Since 2006, there has been a name synonymous with the music scene in South Korea, one that was the inspiration for a legion of rising artists and has paved the way for the global phenomenon that K-Pop has become today: BIGBANG. And Choi Seung-hyun, or T.O.P, is one of the men who turned them into a household name.
It almost feels like a Miranda Sings mantra to list off everything T.O.P has done (and done well): dancer, actor, model, rapper, singer, art collector, entrepreneur, and brand ambassador. The man has mastered it all. And he’s done so while maintaining the same goofy and humble persona that first endeared him to fans so many years ago.
So, let’s take a look back over Tabi’s career, celebrate his milestones, and catch up to where he is today. Because we all know that T.O.P is just short for King Midas, and anything that he touches is bound to turn to gold.
T.O.P, The Musician: “I breathe life into your ear drums, This is a message to seduce you, Turn it up loud, Turn it up loud”
Anyone who has heard of BIGBANG knows of their impact. From their debut in 2006 to their comeback in 2022, they have been seen as heavy hitters in an industry that they helped create. And Seung-hyun deserves a large slice of credit for their success with either composing, producing, or writing credits on over 60 known songs in his (solo and BIGBANG) discography. He’s amassed over 135 awards across the span of his career and performed before virtually millions of fans live, from sold-out stadium tours across the globe.
With his trademark deep voice and lyricism that always manages to take your breath, T.O.P is an artist that is hard to forget once discovered. And, with his promise of new music on the horizon via interviews with the likes of NME and Prestige, all we can do is wait, knowing that the world is not ready for the talent that is about to be unleashed upon it. And by the world, we mean us. We’re not ready.
But, don’t take our word for the global success that is Choi Seung-hyun. These handy graphics outlining his awards should speak much louder. And these aren’t including ‘Still Life,’ which is currently nominated for several awards.
Image Source: Alexa and Brittaney for the THP Graphics Team, Photograph by Jin Yong Yoon for Prestige Magazine
T.O.P, The Movie Star: “A star has entered treat him well T.O.P class”
And, of course, Choi Seung-hyun’s IMDb is as impressive as his discography. The man can and has done it all. He is not resting until he’s received as many accolades in this field, tucking a whopping nine prestigious awards for his performances on the silver screen under his belt.
T.O.P, The Art Collector: “Da Vinci has come back to life, yea my brain”
Anyone who knows of T.O.P knows of his love for art, and his collection appears to be one of the legendary proportions. That only makes sense, considering he is a legend himself. And our favorite rapper is as well-known in the art community for his passion and expertise. In fact, in 2015, he was the recipient of the Visual Culture Award and has curated several collections, including one for Sotheby’s. He was also the first ever K-pop artist to be listed as one of the top 200 art collectors in the world!
Seung-hyun has been quoted as stating that he wants to open a museum one day to share his collection. All we know is that this kind of action will inspire generations of his fans to develop a new and deeper understanding of the impact and influence art has on both society and the individual.
T.O.P, The Entrepreneur: “I’m the sommelier who will change your taste”
And sure, T.O.P is bound to have wealth based on his impressive music career alone, but he’s told us that he spent over 90% of his income through the years on art. But music isn’t his sole source of income, so we don’t have to worry about him being art-poor just yet. He’s also on T.O.P of his business and is a savvy investor.
Leave it to T.O.P to capitalize on the exposure granted him by BIGBANG’s long-awaited comeback by placing the brand of his soon-to-launch wine label on the back of his jacket in the ‘Still Life’ music video. No one amongst his fans had a clue what it meant until he announced the launch of his own wine label a few weeks later.
T’Spot Wine is expected to launch in December 2022, and while we’ve always enjoyed a nice red, we’ll be buying our bottle and placing it next to our BIGBANG lightstick on our book shelf. Some things are simply meant to be cherished.
T.O.P, The Philanthropist: “A good person more and more, A better person more and more”
T.O.P is a savvy businessman, and that’s been proven time and again. But, he’s more than that, silently putting his money where his mouth is, over and over through the years. He communicated to us in the ‘Still Life’ music video that he wants to be “a good person more and more,” and a quick look at his actions through the years tell us he already is.
Through the years (that we know of), T.O.P has silently contributed to charities, from donating art from his personal collection to a charity auction with Sotheby’s to donating 100 million South Korean won to COVID-19 relief. That’s not counting the works for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, charity dinners and events he’s been spotted at, and his general desire to spread education and empowerment through art.
His Relationship With His Fans: “Flowers of 100,000 colors, All of them in full bloom, they’re called ‘you'”
Discussing T.O.P’s love for his fans should be easy. It’s simply a matter of repeating different instances and encounters with him through the years, from the time he tricked the press into thinking he was going to appear at a different location upon his discharge and instead showing up to have a private meeting with his fans, to the way he constantly shares their edits and memes, encourages their creativity and interacts with them on his Instagram.
But the truth is, it’s not easy. Having been his fan for well over a decade, it’s almost impossible to find words to express how important a single person can become to you, especially when they’ve always made you feel like you are more than a number. And Choi Seung-hyun has always done that. He always will.
He posted on his Instagram earlier this year that he loves his band and he loves his fans. If there is one thing we will never question, it’s that.
With More On The Horizon: “A round-trip ship running, risking its life to start anew”
We don’t know where T.O.P plans to go next, from this ‘Flower Road’ that has been scattered with the petals of our shared past. But, what we do know is that whatever path he chooses, he will be the one carving it out for the rest to follow. And we know that we’ll be there to support him all the way.
Do you love T.O.P as much as we do? Tell us about it in the comments below. Or, you can find us anywhere where socials exist by searching @thehoneypop!