T.O.P (rapper)

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For abbreviations, see TOP.
Not to be confused with Tower of Power.
This is a Korean name; the family name is Choi.
T.O.P - 0.TO.10 in Seoul - 2.jpg
Bigbang concert 0.To.10 - August 20, 2016
Born Choi Seung-hyun
(1987-11-04) November 4, 1987 (age 29)
Seoul, South Korea
  • Singer-songwriter
  • actor
  • record producer
  • rapper
Musical career
Years active 2006–present
Labels YG Entertainment[1]
Associated acts
Korean name
Hangul 최승현
Hanja 崔勝鉉
Revised Romanization Choe Seung-hyeon
McCune–Reischauer Ch'oe Sŭnghyŏn

Choi Seung-hyun (Hangul최승현; 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 K-Pop group Big Bang and has also participated in various dramas and films, such as I Am Sam (2007), Iris (2009), Nineteen (2009), 71: Into the Fire (2010), Commitment (2013), Tazza: The Hidden Card (2014) and Out of Control (2016).

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

Life and career[edit]

2005–06: Early life and debut with Big Bang[edit]

Big Bang at MTV Fast Forward, Thailand, December 2007

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 Seung-hyun 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 Seung-hyun to audition.[4] Seung-hyun was initially rejected by the record label, which deemed him too "chubby" to fit the "idealistic version" of an idol.[4] Seung-hyun 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 Jang Hyun-seung and a documentation of their training was aired to promote them.[6] Later Hyun-seung 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]

2007–10: Solo career development, move into acting, and GD&TOP[edit]

T.O.P performing with G-Dragon in 2011

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 became a host of MBC's music program Music Core.

In 2008, he collaborated with label-mate 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 theatre department.[12]

In 2009, T.O.P. returned to acting, playing the assassin Vick in the critically acclaimed[13] Korean television drama Iris.[14] He also recorded the song "Hallelujah" for the drama's soundtrack with Taeyang and G-Dragon. Following Iris, T.O.P. starred in the suspense film 19-Nineteen along with fellow member Seungri.[15] The duo released the single "Because" for the movie's soundtrack.

GD & TOP promotional photo shoot

In 2010, T.O.P starred in the war drama film 71: Into the Fire. His performance was well-received, earning him several Best New Actor awards at local award giving bodies.[16] The movie also gained 1 million views in a week.[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".[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 & TOP.[20] Preceding the release of the album, the duo held a worldwide 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: "Knock Out" was a chart topper[24] while "Oh Yeah" and "High High" both peaked at No. 2 and No. 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: Continued acting and military service[edit]

T.O.P in 2012

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.[29][30] While 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. For his role, he won the Rookie Award at the Asia Star Awards, held during the Busan International Film Festival.

T.O.P was named one of the hottest sex symbols in 2013.[31] In November, he released a digital single, "Doom Dada"[32] The song was performed for the first time at the Mnet Asian Music Awards 2013 in Hong Kong.[33] "Doom Dada" earned the #1 position on Dazed magazine's Top 10 K-Pop tracks of 2013, where it was called "inviting and alienating... it's K-Pop but sly, frenetic and slippery."[34] He later featured on English artist Pixie Lott's Japanese album alongside G-Dragon for the song "Dancing on My Own".[35]

In 2014, T.O.P starred in the gambling film Tazza: The Hidden Card, based on the manhwa of the same name.

After debuting as a furniture designer in 2015 in collaboration with Vitra,[36] he was awarded the Visual Culture Award at the Prudential Eye Awards.[37]

Also in 2015, he starred in CJ E&M's web drama The Secret Message alongside Japanese actress Juri Ueno. He released the single "Hi Haruka" as part of the drama's soundtrack.

In 2016, T.O.P was cast in the German-Chinese film Out of Control alongside Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung. The movie is scheduled for release in China in December 2016.[38]

T.O.P will begin his two-year mandatory military service on February 9, 2017.[39]


Main article: Big Bang discography
Further information: GD & TOP

Collaboration albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales

(with G-Dragon)
1 8 10 11

Single albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
Doom Dada (Special Edition) 3


Year Title Peak chart positions Sales Album
US World
2007 "Friend" (Feat. Taeyang) N/A Friend, Our Legend OST
2009 "Hallelujah" (Feat. G-Dragon & Taeyang) Iris OST
2010 "Turn it Up" 2
  • KOR: 1,380,732[49]
"Because" N/A 19 OST
2013 "Doom Dada" 4 3 Doom Dada (Special Edition)
2015 "Hi Haruka" N/A Secret Message OST
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

Featured and collaboration singles[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Sales Album
US World
2006 "Forever with You" (with G-Dragon Ft. Park Bom) N/A Bigbang Vol.1
"We Belong Together" (with G-Dragon & Vxp Ft. Park Bom)
2007 "Buckwild" (NBK Gray Ft. T.O.P) N/A
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
"We Belong Together" English version (with G-Dragon Ft. Park Bom) With U
2010 "Digital Bounce" (Se7en Ft. T.O.P)
  • KOR: 1,013,703[49]
Digital Bounce
2011 "Oh Yeah" (with G-Dragon Ft. Park Bom) 2
  • KOR: 1,309,510[52]
"High High" 3 17
  • KOR: 1,390,163[53]
"Knock Out" 5 15
"Baby Goodnight" 24
"Don't Go Home" 11
"Intro" 71 N/A
2012 "Dancing on My Own" (Pixie Lott Ft. T.O.P & G-Dragon) 36 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)
2015 "Zutter" 2 2 E / MADE
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

