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Not to be confused with Tablo (DVR).
This is a Korean name; the family name is Lee.
130118 인천공항 입국 타블로 직찍.jpg
Tablo at Incheon International Airport in January 2013
Background information
Birth name Lee Seon-woong (이선웅)
Daniel Armand Lee
Born (1980-07-22) July 22, 1980 (age 35)
Seoul, South Korea[1][2]
Origin Seoul, South Korea
Genres Hip hop, K-pop
Occupation(s) Rapper, record producer, songwriter, actor, author, entrepreneur
Instruments Vocals, keyboards, synthesizer, sampler, sequencer, violin
Years active 1999–present
Labels Woollim Entertainment
(2003–08, 2010)
Map the Soul, Inc.
YG Entertainment
Associated acts Epik High, Anyband, Eternal Morning, Dynamic Duo, G-Dragon, Taeyang, Black Bakery, YG Family

Daniel Armand Lee (Korean: Lee Seon-woong; Hangul: 이선웅; born July 22, 1980), who goes by Tablo (Hangul: 타블로), is a South Korean-born Canadian rapper, record producer, songwriter, author, and entrepreneur who is currently based in South Korea. Tablo is best known as the leader and producer of veteran Korean hip-hop group Epik High, and the founder and CEO of independent music label HIGHGRND (High Ground), which houses band Hyukoh.

Tablo became employed as a lyricist while still in high school. After completing his studies, Tablo returned to Korea to pursue music against his parents' wishes. In 2001, Tablo formed Epik High alongside DJ Tukutz and Mithra Jin. The group has since released 10 full-length albums and 1 EP, with Tablo having produced and co-written all the songs. His solo album Fever's End was released in 2011.

Outside of Epik High, Tablo is a record producer for other artists and involved in collaborative projects such as Borderline, Eternal Morning, and Anyband. His music incorporates numerous styles, ranging from trance, trip hop, to rock.[3] Tablo is also the author of the best-selling book Pieces of You, published in both English and Korean. He made his acting debut in films Nonstop (2005) and Fantastic Parasuicides (2007). From 2005-2009 and 2014-Present, Tablo hosts his own daily radio show, MBC FM4U's Tablo's Dreaming Radio.[4][5]

Life and career[edit]

1980–2003: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Tablo was born in Jakarta, Indonesia on July 22, 1980. His family relocated several times to Switzerland and Hong Kong[6] for his father's career until Tablo was six, when they returned to South Korea briefly.[7] His family again moved to Canada when he was eight. Tablo attended St. George's Boarding School[8] in Vancouver until his roommate Nicolas Tse and himself were both expelled for pushing an older student off the stairs, intentionally or not.[6] Consequently, Tablo transferred to Seoul International School.[7] Tablo was a coterminal student at Stanford University.[9][10][11] He simultaneously attained a Bachelor's Degree in English literature and a Master's Degree in creative writing in only three and a half years.[10][11][12] Tablo has an older sister and an older brother, whom graduated from Cornell University and Columbia University respectively.

Tablo started to play the piano when he was six, and switched to violin, which he played for 10 years.[3] His music teacher, who is a pupil of Isaac Stern, used to lecture him saying: "Music is communism, but you're playing democracy". However, he ceased to play violin as he was dismissed from the orchestra after suddenly playing the soundtrack of Jurassic Park while the orchestra was playing Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in a concert.[3] In 1999, whilst he was still in high school, Tablo wrote the lyrics to Kim Gun-mo's song "Rainy Christmas", as Kim took an interest in Tablo after reading a poem of his.[6]

During his early life, Tablo suffered from bouts of depression. Whenever he faced hardship, hip hop music served as an outlet. However, Tablo's father disapproved of his career choice, so as a teenager, he frequently ran away from home. Ostensibly, Tablo asked a friend to live out his dream, but when that friend passed away due to cancer, it became an impetus for him to re-enter the music industry at the behest of his dying friend.[13] Tablo later admitted his family forced him to enroll in Stanford, and even after the release of his second album, was still persuading him to return to the States to attend Law School.[13] While he was at Stanford, Tablo associated with an underground hip hop group, 4n Objectz, for three years.[6]

2003–10: Success with Epik High and Pieces of You[edit]

