TOP Poses for Harper’s Bazaar–Cigs and All

There have been rumors of a Big Bang shakeup, and I believe this photo spread of our favourite deep-voiced Korean rapper (well, mine at least) may be a bit more evidence of that. Not saying that members of other K-pop boybands don’t smoke (as I’ve heard they do!), but I do think TOP’s photo spread is one of the first unabashed displays of it, which may hint to a push for individualism (away from Big Bang), which may hint to…plans of a solo career? What do you guys think?

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Who I am Bitofabelly81 aka boab81, founder of Black Women Love Bi (BWLB): An Asian Men Appreciation Blog Why Because I love Bi/Rain/비/Jung Jihoon. I have never been inspired to start a blog/site for any celebrity/public figure, until I learned about Bi. He is the whole reason this blog exists. If it weren't for him, I would know nothing about the world of K-pop (which I adore), nor would I care. I am also a big fan of Japan and all things Japanese. I strive to feature men of all Asian ethnicities on the blog, but since K-pop and Hallyu are very popular, this blog has a tendency to lean more towards features on Korean men. Follow me on Twitter blackwomenloveb Find BWLB on Facebook here Wanna drop me a tip? Wanna say hi? Wanna say anything? Email me at bitofabelly81@gmail.com

34 thoughts on “TOP Poses for Harper’s Bazaar–Cigs and All

    • I was also thinking James Dean when I saw these photos. I kind of like it even with the cigarettes. As far as the whole going solo thing, I think they (kpop members) all put out a solo album during their career. TOP did a project with GD which was great but I can understand if he wants to try again by himself. I wish him well on all his future endeavors.

  1. I love it! He’s so rugged and mature. I reall think it’s about time that people saw these men just as they are… GROWN ASS MEN. He totally looked James Dean-ish and Mama likes. Hello sharp chisled jaw line. >3< On a side note, I've been following you ladies for a while and thought I'd finally pop up and say hello! Love the blog BOAB81, the branching out to all Asian ethnicities and showing much deserved love for our soldier, Ji-hoon-oppa. I'll be back haha. Have a great morning 🙂 ❤
    -Chanel ^_^

  2. Not the first time for TOP or a BB member.
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/38/0090820095304953.jpg/sr=1

    GD has done shoots with him smoking.


    TOP will probably go back to acting. There were rumors of him being in a drama last month. YGE responded by saying they had an offer and he was looking into it, but nothing was finalized.

    After searching, the drama is Absolute Boyfriend and is based on a Japanese manga. Though I doubt he’ll do it since TOP stays covered up and the character in the drama does not.

  3. I wouldn’t surprise me if he smokes. Although you rarely see and never talk about it, I seen a clip showing Thunder smoking. NOw he surprises me more than TOP.

    I don’t know if TOP will go solo,but he does have that rebellious look about him. I only heard TOP with the group,but never as an individual. I would like to for him to be tested and to see what he’s like as a solo rapper. Right now, people are looking at Taeyang as not only being the one going solo,but is being dubbed the ” new” Rain.

    If TOP does goes solo and with this image, it’s all good. He should be himself as long as what he’s doing isn’t too outlandish and nasty The one problem that I’ve always had with K-pop are how the managers want to keep these guys being too innocent. There is difference between that and just keeping it clean. many of these guys are full grown men. Too often, they are treated like kids. Their management should except the fact that they aren’t cute little boys anymore.

    Many of them want to make it big in the States. While I’m not saying that they should sing nasty music to get hits, they have should sing clean music that is age appropriate for their young adult audiences. Otherwise, the little boy image that their management too often wants them to have may be their biggest obstacle in making it here.

    • @ATLSis: I know alot of these guys have stress: stress to perform well, stress to keep their weight down, stress to fulfill their contracts, stress from being away from their family/friends, etc. I know its not easy on them, and no it is not a suprise that alot of them smoke. I hope they are able to break the habit soon as it is only hurting themselves in the end…

    • that’s so very true…In a lot of these singer’s contracts don’t they have a clause where they aren’t even allowed to have girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s?

  4. I think that most male idols smoke, even the ones who are very concerned with their voices. Supposedly Yoochun and Jaejoong(Junsu has stated that he does not drink or smoke) smoke like there’s no tomorrow and even squeaky clean Arashi(aside from Aiba who has had asthma and lung problems and had to give it up) are all smokers. Of course, no one wants to be a bad role model and so none of them smoke in public but there are candid photos of almost everyone floating around, usually of them standing outside a venue or stuck in an alley with a handler or manager, wearing dark glasses and looking shifty. Good thing I’m not an idol. I couldn’t deal with every aspect of my private life being examined. Lady smokers, be warned. While it is fine for men to light up, I think the general concensus is that women who smoke are just nasty, masculine freaks.

