EXCLUSIVE Interview with Topp Dogg

Cigarette Concept Photo

With the hip-hop genre taking a firm grasp within the K-pop world, it wasn’t long till a super group was formed to deliver something new that only this generation of artist can do. Rather than taking a step into the past and reliving the footsteps of their predecessors, this group has mixed comedy, aggression, extreme dancing skills and the Korean culture into their own styling. Korean music company Stardom Entertainment is no stranger to the world of hip-hop, with Cho PD being the CEO and known as one of the biggest and influential hip-hop musicians and producers in the industry it was obvious we would see big things from the company.

Right now Stardom Entertainment is the home of the rookie hip-hop girl group EVOL, but recently Cho PD set out on a new adventure by releasing a 13 member super hip-hop boy group under the name of Topp Dogg. It features sub-groups consisting of Dragon: P-Goon and SangdoKnight: Kidoh, Nakta, and A-tom; Lion: Yano, Jenissi, Seogoong, and Gohn; and lastly Wizard: Hojoon, B-Joo, Hansol, and Xero. There has also been a new recent development of three hidden members going by the name of Under Dogg consisting of Andy, who did the raps for the Chinese release of “Say It” off of their repackaged album Cigarette, and two mysterious other members who have not yet been announced.

The boys are currently promoting their new repackaged mini album and title song “Arario“, where a mix of traditional cultural Korean music, rapping, and modern pop music are arranged into perfect harmony. Until now no other Korean group have tried this specific kind of mixture in their music or performances; this is something completely unique and fun. Something that really caught my eye about their physical album was their collaboration with the webtoon artist Ha Il Kwon and the creation of Yu Gi Oh!-esque playing cards of each member. This time the concept is fantasy and will be based on each member’s very own personalities which will also be portrayed in their future activities and in the promotion of their sub-units.

The boys took some time out of their busy schedule to sit down and hold an exclusive interview with MCM Buzz.


Q: The hip-hop scene is a huge genre that is taking over the Korean music scene at the moment, if not by music, at least by fashion. What is it about the hip-hop scene that really appeals to you all?
Topp Dogg: Our entertainment agency started as a ‘Hip-Hop Label’. Cho PD, who is now our CEO, and Hallyu star PSY also started out in the hip-hop scene from Stardom. Therefore hip-hop is the genre Topp Dogg wants to do the most.

Q: After watching and following Topp Dogg from debut till now, we have seen each member show off a personality trait. If you could swap your personality with another member whose would you pick and why?
Topp Dogg:
The rappers want to learn the Wizard unit’s performance that has Xero, B-Joo, Hansol, and Hojoon in it. Whereas the Wizard unit are interested in Kidoh or Jenissi’s rap. Each of them has their pros and cons.

Q: The media compares Topp Dogg with Super Junior and the likes of EXO. Fans aren’t happy with this, so what is it that makes you completely unique from other boy groups?
Topp Dogg:
You can consider Topp Dogg as having 13 separate artists in a group with 13 members. It is similar to those hip-hop crews in the scene but we have the advantage in that we can do a performance with 13 people. If you want to see Topp Dogg’s own characteristics, you should focus on each unit’s promotional activities.

Q: Every idol has their own inspiration to be where they are now. In the case of Topp Dogg members, who are the icons that inspire you?
Topp Dogg: We are inspired by Big Bang. We want to look up to their musical spectrum and performances, as well as their group and solo activities.

Q: Your new release of Arario has a lot of Korean cultural elements to the song. Whilst watching and listening to the song off the album it really felt like you was trying to educate your fans about your culture. Was this something you intended?
Topp Dogg: Honestly, we started Arario with Topp Dogg’s rappers attempting to write entertaining lyrics when we received the song. The music came out a lot better than we thought so we changed the melody a bit by putting in traditional colour based on the lyrics.

Q: What is the hardest part of being a leader to 13 people?
P-Goon: It is hard to lead everyone by myself because there are so many people. I feel a lot of responsibility.


Q: If the world was ending and you could only save one other member, who would you choose and why?
P-Goon: This is a fun question, I have to think for this one. I want to give a funny answer, so I choose Sangdo, because he is in the same Dragon unit as me.

Q: Kidoh is a producer of music as well as a rapper. How long does it take you to make a piece of music? 
Kidoh: It depends on the situation. Inspiration is more important than technicality for producing. When I find inspiration, I sketch it fast. But it takes a while to finish it.

Q: You come over really confident on the screen and stage, but how nervous were you about debuting? Are you all still nervous or are you as confident as you seem?
Hansol: We were very nervous for our debut stage. We made a lot of mistakes. But we have gotten a lot better. We still get nervous for every new title song, but I am getting more used to the stage and the TV stations.

Q: Since wizards are supposed to have powers, if you were to be a super hero for one day, who would you want to be and why?
B-Joo: I want to be Green Lantern. I think it’s interesting to use every hero’s abilities.

Q: Who makes the most mistakes in the group? (Question by Lissa Wu)
Topp Dogg: Topp Dogg’s Lion unit is known as a unit that cannot dance.

Q: How do each of the members spend their free time when not promoting or when they don’t have schedules? (Question by MiMi)
Topp Dogg: We usually sleep. We are sleep deprived because we’re always too busy.

It was an absolute pleasure to get the chance to speak with Topp Dogg, and I can see the group going to the top with their future releases. Their style is unique and they have charm both as a group, as sub units and as individuals. Hopefully they will one day consider the UK as a place to hold a concert, as I’m sure they have a lot to give to their European fans. The physical album will be out on February 24th, but for now sit back and enjoy their culture smashing music video for their new release “Arario“.

Thank you to Carrissa B for translations.

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