Tablo met Mithra Jin and DJ Tukutz in the underground hip-hop scene. They formed Epik High and under the tutelage of Movement crew members, especially CB Mass (currently Dynamic Duo), they attempted to record their first record alongside hip-hop duo, and close friends, TBNY (composed of Yankie and TopBob). However, CB Mass member Curbin allegedly embezzled Epik High and TBNY's funds for their first studio album, effectively causing the disbandment of CB Mass (and the creation of Dynamic Duo without Curbin). Tablo and Epik High were finally signed by Woolim Entertainment, which at the time focused on underground hip hop and modern rock. Tablo made his official debut as the leader of the group Epik High in 2003 alongside DJ Tukutz and Mithra Jin.[6] The group's first album, Map of the Human Soul, was released on October 21, 2003. However, due to hip hop's lack of popularity in South Korea at the time, the album was a commercial failure. It wasn't until the release of their second album, High Society, that the group started to become more popular. Epik High's third album, Swan Songs, was originally intended to be their last album; however, upon release, the album became number one on numerous charts, and swept the year-end hip hop awards.[14] One of the lead singles from the album, "Fly", was featured on the soundtrack of the video game FIFA 07. Due to the numerous offers to remake "Fly", as well as "Paris", the second single from the album, a CD sampler, was released in Japan.[15]

Tablo at Map the Soul Concert, San Francisco (2009)

In 2007, the group released their fourth studio album, Remapping the Human Soul, and managed to push Epik High to the number one spot for best upcoming artist after selling almost 90,000 copies in the first month of release. The album ended up becoming South Korea's third best-selling album of 2007.[16] However, many songs from the album were banned from several channels and the album buying age was restricted to 19+ due to some songs dealing with issues the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in South Korea deemed inappropriate for younger listeners.[17] The group later went on to release their next album, Pieces, Part One, which was also a commercial success.

In late 2008, Tablo published a book entitled Pieces of You. Although the stories were originally written in English, the book was first published in Korean. The Korean translation sold 50,000 copies in its first week of release and topped the bestseller's list in Korea.[18] The original English version was released in February 2009 and also met with moderate success. The book garned a positive reception from critics, with Tablo's writing praised for a first-time author.[19] After the group's contract with Woolim Entertainment expired in 2008, Tablo, alongside his group members, founded their own independent label, Map the Soul, and they went on to release an album of the same name.[20] Through their independent label, the group went on to release two more albums; [e] in 2009,[21] and Epilogue in 2010.[22][23] In November 2013, Tablo revealed the reason of shutting down the label "Map the Soul" in his interview with HiphopLE that one of the executive member of Map The Soul embezzled the label's funds.[24]

2010–11: Musical hiatus and Stanford controversy[edit]

In 2010, it was announced that Epik High would go on hiatus after DJ Tukutz enlisted in his mandatory military service, whilst Tablo and Mithra would be working on solo careers until DJ Tukutz's return. However, in mid-2010, a group of internet users raised doubts about the academic background of Tablo, who majored in English and English Literature at Stanford University.[10][11] Led by two fan sites, most notably "We Demand the Truth from Tablo" (Hangul: "타블로에게 진실을 요구합니다"; also known as "Tajinyo", Hangul: "타진요"), some netizens claimed that Tablo could not have graduated from Stanford University with both a Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in English and Creative Writing, respectively, in just three and a half years.[25][26][10]

It became front-page news in Korea in June 2010 when one of the fansite's managers, who goes by the username whatbecomes, claimed that Tablo's academic record was "not making any sense" and showed what he believed to be inconsistencies in Tablo's transcripts. Even though Tablo posted his official transcript and other legal documents online, many netizens refused to believe him, and called for other documents such as his immigration statement and diploma to be released.[27][28] Tablo visited Stanford University in late August to disprove these allegations by having the University registrar re-print his documents on camera, and many of Tablo's acquaintances and former professors from Stanford attested to the validity of his academic background on camera.[10][11] The documentary was shown in two parts: "Tablo Goes to Stanford" and "Tablo and South Korea Online", which aired on MBC October 1 and 8. However, despite the documentary and Stanford's administration clearly siding with Tablo,[10][11] membership at "We Demand the Truth from Tablo" increased to as many as 190,000 within a few days, as numerous netizens refused to believe Tablo or the documentary. Tablo and members of his family received death threats and he became a virtual recluse.[29] Tablo ultimately left Wooliment entertainment during the Tajinyo incident, not wanting to spread harm to the agency or to Infinite, who had only recently debuted when the controversy broke out.[30]

