[1]

Since becoming a solo artist, G-Dragon has maintained tight control over his music, stating that "each feeling [in creating the music] is different",[57] using his emotions to direct the lyrical content and the composition of his songs.[56] In attempts to distinguish himself from other artists and composer, G-Dragon admits to "giving twist and turn at every corner and evoking [a] different story" with each part of his music, acknowledging that although the chorus is the catchiest part of the song, he wants all the parts to his song to be remembered.[57] Prior to his establishment as a solo artist, he was also involved with the production of Big Bang's albums, writing and composing majority of their songs.[21]

G-Dragon's contributions to his own music have garnered him praises and criticism alike. Preferring to pen lyrics that "sound like an actual story", the Korea Times have praised him as a "genius singer-songwriter",[21] though the rapper has expressed being uncomfortable with the label.[71] His effort to create melodies won him praises as one of the best composers of 2008,[21] with many pop culture critics and industry representatives choosing him as the "musician whose future they anticipate the most".[71] His rap lyrics have also placed him fourth during a vote for "Most God-like" rapper in Japan.[72] The rapper also topped Forbes listing of "Most Hardworking Idol",[73] and made into its list "Korea 2030 Power Leaders".[73]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums

Korean

Japanese

EP
Digital Singles
  • Look Only at Me, Part 2 (2008)
  • Michi Go (2013)
Collaboration albums
CF Promotional Songs
  • G-Market Party (2010)
Live albums
  • Shine a Light (2010)
  • GDYB (G-Dragon and Taeyang) Paris Photobook (2014)

Filmography[edit]

Music videos[edit]

Year Music video Length Album Official MV on YouTube Note
2001 "G-Dragon" a.k.a "My Age is 13" 4:16 2001 Korea HipHopFlex
Perry - "Storm" 3:20 Perry's 1st album Perry By Storm Feat. G-Dragon, Masta Wu, Sean
2002 YG Family - Hip Hop Gentlemen 4:24 YG Family's 2nd Album "YG Family 2" YGEntertainment
YG Family - "YMCA Baseball Team" 3:47 YGEntertainment
YG Family - "Get Ready" 4:07 He makes an appearance, not singing
2003 1TYM - "Hot" 4:16 1TYM's 4th album Once N 4 All YGEntertainment He makes an appearance, not singing
2004 Jinusean - "Telephone number" 3:36 Jinusean's 4th album Norabose YGEntertainment He makes an appearance, not singing
2009 W-Inds. - "RAIN IS FALLIN'" 3:59 W-Inds.'s 26th single "Rain Is Fallin'/Hybrid Dream" windsTVofficial
2NE1 - "Fire" (Street Ver.) 3:48 2NE1 1ST MINI ALBUM YGEntertainment Trolling Dancer behind Minzy
Seungri - "Strong Baby" 3:53 Seungri 2nd album Remember BIGBANG
"Heartbreaker" 3:51 1st album Heartbreaker YGEntertainment
"Breathe" 3:41 YGEntertainment
"She's Gone" 3:14
"Butterfly" 3:47 YGEntertainment
"A Boy" 3:42 YGEntertainment
2010 "Gmarket Party!" 2:48 Gmarket CM SONG GmarketZone Non-Album Release
Taeyang - "I Need A Girl" 5:54 Taeyang 1st album Solar YGEntertainment with appearance of Sandara Park
2012 Se7en - "When I Can't Sing" 4:21 Se7en NEW MINI ALBUM OfficialSe7en He makes an appearance, not singing
"One Of A Kind" 3:29 1st mini One of a Kind BIGBANG
"That XX" 3:35 BIGBANG Featured Jennie Kim
"Crayon" 3:45 BIGBANG
2013 "미치GO (Michi GO)" 3:44 2nd album Coup D'Etat BIGBANG
2NE1 He makes an appearance, not singing
"Coup D'etat" 3:21 2nd album Coup D'Etat BIGBANG
"삐딱하게 (Crooked)" 3:46 BIGBANG
Taeyang - "Ringa Linga" 3:49 Taeyang 2nd album Rise BIGBANG He makes an appearance, not singing
CL - "The Baddest Female" 4:03 CL Digital-only single 2NE1 He makes an appearance, not singing
"니가 뭔데 (Who You?)" 5:38
2nd album Coup D'Etat BIGBANG
2014 "PSY - HANGOVER feat. Snoop Dogg" 2:54 PSY Digital-only single PSY He makes an appearance, not singing

Awards[edit]

Music chart wins[edit]

SBS's Inkigayo[edit]

Year Date Song
2009 September 6 "Heartbreaker"
September 13
September 20
2011 January 9 "High High (as GD&TOP)"
2013 September 15 "Coup D'etat"
September 22 "Crooked"
September 29

Mnet's M! Countdown[edit]

Year Date Song
2009 September 10 "Heartbreaker"
September 17
September 24
2010 December 30 "Oh Yeah (as GD&TOP)"
2011 January 6 "High High (as GD&TOP)"
2012 September 27 "Crayon"
October 4
October 11
2013 September 12 "Black"
September 19
September 26 "Crooked"

KBS's Music Bank[edit]

Year Date Song
2009 August 28 "Heartbreaker"
September 4
September 11
September 18
September 25
2013 September 20 "Who You"
September 27 "Crooked"

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