Other charted songs[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
2006 "Big Boy" (T.O.P solo) Since 2007
2007 "Act Like Nothing's Wrong" (Feat. Kim Jieun) Always
2011 "Of All Days" 45 GD & TOP
"Oh Mom" 60
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

Production credits[edit]

Year Artist Song Role Album
2006 BIGBANG featuring Park Bom "We Belong Together" Co-Lyricist BIGBANG (First Single)
"Forever With U" Big Bang 03
BIGBANG "Good Bye Baby"
Himself "Big Boy" Lyricist & Co-Composer Bigbang Vol.1
2007 Himself featuring Kim Ji Eun "Act Like Nothing's Wrong" Always
2008 BIGBANG "A Good Man" Stand Up
"Remember" (English) Co-Lyricist Number 1
2010 G-Dragon & T.O.P "High High" GD & TOP
"Oh Yeah" (featuring Park Bom)
"Intro" Co-Lyricist & Co-Composer
"Baby Good Night"
"Knock Out"
Himself "Oh Mom" Lyricist & Co-Composer
"Of All Days"
"Turn It Up"
2011 BIGBANG "Tonight" (Japanese Version) Co-Lyricist Big Bang 2
"Somebody to Luv" (Japanese Version)
"Koe o Kikasete"
"Ms. Liar" (Japanese Version)
"Hands Up" (Japanese Version)
"Love Song" (Japanese Version)
2012 "Intro (Alive)" Alive
"Love Dust"
"Bad Boy"
"Ain't No Fun"
"Fantastic Baby"
"Still Alive" Still Alive
"Bingle Bingle"
"Alive" (Japanese Version) Alive (Japanese album)
"Love Dust" (Japanese Version)
"Ain't No Fun" (Japanese Version)
2013 Himself "Doom Dada" Lyricist & Co-Composer Doom Dada (Special Edition)
2015 BIGBANG "Loser" Co-Lyricist MADE
"Bae Bae" Co-Lyricist & Co-Composer
"Bang Bang Bang" Co-Lyricist
"We Like 2 Party"
G-Dragon & T.O.P "Zutter" Co-Lyricist & Co-Composer
2016 BIGBANG "Fxxk It" Co-Lyricist
"Last Dance"



Year Title Role Notes
2008 Story of Men Himself Cameo
2009 Nineteen Seo Jeong-hun Lead
2010 71: Into the Fire Oh Jang-beom Lead
2011 Iris the Movie Vick Film adaption of Iris for Japan
2013 Commitment Lee Myeong-hoon / Kang Dae-ho Lead
2014 Tazza: The Hidden Card Ham Dae-gil Lead
2016 Out of Control[61] Tom Young Lead
Big Bang Made Himself Big Bang documentary

Television drama[edit]

Year Title Role Network
2007 I Am Sam Chae Mu-sin KBS2
2009 Iris Vick KBS2
2010 Haru T.O.P
2015 Secret Message[62] Woo-hyun CJ E&M

Variety shows[edit]

For appearances with Big Bang, see Big Bang filmography

Year Title Network Notes
2008 Come to Play MBC Guest with G-Dragon, episode 194
2009 Family Outing SBS Guest, episode 34 and 35
2011 Star Date KBS Guest with G-Dragon
Night After Night SBS
Kim Jung Eun's Chocolate
2013 Running Man Guest with Kim Yoo-jung, episode 170

Music video appearances[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[63] 71: Into the Fire Won
Best New Actor[64] Nominated
8th Korean Film Awards Best New Actor[65] Nominated
Style Icon Awards New Icon (Movie)[66] Won
31st Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actor[67] Won
Popularity Award[67] Won
Max Movie Award Best New Actor[68] Won
5th Asian Film Awards Best New Actor[69] Nominated
2011 47th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor[70] Won
Popularity Award[70] Won
2013 17th BIFF Asia Star Awards Rookie Awards[71] Commitment Won
2014 50th Baeksang Arts Awards Popularity Award Nominated
Singapore Entertainment Awards Most Popular K-pop Music Video Doom Dada Nominated
Rhythmer Awards Hip-Hop Song of the Year Nominated
2015 Prudential Eye Awards Visual Culture Award Himself Won
52nd Grand Bell Awards Popularity Award Tazza: The Hidden Card Nominated
2016 4th Drama Fever Awards Best Feature Film Won
Best SNS Drama Secret Message Won

Music chart wins[edit]

SBS's Inkigayo[edit]

Year Date Song
2010 April 6 "I'm Sorry" (with Gummy)
April 13
2011 January 9 "High High" (GD&T.O.P)

Mnet's M! Countdown[edit]

Year Date Song
2010 December 30 "Oh Yeah" (GD&T.O.P)
2011 January 6 "High High" (GD&T.O.P)
2015 August 20 "Zutter" (GD&T.O.P)


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External links[edit]