On October 9, however, police confirmed that Tablo had indeed graduated from Stanford, having requested information beyond what Tablo had already provided, directly from Stanford University.[11] South Korean police filed an arrest warrant domestically and with Interpol for the arrest of whatbecomes, who was revealed to be a 57-year-old Korean-American named Eungsuk Kim living in the United States.[29][11] In addition, twenty-two netizens received summons indicating they had been sued by Tablo for criminal defamation. The fansite was shut down soon after by its host site, Naver, following the results of the investigation, which also revealed that whatbecomes had fraudulently used a friend's ID number to create the website, violating Naver's terms of service. However, many members of the fansite joined another community called "We Demand the Truth from Tablo 2" (Hangul: "타블로에게 진실을 요구합니다2", or "타진요 2"; "Tajinyo-i" for short), which has a membership of over 33,000 netizens despite proof provided by both the university and the police that Tablo did indeed graduate from Stanford University.[31]

2011-current: Return, solo career and Epik High comeback[edit]

On September 27, 2011 YG Entertainment announced that Tablo would be signing a 4-year contract with them and that his first solo album would be released on November 1.[32] Although Tablo signed as a solo singer under YG Entertainment, he indicated that it did not mean that Epik High disbanded, nor that they would necessarily sign with YG as a group.[33] On October 14, 2011 Tablo released the song "Airbag" from his new upcoming album.[34] On October 21, 2011 YG announced that the new album, titled Fever's End (Hangul: 열꽃), had been split into two parts. The first part was released along with the recent announcement, and the second part was released on the planned release date.[35]

On September 27, 2012, YG officially announced through that Epik High would have their comeback in October 2012, after a three-year hiatus as a group.[36] Their first single, "춥다" ("It's Cold"), featured SBS's K-pop Star finalist Lee Hi and was released on October 9, while their comeback album, titled 99, was released on the 19th. On December 30, 2012, during the SBS Gayo Daejun, Tablo joined fellow Epik High bandmate Mithra Jin, Dynamic Duo and Simon D for Cypher 2012, a remix of popular hip hop tracks of the year, to much acclaim.

In October 2013, Tablo joined KBS variety show The Return of Superman with his daughter Haru.[37]

On April 21, 2014, Tablo returned as radio DJ.[38] His show's name is Tablo's Dreaming Radio. He was the DJ for this same program until 2009.

In March 2014, Tablo carried out a collaboration with China's top female singer Zhou Bichang.[39]

On October 18, 2014, Epik High released their music video for "Born Hater", after the video was delayed by YG due to the Pangyo Techno Valley Festival Tragedy.[40] The track is from their eighth album, SHOEBOX, and features a myriad of hip hop artists including Beenzino, Verbal Jint, Song Min-ho of YG's latest group WINNER, and YG artists B.I and Bobby, who are part of YG Entertainment's boy group iKON.[41]

Personal life[edit]

Tablo married Korean actress Kang Hye-jung on October 26, 2009.[42] Their daughter, Haru, was born on May 2, 2010.[43]

Musical style[edit]

Tablo has been a long-time fan of hip hop music, citing an almost lifelong affair with the culture itself. While listening to hip hop at an early age through artists such as Run-D.M.C. and acquiring Cold Crush tapes, he concurrently gained recognition as a rhymer. His major and enduring love affair with making hip hop music was sparked later in life, however; after hearing Drunken Tiger rapping, the group Epik High was formed in 2000 at an early time in the culture's local evolution. Tablo has since claimed to be the first emcee to have used the "rhyming rifle" technique. With the hip hop scene in Korea and Korean emcees being known for their fickle tendencies, Tablo has through the years kept alive his legacy and career through numerous shows, appearances on influential overseas (American most notably) hip hop artists work, such as EPMD.


Extended plays[edit]

Title Album details Tracklisting Peak chart positions


Fever's End: Part 1 [46] 12 4
Fever's End: Part 2 [47] 13 21 2
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.


