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Last month, YG Entertainment announced that the rapper has decided to part ways with the agency after 16 years. At the time, the company said that T.O.P had discussed his decision to end his contract with the group’s members, but noted that he would be involved in future group activities “whenever possible”.
However, the rapper has since shared his doubts about his future with Big Bang in a new interview with Prestige Hong Kong, where he spoke about getting “too old” to be a K-pop idol and his desire to challenge himself with solo music.
“From the beginning, I’ve always shared with my fans that I’m fully proud that I am T.O.P of Big Bang,” he said. “But in the last few years, I was starting to think that maybe this was the end, and maybe there won’t be T.O.P of Big Bang for a while,” he says.
The rapper adds that while he is always open to a reunion with Big Bang – T.O.P is set to join Big Bang for their long-awaited comeback as quartet later this year after all – but that it might be the group’s final release for the foreseeable future.
“I really don’t want to say [the upcoming comeback] is my last. But even more frankly, it might be a long while until I come back as T.O.P of Big Bang,” he said. “Over those five years, our music tastes and activities probably differed a lot, and now Big Bang music and T.O.P’s music are quite different. I’m at the stage in my life where I want to awaken to fresh new challenges, stimuli and transition.”
T.O.P. later explained that he is currently focusing on solo music, which he says has been in the works for quite some time. “I’ve been saying to my fans since my debut that I’ve been planning to come back with a solo album sometime in the future, whenever I feel ready,” he shared. “Now, I feel ready.”
The rapper added that his first solo record is due out “soon”, and revealed that the songs featured on the album were written over the past five years. “It will be my very first journey of sharing who I really am,” he elaborated.
“You’ll be surprised, because I’ve been recording continuously during the hiatus, and there’ll be a lot of different genres included in the album. All the songs are from my pure heart – I spent a lot of sweat and effort to make this album possible.”
Big Bang’s upcoming new music will also be their first release as a quartet, following the depature of ex-member Seungri. The former K-pop idol had left the group and the entertainment industry in 2019, due to his involvement in the Burning Sun scandal.