For the first solo artist to feature on my Top Ten lists, I could really only choose one person. In many ways, G-Dragon represents the epitome of kpop — endlessly creative, wildly influential as a fashion icon, and charismatic to a fault. He’s the brains behind most of Bigbang’s best songs, but his solo career is often even more entertaining. He’s the first hallyu star I completely fell in love with, and still the king of kpop.
10. G-Market Party (2010)
Only G-Dragon could turn a song that’s essentially an extended advertisement for a website into something so funky and irresistibly catchy.
9. Breathe (2009)
With its heavy use of vocoder, Breathe presented a fresh, breezy pop track to counter some of his more attitude-charged work. It’s still one of his lightest, most colorful singles.
8. Coup De’tat (2013)
A stark, trap-influenced hip-hop track that plays like a slow-motion fever dream. It’s GD at his most experimental and out there.
7. Who You? (2013)
An underrated single that reinvents G-Dragon in crooning, boyband style. That chorus is deceptively infectious, spotlighting his chameleon-like vocal ability.
6. Heartbreaker (2009)
The song that galvanized his solo career, with its jagged production and sneering melody. It may not be his most artistically mature work, but it represents an undeniable turning point for his music.
5. Crayon (2012)
An insanely quotable explosion of candy-colored hip hop. It’s impossible to fully separate from its bonkers cartoonish music video, but that climactic, chorused refrain stands on its own.
4. That XX (2012)
It’s rare for G-Dragon to sing an entire song, and even here his vocals are a mix of melody and hip-hop, but his impish, emotive tone raises That XX far above similar ballads.
3. A Boy (2009)
G-Dragon’s debut album was filled with great tracks, but none worked better than the underrated A Boy. Fueled by an old school hip-pop sound, the song’s bright production touches lead effortlessly toward one of the best hooks of his career.
2. One Of A Kind (2012)
Artists like GD exist on bravado, and none of his tracks represents this vibe better than One Of A Kind. Over a spare, elastic beat, he shows us exactly why he is one of Korea’s most interesting rappers. The song holds surprises at every turn, anchored by the sheer force of his personality.
1. Crooked (2013)
I wrote about this song in detail for my Legendary Songs feature, but there’s simply no overstating how powerfully awesome Crooked is. Though hip hop is often his chosen genre, G-Dragon has the swagger, delivery and fashion of a true rocker. Rarely has that been showcased as strongly as it is here. (full review)