A beginner’s guide to the music of BTS’s J-Hope


With the release of jack in the box On July 15, J-Hope, most famous for his work with BTS, became the first member of the group to release a full solo album as part of BTS’s “Chapter Two.”

With inspirations as broad as old-school hip-hop and ancient Greek mythology, jack in the box is an intense, thoughtful and experimental work that is unafraid to lean into the dark and linger there.


Across the album’s 10 tracks, J-Hope examines his past, present and future, with reflections on his inner world – his identity, struggles and ambition – as well as broader questions about human nature. , good and evil, discrimination and equality. .

The two music videos that accompany the tracks on the album – “MORE” and “Arson” – also encompass a dark aesthetic and a gritty narrative.

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If you’re only familiar with BTS’s recent Billboard pop hits like “Dynamite” or “Butter,” or J-Hope’s reputation as a consistently cheerful and bright member of the group, jack in the box might surprise.

But, while being very fresh, jack in the box is also the natural culmination of J-Hope’s career to date; from his early dance roots to his decade in BTS and the solo projects he’s worked on in the past. Here’s a little look back at his journey so far…

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J-Hope, whose real name is Jung Ho-seok but is often referred to as “Hobi” by BTS and fans, got his start in street dancing. He was part of an underground dance crew before joining Big Hit Entertainment as a trainee in 2010, when he was just 16 years old.

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J-Hope was added to BTS as a rapper, joining RM and Suga (singers Jin, Jimin, V, and Jungkook were added soon after). During his time as a trainee, he performed on Jo Kwon’s song “Animal,” before finally debuting with BTS in 2013 with the album 2 cool 4 school and his first single “No more dreaming.”

Hit Music / Via yoyio.tumblr.com

It was the first album in BTS’s School Trilogy, a hip-hop-centric body of work that explored everything about adolescence — from schoolboy crushes to grand thoughts and feelings about the ills of childhood. society and oppressive systems. This was followed by the Youth Trilogy, which examined the growing pains of coming of age.

As one of the group’s rappers, J-Hope participated in songwriting for the majority of BTS’s music early on, and also got involved in production. J-Hope also became the dance leader, playing a key role in the band’s impressive choreography and performances.

Hit Music / Via Twitter: @Preyoti_1

His dancing and rapping skills (not to mention the darker side) were showcased in J-Hope’s first solo song in BTS: 2016’s “Intro: Boy Meets Evil” from the group’s second studio album. wings.

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J-Hope co-wrote the song with RM and Big Hit producer Pdogg, and it served as the intro to Wings, setting up the themes of seduction, greed and temptation.

J-Hope’s other solo songs for BTS are all brighter in nature, but not always on topic. He explores his relationship with his mother in “MOM” (also on wings); the feeling of falling in love with someone “Trivia 起: Just Dance” (from love yourself album series); and the questions of identity and the future that recur in jack in the box in “Outro: Ego” (of Soul Card: 7).

Another important part of discovering J-Hope’s work (other than delving into, say, all of BTS’s discography) is the sub-unit songs he’s done within the group — especially with his fellow rappers RM and Suga.

Twitter: @badbye7G

J-Hope has also released solo projects before jack in the boxincluding those of 2015 “1 verse” and a 2018 mixtape titled world of hope.

Twitter: @bts_twt

world of hope and its two music videos, for “Dream” and “Plane,” have a much brighter ambiance than Jack in the box — but even here, J-Hope not only explores his hopes and happiness, but also his fears and pain. He further questioned his feelings of nostalgia and regret in the mixtape’s full outro version, “Blue Side”, which he published on the occasion of the third anniversary of world of hope in 2021.

But J-Hope’s most famous solo project before jack in the box was perhaps “Chicken Noodle Soup”, a collaboration with Becky G, in which he paid homage to his street dancing roots.

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You can check out a playlist of J-Hope’s solo and sub-unit tracks here:


And once you’re done, you might like to explore more of his personality in BTS shows and performances, which you can read more about here, or follow J-Hope himself on Instagram here.

It’s the perfect time to catch up – J-Hope will be the headliner Lollapalooza this year, and it’s sure to be a performance that will have everyone talking.

What’s your favorite J-Hope track? Let us know in the comments!


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