ARMY, rejoice! On March 1, or March 2 in Korea, “Hope World” was released by global superstar group BTS’s rapper Jung Hoseok, also known as J-Hope. This mixtape, a solo production separate from the K-Pop group’s work, was affectionately named “Hixtape” by BTS fans (a portmanteau of “mixtape” and “J-Hope”).
The mixtape, consisting of seven songs titled “Hope World,” “P.O.P (Piece of Peace) pt.1,” “Daydream,” “Base Line,” “항상 (HANGSANG) Feat. Supreme Boi,” “Airplane,” and “Blue Side (Outro),”. “Daydream” also has a music video, which now has over 21 million views.
“Hope World” has already broken records and hit #1 on the iTunes albums chart in over 70 countries upon the week of release. J-Hope is now the KPop soloist with the most #1 hits on iTunes, surpassing records that were previously held by BTS themselves.
This comes as a shock to many, especially since the mixtape is available for free listening on BTS’s Soundcloud and has free download links on their official Twitter (which actually crashed due to traffic upon release).
Still, the ARMY chose to purchase a free mixtape, something that ARMY @Awake_Aileen posted about on Twitter: “The bond we have with @BTS_twt is the key ingredient in our buying decision. Their authentic engagements with us across all platforms create a positive emotion towards their brand and influences customer loyalty.”
She goes on to tweet, “Role employees play- […] for us this is synonymous to the power of persuasion of every other ARMY. We encourage each other to buy (even if it’s free) and evangelize others outside of our fandom.”
Even more shocking, however, is how long the wait for the mixtape was, which was originally hinted at back in 2016. Since then, the production was something that was hinted at by fellow BTS members, BigHit producers PDogg and Supreme Boi, as well as SoundCloud, Spotify, Time Magazine, Billboard and even John Cena, who regularly posted photos of J-Hope on his Instagram prior to the release of “Hope World”.
But the wait has been worth it. The mixtape can be certainly seen as a “fresh bop,” consisting of a funk feel in much of the beginning songs. J Hope’s bouncy and exuberant personality can be definitely seen in songs such as “Hope World” and “Daydream” as well as the “Daydream” music video, which featured the same pops of saturation and bright colors that could be seen in the music video for “DNA.”
The album has other styles as well, including the trap beats of “Base Line” and “Hangsang,” both of which have inspired debate over “which one is the best to get down to.”
The verses, even through translation, have the same lyrical presence as those in BTS’s well-known metaphorical criticisms. “The daily wage that makes blood and sweat worthless/ An answer like drought that/ Withers even a blossoming sprout/ Even if I shout, sing, it’s like this world is hard of hearing,” J-Hope says in “P.O.P (Piece of Peace) pt.1” (translation by @BTS_Trans on Twitter).
Still, it is impossible to have J-Hope without having BTS, and the more chill beats of “Airplane” features their vocals as well. J-Hope is the third member of the group to release individual work, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the group.
“People know me, and I know I’m a person in the public’s eye. I wanted to show that behind this public figure is an ordinary guy named Jung Ho-seok. I wanted to use this as an outlet to talk about the desires and wishes that every person in the world has but that I have to hold down and cover up because of having chosen this line of work,” J-hope said in an interview with TIME magazine. http://time.com/5181183/j-hope-bts-hope-world-interview/
Whether you speak Korean or not, “Hope World” is something that can resonate within listeners of rap, hip-hop and pop alike.