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Welcome to another segment of Saturday Spotlight! A series highlighting some of K-Pop's underappreciated nugu groups.
The Nugu Monday segment this week was on the girl group EvoL, and for this week's Saturday Spotlight, I'll be discussing their former labelmates Topp Dogg.
Now this selection may come as a bit of a surprise, as I'm sure a lot of you know and love Topp Dogg. However, Topp Dogg is a group that everyone knows of, but doesn't really know, if you get what I mean.
Pre-debut, there was a lot of hype around these guys and Stardom began teasing the group year and a half before their official debut. They released a pretty good pre-debut mixtape, with a bunch of solo songs by a number of the members, and they were heavily promoted. Topp Dogg had almost as much promotion as EXO did, with a never-ending slew of member teasers. In fact, due in part to the numbers of members of the group, they were being touted as EXO's rivals. EXO vs Topp Dogg was going to be the 'rivalry' of the new K-Pop generation.
That being said, now do you understand why Topp Dogg is still considered a nugu group? EXO is practically on another planet, whilst Topp Dogg has yet to leave the atmosphere. Why may you ask? Of no fault of Topp Dogg, but rather due to some of the absolute worst management and group mistreatment in the history of K-Pop brought to you in full by Stardom Entertainment. The guys who screwed over Block B, and ruined EvoL. But down to the gritty details.
Topp Dog made their debut on October 22, 2013, with the single 'Say It (Follow Me). And honestly, their debut was relatively forgettable and didn't match their confident lyrics at all. And it certainly wasn't the debut fitting of a group that's on top.
It's not bad per se. Topp Dogg debuted with a fierce concept, and it suits them well. The dance is pretty simple, but fits the fierce concept and has some pretty cool moves incorporated into it. But it was just remarkably average, and as far as fierce concept goes, BTS and B.A.P were doing them a lot better. So right out of the gate, Topp Dogg was off to a bad start.
Musically speaking, Topp Dogg improved significantly, releasing 6 EPs between 2013-2014, along with a solo mini-album from Kidoh, but for some reason, they never managed to make much headway and continued to remain relatively unnoiticed on the big stage.
Adding fuel to the fire, was Stardom's mismanagement of the group. I honestly don't understand the now-defunct company at all. On one hand, it seems like Stardom banked all their money on Topp Dogg, but at the same time treated them poorly. The members were underpaid just like Block B, they were supposed to have a World Tour, which never happened and afterward they kind of just sat around and didn't 't promote much. And there's the mistreatment just like what Block B went through as well.
In 2015, Stardom thankfully went under and was merged with Hunus Entertainment, but Topp Dogg's management problems didn't end there. They continued, and believe it or not, have worsened in some ways.
The first member to leave was Seogoong in March of 2015. A few months later, Leon left the group and company, citing physical and mental abuse from management and a member of Topp Dogg and even racism. Things were quickly going from bad to worse.
A few months after that, Kidoh and Gohn both wanted out, filing lawsuits against the company for mismanagement and underpay. What a surprise. Two more members gone. And as if all the member problems weren't bad enough, the group wasn't very active, only having 1 album in 2015, vanishing and then having one album in 2016. And before the end of 2016, Jenissi would leave the group as well.
In 2017, three more members, P-Goon, Nakta, and Hansol would also leave the group with only Hansol "possibly" returning to Hunus Entertainment, but not Topp Dogg.
2017 also saw member A-Tom temporarily leave the group, as he now promotes in the fan-made project group JBJ, where he has seen massive success; far more in less than a year than Topp Dogg ever has in 5. Very sad when you think about it, but it may be Topp Dogg's only glimmer of hope. It's no secret that Topp Dogg is not doing well. They've never been very commercially successful, both of their agencies are absolutely terrible, they aren't allowed to promote or do pretty much anything without express permission from Hunus, who don't really let them do anything. Once in a V Live stream, members of Topp Dogg asked their fans to beg Hunus to let them do more albums. What is Hunus thinking?
All we can hope for is that the popularity and success of JBJ follows A-Tom back to Topp Dogg. I honestly can't say I'd be surprised if Topp Dogg disbanded soon. Lots of members leave, combines with long hiatuses that the group can't afford and an inept agency is a recipe for disaster. All we can really do is hope for a miracle and for the remaining members of Topp Dogg to be given a chance to shine.
Topp Dogg Kidoh 'Taxi on the phone': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HDD-hoXlBA
Topp Dogg 'Annie' MV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjuQlblzVRg
Topp Dogg 'Arario' MV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ascOzpuacLY
Jenissi ft Yano 'Star': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZmenVuHJ6w
Yano Yanobout Me: Fiction Mixtape: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuHm8uFKctM
Kidoh 작은 앨범 Mini-Album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXidavDaC00
Jenissi True Be Honest Album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UBn_YQfaM4
Hojoon 'Back Then': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDTkayhpMsA
Hojoon & Sangdo 'You': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd6AGul-DKE

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vvv07   2 years ago
that video quality.....
2 years ago
Honey   2 years ago
Yes, I remember Topp Dogg in its prime. I was actually following them since their debut in 2013, they had some really amazing songs. I believe it all went downstream since Kidoh's and Gohn's lawsuits. The group was never the same after so many members left and I personally doubt, that they will be able to recover. I'm not even sure, if I wanted that to be honest - it may be for the best, if they all went their separate ways and focused on each other. I know it may sound cruel, but I don't see them coming back, no matter how much I would like that.
2 years ago