Stage Name: G-Dragon, GD (지드래곤) Birth Name: Kwon Ji Yong (권지용) Birthday: August 18, 1988 Hometown: Seoul, South Korea Nationality: Korean Debut: August 19, 2006 Position: Leader, Main vocalist, Main rapper
G-Dragon is the leader of YG Entertainment Kpop group BIGBANG. G-Dragon began his career from a very young age, joining a performance group called “Little Roo’Ra” at age 5. The group was dropped by the label not long after their debut, and G-Dragon reportedly vowed that he would never become a singer again. That was until he was recruited by an SM Entertainment talent scout while on a skiing trip with his family. G-Dragon trained under SM for five years (from ages 8-13) before dropping out due to the fact that he was unclear about what he wanted to be when he grew up.
In elementary school, G-Dragon discovered Wu-Tang Clan and was inspired to learn the art of rap. In 2001 he participated in the release of the Korean hip-hop album, Hip-Hop Flex. The release caught the attention of Korean hip-hop duo Jinusean, who recommended G-Dragon to YG Entertainment CEO Yang Hyun Suk. G-Dragon signed a contract with the company and spent his first year as a trainee there cleaning the studio and fetching water for the label’s senior artists.
G-Dragon and fellow eventual BIGBANG member Dong Yong Bae (AKA Taeyang) were reportedly supposed to debut as a hip-hop unit called DGYB. Instead, G-Dragon debuted as the leader of BIGBANG after 6 years of training at YG. His BIGBANG stage name G-Dragon is derived from his birth name, Ji Yong. “Yong” means “dragon” in Korean, and “Ji” is pronounced like the English letter “G”.
Since his August 2006 debut with BIGBANG, G-Dragon has made a name for himself as a solo artist and producer. He produced Taeyang’s debut solo album Hot before releasing his own solo album, Heartbreaker in August 2009. The album did extremely well, selling over 200,000 copies in Korea and winning the “Album of the Year” award at the Mnet Asian Music Awards. He held his first solo concert at Seoul Olympic Park in December 2009, sparking controversy for his use of obscenity and suggestive content.
In November of 2010, G-Dragon teamed up with fellow BIGBANG member T.O.P to form a subunit called GD&TOP. The two released an album with three lead singles: “High High”, “Oh Yeah”, and “Knock Out”. The album sold over 200,000 copies in pre-orders alone, and all three singles did well on Korea’s music charts.
In October of 2011, G-Dragon tested positive for marijuana use. Though his initial urine sample came back negative, a weak positive came back with his hair sample. Due to the fact that it was his first offense with a small amount, G-Dragon was indicted but not charged. G-Dragon claimed that he was handed a cigarette by a fan at a party in Japan, and that after realizing it was not a normal cigarette he threw it away. The incident resulted in a temporary hiatus, but due to the fact that he was not convicted G-Dragon did not lose any endorsements.
G-Dragon came back with a new single entitled “One of a Kind” and an album of the same title in August of 2012. He followed the single’s release with “That XX”, and released the full EP days later to critical acclaim. The album took the number one spot on various music charts all over the world and sold over 200,000 copies. In 2013 G-Dragon released his second full-length album, Coup D’etat, which featured a myriad of artists from all over the world, including Missy Elliott, Diplo, Baauer, Boys Noize, Sky Ferreira, future BLACKPINK member Jennie Kim and more. Coup D’etat earned G-Dragon a multitude of awards, including “Best Male Solo Artist”, “Best Music Video”, “Best Dance Performance”, and “Artist of the Year” at the 15th Mnet Asian Music Awards.
In November 2014, G-Dragon teamed up with fellow BIGBANG member Taeyang for a single entitled “Good Boy”. The song was extremely popular, earning 1.1 million downloads in Korea alone. Later that same year he released a collaboration with fellow YG label mate CL, and DJs Diplo and Skrillex. Most recently, G-Dragon launched his own fashion line, PEACEMINUSONE, in October of 2016.
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