Starring (in order of appearance):

  • G-Dragon
  • Teddy (producer)
  • Diplo (producer)
  • Missy Elliott (performer)
  • Lydia Paek (performer)
  • Choice37 (producer)
  • Kang Wook-jin (producer)
  • Ham Seung-chun (producer)
  • Dee.P (producer)
  • Boys Noize (producer)
  • Sky Ferreira (performer)

On G-Dragon’s debut album, Heartbreaker (2009):

G-Dragon: “Personally, I can’t listen to it anymore. [Laughs.] When I finished it backed then, I loved it. I thought it was perfect. Mind you, this is four, five years ago, and I didn’t know as much. Back then, I feel like I did music purely with passion. When I rapped, I sounded very aggressive. The music I made was filled with too much energy. Now, I’ve been in the game for some time, and I understand how to have a better balance of things. I’ve come to realize ways of making music without being excessive. I’m more at ease when I’m rapping. Whether it’s music or fashion, the older I get, I realize what’s comfortable lasts longer. And a lot of that is reflected in the new album.”

 

Whether it’s music or fashion, the older I get, I realize what’s comfortable lasts longer. And a lot of that is reflected in the new album.

 

On Choice37, Kush, and Teddy, GD’s core production team:

G-Dragon: “Whenever I work with them, the outcome is always satisfying. And I think it’s vice-versa, some of their best material comes from working with me. It’s also true that because I work frequently with the same people, there’s a possibility that my style could get stuck in one lane. And I know I should diversify the people I work with, but like anyone else, when I get records from friends that I know, I have an easier time creating it the way I envision it. Luckily, all the producers I work with have distinctive styles. Plus, I try to evolve my own sound as well. It’s a good chemistry that works well.”

Teddy: “I’ve known that boy since he was 10 and shit, you know? We don’t even need to speak. When we’re in the studio, I’ll play some shit, and he’ll just sing. We don’t really talk like, ‘Let’s make this.’ I don’t even have to tell him, ‘You should do the next part this way.’ While I’m recording he’s already thinking about what to do next. Since it’s organic, it’s always different. Every time. Therefore, we don’t have a set formula for the way that we work.”

On why it took four years between albums:

Teddy: “We have thousands and thousands of demos that are done just up to the first verse and hook. But when it’s not complete, you don’t want to forcefully finish it because you’re not in that vibe anymore. Then the rest of the song just doesn’t sound as good.”

G-Dragon: “There are various reasons why the second album took so long. Mostly, I just wanted to make things better and better. I have a lot of records that I sketched out, but they’re not really organized properly. So instead of putting out incomplete records, I wanted to trim things down and make it super tight. That’s why we put out the One of a Kind (2012) mini-album out first. With the remaining time, I redid the records, molded them, and now they’re complete. Whenever I consider putting something out, I just feel like more needs to be done. I wouldn’t say that I’m not confident, but it’s more so a sense of feeling like I could make it better. That’s why it took so long.”

On Coup D’Etat:

 

Listening to it now as a finished product, I like it. But I need to listen to it three to four years later and still feel like, ‘Oh, this is pretty good.’ That’s what makes it a classic album.

 

G-Dragon: “The album has a much more hip-hop sound than my previous effort. That’s why the boss [YG Entertainment CEO Yang-hyun-suk] doesn’t like it. [Laughs.] But it wasn’t our intention to make a certain type of album. It came out the way it is as we were making it. We just collectively channeled certain energy for each record, and then moved onto the next one. Truthfully, I didn’t put that much meaning behind each record. They’re just songs that I like to make and listen to.”

Teddy: “It wasn’t like, ‘Yo, let’s get down. This album’s called Coup D’Etat. Studio lockdown starts today!’ [Laughs.] It’s never been that way for me because I’m working on 2NE1, Big Bang, Taeyang, T.O.P., and other artists. So whatever GD likes, he’ll just grab it, leave to another room, and finish the song. It’s always been that way. We never really had a big vision for this album. The only difference was that record ‘Crooked,’ the last song that we did, which we felt like was necessary. Other than that, everything was really organic.”

G-Dragon: “Listening to it now as a finished product, I like it. But I need to listen to it three to four years later and still feel like, ‘Oh, this is pretty good.’ That’s what we’re striving to achieve. That’s what makes it a classic album. All artists are trying to make music of that caliber. It’s the same for me, too.”

Teddy: “It was like hell, man. The shit took forever. We just literally wrapped it up. All this last-minute mixing and mastering. There were so many changes. I don’t know how they flip these things around three days before the drop. I don’t know if it’s just YG, or it’s a Korean thing. I know they don’t do that shit in Japan. So I know it’s not an Asian thing.”