As lead artist[edit]

Year Single Peak positions Album

2005 "Rhapsody of Rain"[a]
Non-album release
2008 "Eternal Morning"[a] (with Pe2ny) 4
Eternal Morning: Soundtrack to a Lost Film
2011 "Airbag" (feat. Naul of Brown Eyed Soul) 4 5
Fever's End: Part 1
"Bad" (feat. Jinsil) 3 4
"Tomorrow" (feat. Taeyang) 2 3
Fever's End: Part 2
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

As featured performer[edit]

Year Single Peak positions Album
2006 "I'm Coming"[a] (Rain feat. Tablo) 1
Rain's World
"Rainbow"[a] (Infinite Flow feat. Tablo and JW) 4
More Than Music
2007 "Talk Play Love"[a] (Tablo, BoA, Xiah Jun-su and Jin Bo-ra) 1
"Promise U"[a] (Tablo, BoA, Xiah Jun-su and Jin Bo-ra) 3
"Daydream"[a] (Tablo, BoA, Xiah Jun-su and Jin Bo-ra) 10
2008 "I Love You"[a] (Navi feat. Tablo) 1
I Love You
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

Guest appearances[edit]

Year Title Other performer(s) Album
2002 "New Joint (Remix)"
DJ Honda, PMD
Underground Connection
2004 "Sky High"
Nonstop: Season 4 Soundtrack
"Excuse Me"
Dynamic Duo, DJ Wrecks
Taxi Driver
2005 "Let Me Love You"
Lee Min-woo
IInd Winds
"The City"
Lena Park
2006 "Love Mode"
Pinch Your Soul
"Cha Ryut!"
TBNY, Dynamic Duo
"School of Hip-hop"
Gaknaguene, Garion
Green Tour
"Never Know"
Lim Jeong-hee
Bobby Kim
Follow Your Soul
2007 "The 'M' Style"
Lee Min-woo
Explore M
"It's All Over Anyway"
Kang Kyun-sung
A Path of Love
Verbal Jint, Mithra Jin
2008 "Alive"
Pe2ny, Yankie
Alive Soul Cuts Vol. 1
"Memory (Rap Mix)"
2009 "Keep Pushin'"
Kero One
E.B. Korean Sessions
"When the Sunshine Comes"
Kero One, Mithra Jin
E.B. Korean Sessions
2010 "Smiles & Crys"
"Asian Kids"
Kero One
2013 "I.N.D.O"


"꽃 (Flower)" XIA Flower

Produced songs[edit]

  • 2004: "이력서" (Dynamic Duo)
  • 2004: "Sky High" (Nonstop 4 soundtrack)
  • 2005: "Campus Love Story" (Cho PD)
  • 2006: "내일은 오니까" (Paloalto & The Quiett)
  • 2006: "남자라서 웃어요" (Kim Jang Hoon featuring Mithra Jin)
  • 2006: "Never Know" (by Lim Jeong Hee)
  • 2006: "Rain Bow" (Infinity Flow)
  • 2007: "여자라서 웃어요" (Sim Soo-bong featuring Mithra Jin)
  • 2007: "Talk Play Love" (Anyband)
  • 2012: "Style" (Rania)
  • 2013: "Turn it up" (Lee Hi)
  • 2013: "Special" (Lee Hi)
  • 2013: "Fool" (Lee Hi)
  • 2014: "Rise" (Taeyang)
  • 2014: "Let go" (Taeyang)
  • 2014: "Love you to death" (Taeyang)



Year Title Role Notes
2007 Fantastic Parasuicides Min-ho Main role
August Rush Clarinet player Cameo appearance; uncredited


Year Title Role Network Notes
2004 Epik High's Love and Delusion Himself
Series regular
2005 Nonstop Tablo
Main role; season 5
2007 High Kick! Teacher
Cameo appearance (Episode 150)
2008 Woman of Matchless Beauty Himself
Cameo appearance (Episodes 7 & 8)
Music Bank Co-host
Alongside Kim Sung-eun and Min Seo-hyun
2009 Mnet Director's Cut Himself
Television movie
Come To Play Himself
Ep 262 - Movement Special
2010 Happy Together Himself
Celebrity guest (Season 3, Episode 144)
Happy Birthday Himself
Series regular
2012 Strong Heart Himself
Celebrity guest alongside YG Family
Healing Camp, Aren't You Happy Himself
Celebrity guest (November 5th)
2013 The Return of Superman Himself
Series Regular
2014 Show Me the Money 3 Himself
2015 Show Me the Money 4 Himself

Music videos[edit]

Year Music video Length Album Official MV on YouTube
2011 Bad (나쁘다) 4:07 Fever's End: Part 1 (열꽃) YGTablo
Tomorrow (Feat. Taeyang) 4:14 Fever's End: Part 2 (열꽃) YGTablo


Year Award-Giving Body Category Work Result
2011 Mnet Asian Music Awards Best Rap Performance[48] "Bad" Nominated


