A Beginner’s Guide to the Music of BTS’ J-Hope – BuzzFeed | WHs Answers

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

With inspirations as diverse as old-school hip-hop and ancient Greek mythology, jack-in-the-box is an intense, thoughtful and experimental work that is not afraid to lean into the darkness and linger there.

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

The two music videos that accompany the album’s tracks – “MORE” and “Arson” – also embrace a dark aesthetic and somber narrative.

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

But although it is very fresh, jack-in-the-box is also the natural high point of J-Hope’s career to date; from his early dance roots to his decade with BTS to the solo projects he has worked on in the past. Here’s a little recap of his journey so far…

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J-Hope, whose real name is Jung Ho-seok but is often called “hobi” by both BTS and fans alike, started out in street dancing. He was part of an underground dance team before joining Big Hit Entertainment as a trainee in 2010 at the age of just 16.

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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 shortly after). During his time as a trainee, he starred in Jo Kwon’s song “Animal” before eventually debuting the album with BTS in 2013 2 cool 4 school and its lead single “No More Dream”.

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This was the first album in BTS’ school trilogy, a hip-hop-leaning effort that explored everything teenage – from crushes on schoolboys to big thoughts and feelings about societal ills and systems of oppression. The teenage trilogy followed, which dealt with the growing pains of growing up.

As one of the group’s rappers, J-Hope has been involved in the songwriting for most of BTS’s music since its inception, and has also been involved in the production. J-Hope also became dance director and played a key role in the group’s stunning choreography and performances.

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

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

J-Hope’s other solo songs for BTS are all brighter, if not always thematic. He explores his relationship with his mother in “MAMA” (also on wing); the feeling of being in “Trivia 起: Just Dance” (from the love yourself album Series); and the questions of identity and future that resurface in jack-in-the-box in “Outro: Ego” (from Map of the Soul: 7).

Another important part of getting to know J-Hope’s work (aside from delving into BTS’s full discography) is the sub-unit songs he’s made within the group — specifically with fellow rappers RM and Suga.


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But J-Hope’s most famous solo project before that jack-in-the-box may have been “Chicken Noodle Soup,” a collaboration with Becky G that paid homage to his street dance roots.

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You can check out a playlist of solo and subunit tracks by J-Hope here:

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And when you’re done with that, you might want to know more about his personality on BTS’ shows and performances, which you can learn more about here, or follow J-Hope himself on Instagram here.

Now’s the perfect time to catch up – J-Hope will be headlining Lollapalooza this year, and it’s sure to be a performance to get everyone talking.

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

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