“ANXIETY, WANDERING, CONFUSION, LONELINESS. THAT’S ME”
“If I say I’m different from Zico hyung or Bobby, it’s like saying I’m anxious.” BTS’s leader Rap Monster spent 2 years “seriously wandering.” While at an event immediately after their debut, he was criticized by underground rapper B-Free while he looked at [Rap Monster’s] face, and on he received a question about the identity between being an underground rapper and an idol. His diss battle with iKON’s Bobby at the end of last year was the chaotically jumbled climax of his success and anxiety. “Of course I was really angry. Why would he curse me. But after that, I understood. I said that those people could be like that. Sincerely. After that, I thought. Focus on my own self.” And the first released track from his mixtape, ‘Awakening.’ “Whether I’m an idol or an artist, to be honest it’s not important / your attention when you look at me, that was all just me / stuck to the title and hung from a modifier.”
He learned of rap through Nas, and while watching rappers’ interviews and documentaries, he learned both rap and English. His English skills, which became a hot topic thanks to his rap with its particular low-tone accent and his participation in tvN’s [Problematic Men] as an intelligent male idol, were also learned at that time. So he also feuded with the relationship between music and study, and thought he would end his anxieties while doing as much music as he wanted. However, his time waiting for debut was long, and like the lyrics to ‘Awakening,’ those who knew of his time in the underground all said, “You’ve become a moron since entering a company.” BTS’s leader. His name is Rap Monster. But he’s also an early 20s who became anxious at others’ words that kept pouring out. “I said those words as a joke. The people who say ‘I don’t give a fuck’ are the ones who ‘do give a fuck’ the most. People who say they don’t care are the people who care the most. I was like that too.”
In the movie [Amazing Spiderman], there’s a scene where it’s said that all work is just the process of asking “who am I?” The [Amazing Spiderman] series ended without ever answering this question, but the question “who am I?” is always the beginning of creation. Both the decision to release a mixtape using the sounds of Rap Monster’s favorite artists as a foundation, and the use of a cover image in black and white, were done to answer the question of “who am I?” “I left aside all strategies and just thought about what I wanted to do.” The space between ‘I don’t give a fuck’ and ‘I do give a fuck.’ So he listened to India Arie’s ‘Just Do You’ and when the words ‘do you’ were left in his heart, he made ‘Do You.’ From the “Who will hold my hand in the moment of my failure” of ‘Awakening’ to conclusion of “So just do your own thing” in ‘Do You.’ Making a mixtape of 10 tracks in the midst of continuous schedules without rest could be considered obstinance. But the sincerity that led him to start making songs by one with his anxiety as its foundation was even greater, so he tried to find the hope at the very bottom of his anxious heart. “The mixtape is like the final fortification. No matter what people do, no one can come inside here. I’m always worrying outside these lines, but I listened to good music and made it while taking into account only the standards of myself who has always longed for music. Anyway, it’s good, isn’t it? So everything is okay.”
Because he made this mixtape, he was also able to participate without concern and with a light heart in variety programs like [Problematic Men]. He was also suggested for a featuring on the new album of Tiger JK who Rap Monster respects. And, finally, through his song ‘Joke’ he gave tit-for-tat to those who called his fans ‘stans.’* “The votes from your loyal fans at the Hongdae variety shows.” “Even hip hop gods have many women who buy their albums and go to their concerts. But because they attacked me for only the reason of me being an idol, I wanted to turn it back on them and say something. When you look at the reality of it, you aren’t that different, and without those people, you also couldn’t exist.” People who don’t listen to BTS’s music teased them for wearing skinny jeans and doing smokey makeup. At that time, Rap Monster couldn’t sort out his emotions and held a grudge. After working on the mixtape and realizing some things about himself, he could return all of their attention through ‘Joke.’ In ‘Awakening’ he acknowledged his reality, and like in ‘I Believe,’ sought the essential parts of himself who wouldn’t waver until the end, even in the midst of his anxiety. Like ‘Voice’ that relied on only one piano, he also gave a perfunctory try. After expressing his heavy and chaotic heart like that with “coldly and precisely made music,” he could make ‘Joke’ without any kind of burden. The words he wanted to say, as his heart went without concern for formation. “It’s self-regard.” Starting with ‘Awakening’ and until ‘Joke,’ what he gained while splitting his time with being an idol and working on the mixtape.
