Min Yoon-gi (Hangul: 민윤기; born March 9, 1993), better known by his stage names Suga and Agust D, is a South Korean rapper, songwriter, and record producer. Managed by Big Hit Entertainment, he debuted as a member of the South Korean pop idol group BTS in 2013. In 2016 he released his first solo mixtape, Agust D. The Korea Music Copyright Association attributes over 70 songs to Suga as a songwriter and producer, including Suran’s “Wine”, which won best Soul/R&B track of the year at the 2017 Melon Music Awards.
Min Yoon-gi was born on March 9, 1993 in Daegu, South Korea. The younger of two sons, he attended Taejeon Elementary School, Gwaneum Middle School, and Apgujeong High School. He became interested in rap after hearing “Reggae Muffin” by Stony Skunk, stating it was different from anything he had ever heard before. After hearing Epik High he decided to become a rapper.
By age 13, he began to write music lyrics and learned about MIDI. He worked a part-time job at a record studio by age 17. From then on he began composing and arranging music, rapping, and performing. Before being signed, he was active under the name Gloss as an underground rapper. As part of the hiphop crew D-Town in 2010, he produced “518-062”, a song commemorating the Gwangju Uprising.
Originally joining the company as a music producer, Suga trained under Big Hit Entertainment for three years alongside members J-Hope and RM. He made his debut as a member of BTS on Mnet’s M Countdown with the track “No More Dream” from their debut single album 2 Cool 4 Skool. He has produced and written lyrics for a variety of tracks on all of BTS’s albums.
In 2018, he was awarded the fifth-class Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit by the President of South Korea along with other members of the group.
He released a free self-titled mixtape via SoundCloud on August 15, 2016. He decided against releasing the project as a commercial studio album, describing it as the “feeling of being trapped in some sort of framework.” On the record, he discussed matters such as his struggles with depression and social phobia. Fuse TV rated it one of the top 20 mixtapes of 2016.
In 2017, Suga composed the song “Wine” for singer Suran, whom he had previously worked with for a single on his mixtape. At Suga’s studio, Suran heard a rough draft of “Wine” and asked Suga for the song. The record peaked at #2 on the Gaon Digital Chart and won best Soul/R&B track of the year at the Melon Music Awards on December 2, 2017. Suga also received the “Hot Trend Award” for his work on the track. In a survey conducted by Gallup Korea Suga was ranked the 13th most preferred idol of the year.
Suga rereleased his mixtape for digital purchase and streaming in February 2018. The reissue reached #3 on Billboard’s World Albums Chart, #5 on the Heatseekers Albums chart, and #74 on the Top Album Sales chart. It also caused Suga’s solo alias, Agust D, to reach #46 on the Emerging Artists chart for the week of March 3. In the 2018 survey conducted by Gallup Korea he ranked as the 7th most preferred idol of the year.
Suga provided a rap feature for the song “Song Request” by South Korean singer Lee So-ra, which released on January 22, 2019. The track was written by Suga and Tablo of Epik High, who also produced the track. The song debuted at number three on South Korea’s Gaon Digital Chart and at number two on Billboard’s World Digital Songs chart, with 3,000 downloads made in the United States during the song’s two-day American charting week.
On February 27, 2019 it was announced that Suga co-produced a track on Epik High’s Sleepless In album.
Suga has spoken openly about mental health and equality for the LGBTQ+ community. In 2014 he made a promise to buy his fans meat should he find success as a musical artist. Four years later, on his 25th birthday, he donated beef to 39 orphanages as “ARMY”, the name of BTS’ fanbase.
The stage name Suga (슈가) is derived from the first syllables of the term shooting guard (슈팅 가드), the position he played in basketball as a student. He adopted the alias Agust D in 2016 for his mixtape, which is derived from the initials DT, short for his birthplace, Daegu Town, and “Suga” spelled backwards.
Suga is responsible for writing, composing and arranging, as well as mixing and mastering his material. Over 70 registered songs are credited to him by the Korea Music Copyright Association. He is a pianist, and produces hiphop and R&B music. His lyrics involve themes that are “full of dreams and hope,” conceived with the intent of his music becoming “many people’s strength.” He cites Stony Skunk and Epik High as his inspirations to pursue hiphop music. Particularly, he credits the former’s reggae-hiphop hybrid album Ragga Muffin (2005) and its title track for igniting his interest in the genre, calling it “completely different” from mainstream music.
Jeff Benjamin of Fuse said Suga’s mixtape “showcases the star’s ear for hot productions, hardcore rap style, and how he can make his vulnerabilities a strength.” Other critics stated that Suga’s “storytelling execution in the music he creates tears down the barrier of censoring and sugarcoating”.
In January 2018, Suga was promoted to full member of the Korea Music Copyright Association.