  1. ^ 타블로 "중학교 퇴학 당했다. 고등학교 때도 퇴학 위기.." (in Korean). Aisa-e. September 9, 2009. 
  2. ^ 세 자녀 모두 美명문대 보낸 타블로 어머니 김국애 원장 (in Korean). 《레이디 경향》. September 8, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "Tablo interview on music" (in Korean). 2007-02-28. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  4. ^ "Tablo's Dreaming Radio" (in Korean). Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Tablo is replacing HaHa". Allkpop. 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "interview" (in Korean). Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  7. ^ a b "Tablo biography & interview" (in Korean). Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  8. ^ "Tablo's homepage" (in Korean). Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  9. ^ Lah, Jung (May 24, 2002). "Straight Outta...Seoul?". The Stanford Daily. Archived from the original on May 19, 2008. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Abbott, Kate (September 27, 2010). "Korean pop star battles attacks on Stanford record". The Stanford Daily. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Davis, Joshua (July–August 2011). "The Persecution of Daniel Lee". Stanford Magazine (Stanford University). 
  12. ^ "interview on degrees" (in Korean). 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  13. ^ a b "Tablo on YSMM". YouTube. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Epik High: Albums". Map the Soul, Inc. October 5, 2005. 
  15. ^ "Epik High to expand into Japan with sample CD". Arirang TV. March 12, 2007. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  16. ^ "2007 total sales" (in Korean). eDaily. January 2008. 
  17. ^ "Epik High Soars to New Heights". The Korea Times. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  18. ^ Hip-hop star leaps into short fiction to express his art. Retrieved on 2009-04-13
  19. ^ Libro Book Review
  20. ^ "Epik High - Hon: Map the Soul". KoME U.S.A. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  21. ^ ease Date: September 16, 2009, from
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ "YESASIA: Epik High Special Album - Epilogue CD - Epik High, Mnet Media - Korean Music - Free Shipping - North America Site". Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  24. ^ Melo. "인터뷰". Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  25. ^ Netizens file injunction against Tablo program 09-29, 2010 <The Korea Herald>
  26. ^ Prosecution looks into Tablo allegations 08-27, 2010 <The Korea Herald >
  27. ^ Transcript 2<Joongangdaily>
  28. ^ Transcript 1<Joonganddaily>
  29. ^ a b Davis, Joshua (April 24, 2012). "The Stalking of Korean Hip Hop Star Daniel Lee". Wired. Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  30. ^ "Tablo explains 'Born Hater' was not meant to criticize former label, Woollim Entertainment". Allkpop. October 30, 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2015. 
  31. ^ "[Ÿ] Ÿο 䱸մϴ(ι°)". Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  32. ^ "Tablo Signs With YG For November Comeback". HanCinema. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  33. ^ "Epik High's Tablo Joins YG Family". Asia Pacific Arts. 2011-09-28. 
  34. ^ "Tablo reveals "Airbag" ft/ Naul". Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  35. ^ "Tablo releases Part 1 of "Fever's End" album". Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  36. ^ "Epik High to return this September". allkpop. 2012-07-25. 
  37. ^ "Tablo to Babysit Haru on ‘Superman is Back’". Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  38. ^ "Tablo to return as radio DJ". The Korea Times. 2014-04-15. 
  39. ^ "Korea-China collaboration: TABLO works with top artist ZHOU BICHANG". 2014-04-10.  |article= ignored (help)
  40. ^ Kuang, Robert. "YG Entertainment Delays Epik High's 'Born Hater' Music Video Release Due To Pangyo Techno Valley Festival Tragedy". KpopStarz. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  41. ^ James, Lily. "YG Entertainment Launches Promotions For New K-Pop Group iKON Following The Success Of Reality TV Survival Band WINNER". kpopztarz. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  42. ^ "Tablo and Kang Hye Jung release wedding photos". Allkpop. October 26, 2009. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  43. ^ "Tablo and Kang Hye Jung become parents of a baby daughter". Allkpop. May 2, 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  44. ^ a b c 타블로 (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 
  45. ^ a b c "Tablo: Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved April 1, 2012. 
  46. ^ "Fever's End: Part 1 by Tablo". iTunes. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  47. ^ "Fever's End: Part 2 by Tablo". iTunes. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  48. ^ "2011Mnet Asian Music Awards part 1". MAMA. Retrieved 2015-01-20.

[1]External links[edit]

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