Rap Monster got excited while talking about Drake, who is “in [his] Top 2 of musicians [he] likes the most.” He likes Drake’s new album, “although I can’t hit his shield.”** “It gave me the hope that I’d be able to do vocals even though I can’t sing well. Haha. The first time I heard it, I was like, what, this song has everything? He also raps really well but I like it as music. Expressing a lot with just one song, just like a painting. I also want to do music like that.” While in the underground, he focused on good rap, but with BTS he began to think of music as a song in total, and now even while writing rap he thinks about the overall image of the song that he’s writing. Even in the songs on the mixtape that’s full of rap, the fact that he could write well-developed and dramatic formations is something that he mastered while working with an idol group and writing songs as a whole. He was anxious because of [the difference between] what he wants to do and what he has to do, and was anxious again because of others’ attention rather than doing what he wanted to do. The anxiety and wounds made him unable to stop worrying. But ironically, those worries are what ultimately made him able to take off. An idol group leader who, two years before, didn’t know who he was, is now able to declare ‘Do You.’ “Anxiety, wandering, confusion, loneliness. That’s me. Even if my team succeeds and I receive recognition as a soloist as well, a different wandering will begin. But how is that? I got it. And of course I’ll keep writing songs. I’m anxious, but I still believe in myself.”
rap monster: ‘even if it’s to say bad things, i really hope you would listen to the mixtape’
Q: How did working on ‘P.D.D’ happen?
RM: Through BTS’ Mnet reality program that was aired last year, I met Warren G for the first time. At that time, Warren G said that he wanted to give us a beat. After discussing how and which album it would be good to be worked on, I ended up releasing my solo single.
Q: There’s a story that you guys bribed him with money (laughter). If you could clear up the story please.
RM: While filming the program, we got a working offer first from Warren G’s side. Warren G personally said it, and I remember Warren G’s manager really positively proposed it. Truthfully, besides ‘P.D.D’, Warren G said that he wished to remix one of BTS’ tracks and place it on the album. At first, I thought he was just saying these offers. But he said he was ‘serious’, and then I realized at that moment that it was real. He said, ‘When you guys go back to Korea, I’ll officially talk about it with your company.’ Maybe it was in order to try out something new. Although, there are probably those who don’t want to believe it and will end up not believe it (laughter).
Q: I heard that you guys first received a few songs.
RM: At first, we received 3 songs. However, the feeling didn’t really come to us well. This wasn’t the Warren G feeling that I had thought of. I was looking forward to a song like ‘Regulate’ or ‘This DJ’, but it wasn’t that kind of song. That’s why I asked for another song to be sent, and I received 3 songs additionally. Among those, ‘P.D.D’ was a song that I thought was closest to Warren G’s feel.
Q: ‘P.D.D’ is definitely a song that has the traditional vibes of west coast hip-hop. Was there a specific reason in adding these kind of lyrics to this kind of sound?
RM: As soon as I heard the song, the words of ‘Please Don’t Die’ naturally came to my mind. I think I unconsciously thought that it would be fun to speak of a slightly brutal story on top of a soft beat.
Q: When you think of a ‘battle rap’, people normally think of very straightforward lyrics. Something like, “I will kill all of you!” (laughter). However, this song felt somewhat like an indirect speech.
RM: It reflects how I feel lately towards those who hate me and criticize me. I used to find it really upsetting and got very angry a long time ago. However, I’ve been able to rise above that a bit more. I wanted to truthfully add that feeling. This is also the reason behind the lyrics of “If you want to come with me even now, then let’s go.”
Q: When I see those lyrics at the bridge, I feel that you have more ease than before.
RM: That’s true. It’s not made with force, but it really feels like that lately. If there’s any person who made personal attacks towards me, but want to come with from now on, then I want them too. I’ve gained that much ease. I also feel that I have matured a bit as well.
