Music

Best J-Hope Songs: BTS and Solo

Photo: HYBE Label/YouTube

Throughout his 9 years in BTS, J-Hope has projected a picture of positivity. “I’m your hope, you’re my hope, I’m J-Hope,” he typically says in self-introduction, beaming and throwing finger hearts. But the high-energy rapper shattered all expectations with “More,” a blistering rap-rock track that serves as the primary single from his upcoming album, Jack within the Box. The project will make him the primary BTS member to launch an official solo debut, following final month’s announcement that they are going to
(supposedly) be pausing group promotions. But on “More,” J-Hope refuses to relaxation on any laurels. Seemingly conscious that that is his likelihood to make a personal assertion on an unprecedented scale, he makes use of the only as a declaration of his ever-burning ambition to overcome any fashion and sharpen his craft. “I’m still not enough,” he raps on prime of a dusty hip-hop beat, using deep-throated growls earlier than the track explodes with different guitar riffs. “Fame and money isn’t everything, I already know it / My work makes me breathe, so I want more!” he yells within the bridge in a distant, distorted vocal.

With “More,” J-Hope presents a brand new imaginative and prescient of a Ok-pop solo star — a danger taker who bends pop’s present developments to his personal fashion and willingly defies the unstated rule {that a} hit track requires a viral dance problem. Its early success, debuting at No. 82 on the Hot 100, builds on the inroads he made on his 2019 Korean-English-Spanish single, “Chicken Noodle Soup,” that includes Becky G, which made him the primary BTS soloist to land on that very chart. It additionally portends the splash that he’ll make throughout worldwide markets, as he’s set to turn out to be the primary Korean artist to headline a significant U.S. music pageant at this year’s Lollapalooza. Becoming a worldwide family title as a Korean soloist has actually solely been executed by Psy, who gained the world over along with his avuncular dance antics on “Gangnam Style.” A decade later, J-Hope, a 28-year-old aesthete, former avenue dancer, and hip-hop fanatic from Gwangju, Jeolla-do, will doubtless begin a brand new chapter for Korean solo musicians to come back.

While Jack within the Box might be an introduction for a lot of, seasoned followers will already bear in mind that the artist born Jung Hoseok contributed to greater than 100 songs since 2012. Though he’s well-known for the house-inflected tracks on his 2018 mixtape, Hope World, and his self-penned verses on numbers from BTS’ rap line (additionally composed of RM and Suga), J-Hope has been quietly proving that true character is extra nuanced than his overtly blissful status would recommend. For these seeking to get into his catalog, here’s a non-exhaustive listing of eight of his important tracks, in no specific order.

This single from Hope World pulses with a sunny home groove, as J-Hope earnestly reveals his worries as a Ok-pop star and goals of an imagined fantasyland the place he can act on all his wishes of falling in love, partying like loopy, and crying in peace. “My personality is half and half,” he opens, suggesting that there’s a darkness beneath his shiny facade. He then sings about eager to briefly escape actuality. “Everyone must have been caught like fish / In a net of desire that results from the thirst of life.” The feeling of confinement is in stark comparability to his assured and untethered angle on “More,” when he breezily raps, “I’m a fish who met water,” an idiom which means “I’m in my element.”

J-Hope was already a domestically renowned teenage avenue dancer in a dance crew known as Neuron He when he turned a Big Hit Entertainment trainee in 2010. He introduced each a steely precision and overflowing pleasure to his stage performances, making him the unofficial dance captain of BTS. On this ecstatic dance-pop track, which additionally options BTS’ major vocalist, Jungkook, J-Hope sings of reveling within the feeling of dancing with a friend and matching their actions collectively.

J-Hope was such a fan of the track “Chicken Noodle Soup” by Harlem’s Webstar and Bianca Bonnie that he reportedly paid $1.7 million to re-create the 2006 observe with Mexican American hitmaker Becky G. It was an funding that paid off: The 2019 model was an immediate hit, with its up to date jangly entice beat and trilingual verses serving to it chart in additional than 20 international locations. (At the time of publication, the music video has over 355 million YouTube views.) Since he references his dance-team beginnings all through the track, J-Hope enlisted one among his early peer mentors, Bangstar, to create new strikes alongside choreographers Sienna Lalau and Son Sungdeuk.

A real tearjerker that calls to thoughts Kanye West’s “Hey Mama,” this heartfelt hip-hop track constructed on a breezy saxophone riff is J-Hope’s ode to the lady who “created my breath that made me able to feel the world,” reflecting on how his mom labored two jobs to help his dance classes. He outlines how her selflessness turned the basis of his drive to succeed, earlier than going into the sing-along refrain: “Hey Mama / Now you can lean on me, I’m always by your side.”

Another Hope World minimize that balances J-Hope’s inner panorama of sunshine and dark, “P.O.P (Piece of Piece)” presents a proof of why he desires to behave as a beacon of hope to his listeners. On the piano-based observe, he nods to the youth-unemployment disaster in South Korea (across the time of the track’s launch, the rate for ages 15 to 29 was nearing 10 %). And he raps about eager to sort out the difficulty instantly — “Daily wages putting our blood and sweat in shame” — earlier than telling his fellow younger people that the issue shouldn’t be their fault. “I’ll help them because I was like them,” he raps, “because I was someone who had a passion.”

Though it’s formally billed as a BTS track, J-Hope is the only real performer on this exuberant digital dance observe that closes out the group’s 2020 Map of the Soul: 7, an idea report the place the members explored Jungian psychology rules of persona, shadow, and ego. Another one among his uptempo introspective tracks, “Outro: Ego” options J-Hope ruminating over his previous self as he wonders what would have occurred had he not pursued the idol life. As the refrain bursts with a full of life horn riff, he decides to launch his worries and comply with destiny as he runs towards the shining highway forward.

“Intro: Boy Meets Evil” opens the group’s Wings album and units up the project’s themes of greed, temptation, and immature love. Co-written by RM, J-Hope, and their longtime producer, Pdogg, the dark hip-hop observe is constructed on a jazzy pattern that mutates into rippling dubstep. J-Hope’s ferocious rapping paints a sequence of scary vignettes: spilt blood, references to hell, and the leering stares of strangers. He deliberately sounds haggard when he sings, “I’m getting out of breath,” which can be maybe linked to later themes on “More,” the place J-Hope tells himself to “inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale / I feel alive.”

While there’s greater than a dozen songs that showcase J-Hope’s ever-changing flows, the third installment of BTS’ Cypher sequence is a fan favourite that sees all three rappers bringing playful disses and punch strains. J-Hope takes over the center part of the hard-hitting observe, which pairs gunshot sounds with Korean conventional music, taking photographs at “hip-hop losers” and unleashing a sequence of onomatopoeic rhymes. (For these on the lookout for extra BTS rap-line gold, “UGH!” and “Ddaeng” are two locations to start out.)

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