Big Bang: K-Pop Icons, Kings, and Legends

“We have been proud of the fact that we’re known for our music first and it has been what has makes us work harder.” – G-Dragon

Big Bang is a K-pop boy band created in 2006 after YE Entertainment found the members through a TV series titled Big Bang Documentary. Its members are G-Dragon, Taeyang, T.O.P., Daesung, and Seungri. With four of the five members already enlisted in the army, and Seungri enlisting later this year, let’s look back at their legacy and how they earned the title “The Kings of K-pop.”

Article by Rebecca Fultz

The formation of the group was chronicled on Big Bang Documentary, which was aired both on television and online (GomTV and MTV Korea). The documentary aired from July to August in 2006. The legends in training then debuted at YG’s 10th anniversary concert held on August 19, 2006 at the Seoul Olympic Gymnastics Gym. The members all had relative success before they debuted. G-Dragon and Taeyang had been trainees at YG since they were 12, T.O.P. was a famous rapper in the underground rap scene known as T.EM.P.O, and Seungri appeared on the variety show Let’s Cokeplay: Mnet Battle Shinhwa, where Shinwa was looking for members for the “second generation of Shinhwa.”

Big Bang has been nominated for a total of 183 awards and have won 130 of those nominations. Notable awards among them include: Most Influential Group in Asia from Gaon Chart Music Awards in 2015, Artist of the Year from Melon Music Awards in 2015, Artist of the Year in 2012 and 2015 from Mnet Asian Music Awards. As well as World’s Best Group, Live Act (for their Big Bang Alive Galaxy Tour), and Song (for “Fantastic Baby”) all from the 2014 World Music Awards.

Credit: YG Entertainment

Now more about the members who made this band possible:

  • G-Dragon (Kwon Ji-yong) was born August 18, 1988 in Yongsan District, Seoul, South Korea. He has been in the entertainment industry since the age of 6. He is a singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, fashion designer, and an entrepreneur. He is the leader, main rapper, vocalist, and face of the group. He has been nominated for 92 awards and has won 55 of them. He is considered a genius songwriter and has been credited with writing over 170 songs as of 2018 from the Korean Music Copyright Association.
  • T.O.P. (Choi Seung-hyun) was born November 4, 1987 in Gangnam District, Seoul, South Korea. He is the lead rapper, vocalist, and visual for the group. Outside of Big Bang he is an accomplished actor, record producer, and singer-songwriter. He has won 9 awards for his acting. He has also helped write songs for Big Bang such as “Flower Road,” “Last Dance,” “Bang Bang Bang,” and “Bad Boy.”
  • Taeyang (Dong Young-bae) was born May 18, 1988 in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. He is the main vocalist and main dancer for the group. In 2008, he released an EP titled Hot, it was critically acclaimed and won the award for Best R&B and Soul Album at the 6th Korean Music Award. He has been labelled as the Korean “Prince of R&B.” He has released three studio albums and has gone on two solo world tours in 2014 and 2017.
  • Daesung (Kang Daesung) was born April 26, 1989 in Incheon, South Korea. He is the lead vocalist. In 2008, he released his first single “Look at me, Gwisoon.” In that same year, he appeared as Rum Tum Tugger in the Korean production of Cats. In 2013, he released his first solo Japanese album D’scover. He would later perform 4 solo concerts in Kobe and Tokyo to promote the album but, due to popular demand, 21 more concerts were added in over 17 cities. In 2014, he held a second tour in Japan.
  • Seungri (Lee Seung-hyun) was born on December 12, 1990 in Gwangsan District, Gwangju, South Korea. He is the lead dancer, vocalist, and maknae. He is a singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur. In 2009, he acted in Why Did You Come To My House? and Nineteen. His first extended play was released on January 20, 2011 titled VVIP with two singles “VVIP” and “What Can I Do?” He composed and wrote six out of the seven songs on the EP. His second EP, Let’s Talk About Love, took over two years to complete and he was again heavily involved in the process. Outside of acting, he launched a Japanese ramen restaurant franchise called Aori Ramen in Seoul in December of 2016.
Credit: YG Entertainment

Over the years, members of Big Bang have had scandals that made it seem like they would never have the same success that they continue to have.

  • In 2009, G-dragon was accused of plagiarizing Flo Rida’s Right Round. In 2011, he also tested positive for marijuana. Since it was just a small amount and his first offence, however, he was not charged.
  • That same year, Daesung ran over a motorcyclist who later died, but he was found not guilty for the death.
  • In 2012, Seungri was involved in a sex scandal, and in 2017 T.O.P. was indicted for smoking marijuana. A couple of days later, he was found unconscious from overdosing on prescribed tranquilizers. He was charged and plead guilty to smoking marijuana.

Despite the scandals and the hate they have received, they have persevered and thrived as a group. Their love of music and their brotherhood has helped them through it all and with the love of devoted fans continue to make music and change the K-pop industry. It will be two years before they are all reunited and I honestly am excited for the projects that will come up, the music that will be written, sung, and performed, and I hope one day I can see them in concert.

Credit: YE Entertainment

I hope that they know that they are loved and that their music gives so many fans hope when they are hopeless, helps them find their way when they are lost, and makes them genuinely happy.

What do you miss the most about Big Bang? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured image credit: YG Entertainment

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