Q: For those who don’t know the various narrations of battle raps from traditions of west coast hip-hop sounds or the specific hidden beauty of hip-hop, could continue to view this song as boring or nothing great.
RM: I just accept it. I respect the tastes of those people. I don’t want to force it upon them or explain it. Although I’m thankful to those who understand my intention or feel enjoyment.
Q: To be honest, ‘P.D.D’ has some similarities with ‘Regulate’ if you look at it. Although ‘Regulate’ received a lot of love from Korea with a gentle sound, it’s a song that has a meaning on its ‘storytelling’ aspect as well, and more than anything, if you look at the lyrics for ‘Regulate’, it’s quite brutal and doesn’t seem to fit with the sound.
RM: That’s true. I received a lot of influence from ‘Regulate’ without knowing it. To be honest, when I first heard ‘Regulate’, I thought it was a bit weird (laughter). “The sound is good, but why are the lyrics like this?”, “Why does he talk about getting robbed so gently like this?” is what I thought.
Q: Do you normally enjoy writing lyrics to battle raps like these? Even if you’re not specifically attacking anyone.
RM: That’s it. I enjoy writing it. And I also think that you don’t need to specifically attack something.
Q: What do you mean exactly when you say that you don’t necessarily have to attack any one?
RM: I’m not the type that enjoys attacking. Even if I were to attack, I’m not the type to attack with an immense amount of aggression. However, I’m the type that has to say everything I want to say. No matter what the nuance may be, should I say that it should be resolved through music. Although someone may think “if you were going to attack someone, you should have done it properly” after listening to ‘P.D.D’, but this is my tendency and method.
Q: From the perspective of the listener, there was one place that was quite amusing. The phrase of ‘ride wit me’ comes out repetitively during the bridge, and of course, I understand that it’s a symbolic expression to say “Come with me”. However, when you listen to west coast hip-hop music a lot, don’t they normally use very direct expressions rather than the expression of ‘ride wit me’? Something like, “ride my car and ride towards the seaside of Long Beach” (laughter). Should I call that ‘driving music’. While listening to the song, things like this strangely overlapped.
RM: To be honestly, while writing the lyrics, I really wanted to include the expression of ‘ride’. The west coast hip-hop music videos that I normally had watched a lot started coming to mind, and I thought that it was a word that fit well with the west coast hip-hop vibe that the sound had. I thought that it would be good if people accepted these lyrics as a ‘medium’.
Q: I heard that you received a lot of mentoring from Warren G.
RM: I wanted to ask Warren G a lot about hip-hop. Like Warren G stated, things like ‘shooting guns, doing drugs, robbery’ aren’t things that are hip-hop itself, but a negative side that’s included within hip-hop. It’s like an uninvited guest that shoved its way into hip-hop, but people said that that’s hip-hop. He also told me that hip-hop is something that’s open to everyone despite what race you may be or what language you may speak. I heard a lot of great things from him besides those as well. Although it may seem like a very obvious thing, but the weight of it just felt different when Warren G said it. And after everything he would say, Warren G attached “It’s all Good.” When I heard those words from the side, then my mood felt really good. Should I compare it to the feeling of a grandfather telling good stories next to you (laughter).
Q: If you were to grade Warren G when he “wears glasses” vs when he “takes them off”.
RM: Since time has passed, I think it’s much better when he wears glasses. Long ago, he was really ‘very good-looking’… If you look at pictures or music videos from then.
Q: Then I’ll just wrap that up as that he looked better long ago without glasses, but looks better now with glasses. Is there anything more you have to say about ‘P.D.D’?
RM: Erm. Putting everything aside, it was really just a very fortunate event to be able to rap to Warren G’s beat. Although someone may try to cut me down for this or that reason, I’m proud and it was a good experience.
Q: Let’s talk about your mixtape, [RM]. If you can give us the concept of this mixtape?
RM: If you look at the album cover, my face is divided in black and white. I wanted to show that I was two-faced. I’m positive at some times and then negative at other times. I speak of hopes at some points and then forget about it later. You can just see it as something I made by pulling out the various rooms inside myself. I wanted to express the thought of, “There’s this many sides inside of me, but in the end, this is me, and you who’s listening to this is just you too.” I normally enjoyed India Arie’s ‘Just Do You’. It’s a song that gave a lot of comfort to me when I felt confused. I believe that the message of this song gave a lot of influence towards this mixtape. That’s why the song that represents the entire message for this mixtape is ‘Do You’.