    Being a smoker myself and KNOWING what a nasty, ugly habit it is, I still can’t help but look at TOP or Jae smoking and think it’s one of the sexiest things I’ve ever seen.

    I love that TOP walks his own walk and hope the he continues to do so.

      • I’m a little shocked that they or their companies don’t just let them openly smoke since it looks like 90% of the male population of Asia(and I’m sure quite a few women who smoke covertly) still smokes. I was watching some Japanese drama from a few years ago and they still had ashtrays in all of the buildings and that’s something I hadn’t seen since I was a child. It was honestly very jarring. I felt like I was watching an old James Bond movie or Superman re-run. Reporters and policemen slouching at their desks, smoking and drinking coffee. I think it is very much a part of their culture, just like the drinking and it will be a while before it becomes criminal like it is in the US.

        I plan to quit and since I’ve only been smoking for five years, I’m hoping it won’t be too hard on me. I picked up smoking from job stess around lots of smokers, but I really wish I’d found a better solution. Being a chef, I am on my feet and moving for 8-12 hours a day and when I take a smoke break, I am alone and actually getting a break that I wouldn’t give myself otherwise. I’ve told myself that when I stop, I will continue to go sit down for four or five minutes or take a short walk.

      • I hope you are able to quit, just know you will have the support of all of us here at bwlbi. We are rooting for you!

  5. My first impression is as one commenter has already said, it’s a photo spread of a grown man being what he IS, a Grown Ass Man. As far as him smoking, I figure that’s your business….your lungs jack. Although, I feel it’s a habit that’s bad for one’s health and one I don’t promote personally, I’m not offended by the photo visually. Pic #2, green sweater, I like in particular. (SMILES). I agree with ATLSis, there’s a difference between being “clean-cut/preppy” and “childlike” and they will have a hard time making it here without altering their images in some way. Just like when Boys to Men first came out, their image was “clean cut/preppy” but you never felt a “kiddie” vibe coming from them. At least I didn’t (SMILES). Am I calling K-Pop singers kiddie? Not necessarily, but I Hope everyone gets the point I’m trying to make. I don’t know which K-pop singers are actually contemplating solo careers or careers in the U.S., in general, but K-Pop idols who want to sing here will definitely have to “beef” up the image a bit. You can still be “pretty/good looking” but in a more masculine way. Otherwise, potential male followers will be turned off and if you market to tweeny bop girls they will eventually grow up and move on. (IMHO). This youthful image among grown men in K-Pop is probably why I personally have a hard time relating to them. I try to see what everybody else sees, but alas I don’t really. They “feel like” teenagers to me and not twenty-something adults. At my age, there is Nothing I want from a teenager. (SMILES)

    • What a coinky dink…i was thinking this exact thing yesterday with Boyz II Men… I thought they were preppy and more or less clean cut, but no one questioned their manhood…

      Seems that kpop managemants will continue to do concerts here, but they are focused on other asian markets– esp Japan…so we probably wont see full scale
      kpop marketing stateside any time
      soonsoon…so the image they have will not likely change…i understand the cultural differences and i will always love the kpop guys that i love…

      • Grr..new phone and dont know how to completely work it…

        I love my fave kpop guys but now i sort of only want to hear the music and avoid promo ads because i have difficulty reconciling the songs with the images…

  6. Rebel Without A Cause hehe. I like how TOP is able to be so refined and can be rugged at the same time or in different times. He has a natural appeal that draws you in (draws me in at least lol). I didn’t really pay attention to him at first (Taeyang is my fave), but just like Minho, his eyes captured me..it seems they can literally burn a whole through you if you look to long! I love this spread and the Brooklyn Boy ad for Calvin Klein. The way he stares into the camera at the end…no words lol. It’s a tad surprising to hear that he’s so shy, though.

    I like how Big Bang have been able to do their thing as solo artists and come back and make good music as a group. Hopefully they can keep it up as long as they can/want to. Nevertheless, I think TOP would be great as a solo artist. He has already established himself in other ways (i.e. acting, modeling), but it would be great to see him on his own like someone mentioned above. As a random personal preference/desire/whatever, I’d really love to hear him do a Reggae song. His voice sometimes makes me think of Buju Banton’s “Boom Bye Bye” (although Banton’s voice is deeper/more raspy).

