Stage Name: Tablo (타블로) Birth Name: Daniel Armand Lee, Lee Seon Woong (이선웅) Birthday: July 22, 1980 Hometown: Seoul, South Korea Nationality: Canadian-Korean Debut: October 21, 2003 Position: Leader, producer, rapper
Tablo is the leader of the Korean hip-hop trio Epik High and an accomplished producer, songwriter, and lyricist in his own right. Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tablo and his family moved frequently in his youth. After relocating the Hong Kong and Switzerland, Tablo's family returned to South Korea for a few years before permanently moving to Vancouver, Canada. Tablo was sent to Seoul International School after he was expelled from his school in Canada for pushing a kid down the stairs.
After graduating high school in Seoul, Tablo attended Stanford University, where he simultaneously earned his Bachelor's Degree in English literature, and a Master's Degree in creative writing in the span of just three years. From a young age Tablo suffered from bouts of depression, and used hip-hop and poetry as an outlet for his emotional frustrations. Despite its therapeutic effect, Tablo's father disapproved of him pursuing a career in music, and even after the release of Epik High's second album was pressuring Tablo into attending Stanford Law. Despite this, while in college Tablo was part of a hip-hop crew called "4n Objectz".
Tablo met Mithra Jin and DJ Tukutz in the Seoul underground hip-hop scene, and the trio joined forces to form Epik High. In 2003 Epik High signed with Woollim Entertainment and released their first official album in October of that year. Over the years, Tablo and Epik High would continually release highly acclaimed rap and hip-hop music, altering the genre and pushing the boundaries of Korea's mainstream music industry.
In 2009 Tablo married actress Kang Hyejung and the following year, their daughter Haru was born.
In 2010, Epik High announced a temporary hiatus due to the mandatory military enlistment of members DJ Tukutz and Mithra Jin. That year, Tablo became the victim of malicious rumors accusing him of not actually having graduated from Stanford University. An online community called "타블로에게 진실을 요구합니다 (We Demand the Truth from Tablo)" or "타진요 (Tajinyo)" for short, collected alleged evidence that Tablo could not have graduated with both Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from Stanford in a span of just three and a half years. Tablo posted his official transcript and school records online, but many still refused to believe him and called for him to release other documents of proof. As a result, Tablo went so far as to actually visit Stanford, where he had the registrar print out his school records, and professors and faculty attest to his academic accomplishments all on camera.
Despite Tablo's efforts, Tajinyo continued to grow by the day, accumulating as many as 190,000 more members following the Stanford broadcast. Tablo and his family (including his wife and newly born daughter) received death threats, forcing Tablo to become a recluse. He left Woollim Entertainment during the incident as the company didn't do much on his behalf, and because he didn't want the controversy to affect the company's new group Infinite, who had only recently debuted.
In October 2010, the Korean police obtained evidence directly from the university and confirmed that Tablo had indeed graduated from Stanford as he said. The South Korean police filed an international arrest warrant for the leader of Tajinyo, who turned out to be a 57-year-old Korean-American man residing in the United States. The Tajinyo website was shut down by Naver, and 22 netizens were persecuted for criminal defamation.
About a year after the Tajinyo fiasco, YG Entertainment announced that Tablo had signed a 4-year contract with the label, and the next month Tablo released his debut solo album Fever's End as a YG artist. Then, a year later in 2012, YG announced that all three members of Epik High had signed on and that they would be making their first group comeback in three years under YG Entertainment. The group made their comeback with a new album entitled 99, and have since also released their critically acclaimed eighth studio album, Shoebox.
Most recently, the members of Epik High established their own independent label under YG, HIGHGRND. Artists signed to the label include Hyukoh, The Black Skirts, Code Kunst, and more indie and underground hip-hop acts.
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