G-Dragon and Top: ‘Rappers Acknowledge Our Instinctive Hip Hop’

# Entertainment 2011.02.07 View : 1009

G-Dragon and Top released a duet album, which has already sold as many as 150,000 copies, and four songs included in the album became great hits. Two members of the group Big Bang, G-Dragon (Kwon Ji Yong, 23) and Top (Choi Seung Hyun, 24), who we met at a café in Yeouido for an interview, discussed their first duet album entitled “GD&TOP,” saying, “We had made music using our heads before, but this time, we made songs using our hearts. G-Dragon, who has sharp voice, and a rapper Top, who has heavy and low voice, created a beautiful harmony like a tenor and bass in vocal music. Big Bang has shown popular songs including rapping, but two members added various genre songs like electronic, disco, and rock to hip hop base in their duet album. They even included a song that sounds like underground music. As they included various music genres in their album, a sense of confidence could be found in their album. Thanks to this new challenge, four songs included in the album -- “Oh Yeah,” ”High High,” ”Knock Out,” and “Don’t Go Home” -- all became hits at the same time, and the order volume exceeded 150,000 copies. They said, “The great thing is that we could be acknowledged by people who had criticized us by saying that we were not real rappers. Underground rappers also changed their thoughts about us. We think that we could change the prejudice towards hip hop, which has not been mainstream music, thanks to our consistent trials for hip hop even though we were idol group members.”

◇"Thanks to our individuality and free way of thinking” = Two rappers show off their strong personalities in terms of music, performance, and fashion on the stage. That is how they have created a new trend. They explained the reason, saying, “This is thanks to our individuality and free way of thinking.” Unlike other idol groups, they produce their own music, and they have their own unique way of making music. G-Dragon explained, “As soon as I wake up in the morning, I go to my studio. I have breakfast in there and make music when something comes up into my head. If nothing comes up with, I just play video games and dance. I usually stand up all night in the studio, but the actual time for creating music might be less than one hour.” Top also explained, “I do not think that I am working. I write down the lyrics while we are having conversations. I record songs when I want to. We add our own styles to the music whenever we work at the studio, and this is why our music sounds so free.” They also feel pain from creating. G-Dragon said, “Inspiration has not always come to us. Once when I had been forced to make music with inspiration, I felt like working on something very hard. But this time we made songs with excitement as if we had become writers in an improv theater work where actors create the stories while acting.” They presented dramatic changes in every performance and fashion on their stage. They changed every detail of their performance depending on the different stage setting and lighting. The two members said, “These days, singers cannot be successful only with their good appearance or good music. Successful singers have to present things to watch and things to talk for attracting the public. For people who always want something new, we change our performance every time, and we present various styles of fashion like a 'show book' in a fashion show. We always want to be looked upon as fresh and new.”

◇"We wanted to break the prejudice that rap music was difficult.” = They created songs without minding others, so their songs had been censored by deliberative bodies. The song “Knock Out” and “Don’t Go Hope” had been prohibited from broadcasting as they contained vulgar language and lascivious language. But they did not modify the songs to keep the original. G-Dragon said, “I thought that presenting a satisfactory song to our music fans was much more meaningful than passing the censors in the broadcasting companies. Actually, the broadcasting companies could have had preconceptions about me as I am not a type of model student (laugh). I made the lyric “Knock Out” by drawing inspiration from the script of the drama ‘My Name is Kim Sam Soon,’ and I wonder why the same word is acceptable in the drama, but unacceptable in the song.” Even though they have been criticized by some people, their music seemed to try to make experimental attempts in many ways. The song “Knock Out,” which famous DJ and music producer Diplo composed, added a rap beat to the monotonous track and it became a good hip hop song. The song “Baby Good Night” added acoustic guitar-playing and a dreamlike rap, Top’s solo song “Oh Mom” added a rock sound, and G-Dragon’s solo song “What Do You Want?” mixed in a rock 'n roll rhythm. They said, “I wanted to break the prejudice of people thinking ‘Two rappers might just present raps that are hard to understand.’ We have our own characteristics, but we could create a whole new style by mixing our different characters.”

◇"Big Bang’s new song will be warm rock music.” = The two members will join Big Bang after finishing their activities as a duet in the middle of the month. Big Bang will release a new album on February 24 and hold a large-scale concert entitled “2011 Big Show” with 40,000 audience members at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena from February 25 until 27. They said, “Big Bang’s new album has almost been completed. Big Bang’s music has been very cheerful and lyrical so far, but this time we added rock. These days, people seem to find something interesting that can make them laugh and it might come from many accidents and incidents that happened last year, so we are going to present warm and cheerful music for those people rather than heavy and electronic music.” They continued, “The performances made by Big Bang will be very exciting. Actually we do not know what is inside us. When some people say someone is very suitable for the stage, it means that they show off everything hidden inside on the stage. We think that we become completely different people on the stage and become a kind of fool outside the stage (laugh).” Big Bang, which is also very popular in Japan, will go to Japan from May to July after finishing activities in Korea with their new album. G-Dragon said, “We want to promote ourselves in Japan in earnest, so we will live there for three months. After coming back to Korea, we will hold performances in Korea until the end of this year. Many world-class music composers have participated in producing our new album, so I think that it will become a turning point for Big Bang.”

◇ "Our dreams came true, but we lost our image,” = Big Bang debuted in 2006 and received great love from people, but there must have been some loss and gain in their lives. They explained, “Since our job is to express our emotions, we think that we come to have great mood in our ordinary days and we lost ourselves. But we gained great love with our new experiences.” G-Dragon, who has begun activities as a singer in his early days, said, “I have become a singer who receives great love from people as I have always wanted to come from the past. I will be very satisfied if there is someone who wants to have a dream of becoming a singer by looking at me, but surely I lost my image. I am actually a kind of a 'good fox' type, but I found out that I have the image of a picky, ill-mannered fox to some people.”


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