    Per Big Bang Updates, he had stopped smoking for about 4 months, but started again due to nervousness of the Blue Dragon Awards. Looks good doing it, but maybe he’ll kick the habit again.

    • “Per Big Bang Updates, he had stopped smoking for about 4 months, but started again due to nervousness of the Blue Dragon Awards. Looks good doing it, but maybe he’ll kick the habit again.”

      I was just going to say that. I respect his honesty in admitting that.

  7. As most people have been saying, TOP is a grown man, and he probably started smoking in High School..The smoking doesnt even matter because I Love TOP, and would follow him to the end of the earth!! 🙂 TOP is 2nd only to RAIN!! And I also love TOP’s jean commercial, I couldnt even remember the name of the jeans that were being advertised because TOP sexiness was sooooo overwhelming!!! I have been playing the jean commercial everyday!! LOL

  8. I love this spread of TOP J.D. look, in fact he really really looks like James Dean in the 50s.The only thing is the smoking part it’s not cool, because stars like Yul Brynner, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz etc, regretted smoking. It became a health hazard in the end I want Kpop Stars like TOP, YOOCHUN, JAEJOONG and the rest to quit smoking. it’s a bad habit and the end result is not pretty it ruins a lot of Hollywood Legends lives and they talk and made commercials warning people not to smoke. Yul Brynner regretted smoking in Commercials, Photospreads and Movies like what TOP is doing now it look so cool and sexy but it is not, in the end analysis.

  9. First of all. TOP looks hella good in this spread and the jean ad he did a while back!!! I know he wanted to pursue being an entertainner and rap so bad , but i think he would have killed it being a model at that time as well, too!

    As for the smoking–i think there is some footage of top smoking breifly while they were doing a MV, but it was so quick you couldnt tell…….

    About the solo thing: I think eventually that TOP will finally get his solo out there, but as far as him departing from BB, i doubt it: I just came across a interview that Taeyang and G Dragon did i think last year or the year before—-and im paraphasing– they said that all of them are in sync as far as wanting to do music to gether and they all exhibit the same passion and drive as far putting out quality music for their fans, thus they fell that will never break up.

    AND you have to remember the odds were HIGHLY stacked against BB when they first came out (a shock to moi!)—i dont know if it was beacuse of the Documentary they did with MTV Asia when they fiest started or if boys bands were starting to go out of favor in Asia at the time, but they really stuck through it, thus making them stronger together—-in part due to the fans–which they soo covet–ive never seen a group so appreciative of there fans than those 5!!! So, if they do decided to part ways, it will be a group decision because they owe that to the fans that much, but with so much that theyve been through in a individual and group level–especially having the rough year they had recently—i think it will be a while for that happens

  10. P.S. Cont’d( Although winning the MTV EMA for WORLD WIDE ACT will not shoo all their pains away, i hope it gave them a little ray of light to keep on and be strong)

  11. I was thinking that TOP doing these modeling ads could get his noticed over here. All he needs is for a female artist to notice him and put him in her video. After that people will be clammering to find out who is that guy in “so and so’s” video.

    • I think partnering with someone established would be the ideal way to get noticed in the US. I think JYJ was on the right track, but I think Kanye half-assed his work for them and was not a mentor in any way. He also didn’t really back their performances in the US at all and I’m thinking he was really just in it for the novelty and the job.

      It does work though. Jin Akanishi’s song “Testdrive” with Jason Derulo is very good and I think it may get some airplay and get him the attention he wants. It also desn’t hurt that his English when singing and especially speaking has gotten exponetially better since he made the break from Kattun and has been spending most of his time in the US.

      From what I’ve heard, all of Bigbang have great English skills and they would really only need to work on smoothing things out in their singing.

      • Im glad im not the only one who thought Kanye half-assed his way thru his work with them, and ill actually be surprised if he actually met them…// And instead of a female artist, i’m thinkin more of a male artist, like 50, Lil Wayne, or Emimem, that way he will be able to show his excellent Rap skills, and he would stand out more.. I think Lil Wayne would do it because he seems like he likes to try different things..

  12. I didn’t recognize TOP in these photos either! But he looks hella delicious! I think the James Dean look really does suit him. He doesn’t look like a boy trying to be a man, but a sexy, grown ass man! As far as smoking goes, if he has any plans of branching out into the US music industry, he should probably kick the habit (again,) just to be safe. It’s not so popular here as it was maybe 10 or 20 years ago…and we wouldn’t want him losing that deep, wonderful voice of his, now would we?

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