Q: This is a solo, not a group and it’s a mixtape, not an album. Was there any specific structure you had in working on it?
RM: I tried to work on it as comfortably as I could. I tried not to have many thoughts on it. Even if there were lyrics that could start a controversy, I just went with it if it wasn’t too harsh. A BTS album is something that’s not just my own, and it needs to fit the group’s concept, which is why there are many things to think about, but since this mixtape is mine, I tried to self-examine the closest to my true self and work on it comfortably.
Q: The curses and aggressive expressions stand out.
RM: Honestly, I’m not someone who enjoys cursing. However, I believed that there was an emotion that could only be released through ‘shit’ or ‘fuck’. So I used words like those in places that were necessary. It’s not like it was a piece of work that had to go under deliberation.
Q: How did you pick the placing for the mixtape tracks?
RM: First off, after I picked the order, I discussed it with my company. For example, when I made the 1st track, ‘Voice’, I thought that it should be the first track since I had made it. This song is the only song that talks about my past story since I was young till now. It’s also a song I made after receiving influence from seeing foreign rappers rap over a piano sound. After that, ‘Do You’, which has the main message of the mixtape, came out and I wanted to talk more affirmatively about what I wanted to say through ‘Awakening’. After that, ‘Monster’, ‘Throw Away’, ‘God Rap’ came out, and in these songs, I just wanted to ‘rap’. I made it while thinking about rap songs that are good to listen to and hmm… that made my heart beat.
Q: Are you talking about the “auditory pleasure” that can only be given through raps and not singing.
RM: That’s right. That’s it. I couldn’t express it well (laughter). And for the last song, I put in ‘I Believe’. The reason why I thought I had to put this song as the last one is because no matter how the process was before, I end up believing in myself. I wanted to wrap it up.
Q: Without even listening to your explanation, ‘Voice’ really sounds like the first track, and ‘I Believe’ really fits the last position. Was there a song that was omitted during the working process?
RM: It’s a song called ‘Dreams’. It’s a song that I made around 2 years ago, but I felt like it didn’t really fit with the mixtape concept, so I didn’t put it in. Although there were a few songs that were of the melodramatic category, I felt like it was random, so I didn’t put it in. Ah, there was also a song that had to do with money, but I didn’t put it in because I haven’t earned a large sum of money yet, and I’ve never really had desperate worries over money before, so I felt that I wouldn’t be able to grasp the thoughts of people. To be honest, when I was writing the lyrics to this song, there were times I was a bit stuck or confused in the middle, but I think it’s because I still don’t have enough worries or that I don’t have enough years of experience stack up yet.
Q: So do you think that it ended up doing well after filtering out those songs?
RM: Although I was really absorbed in it when making them… I believe that it worked out well in the end. Even though I was sad about it at first, I see it that a refined and more concentrated mixtape came out. And I can use those songs later anyways.
Q: Is there a message that you wish those who are listening to it wouldn’t miss?
RM: “You Do You, I Do I” is the catch phrase for this mixtape. What I want to say is that, “You do what you have to do, and I’ll do what I have to. But I’m like this.” The thought of, “You’re you, and I’m me” is the largest thing that’s been taking control of me lately.
Q: There are a few songs that focused on rap techniques. For example, ‘Joke’ is like that. Could you talk about this song?
RM: ‘Joke’ is a song whose lyrics were written with a stream of consciousness. That’s why the title is called ‘Joke’ as well. There’s nothing hidden behind the lyrics. It’s 500% for the auditory pleasure of rap songs. Since the other songs have messages or emotions placed into them, I felt that it was necessary to add in a refreshing song without any thoughts. I put in a lot of what I believe are rap ‘skills’.
Q: What’s the reason in choosing ‘Run The Jewels’ as the beat for ‘Joke’?
RM: I normally enjoy Run The Jewels. There were a few songs I had recorded on the beat for Run The Jewels among the songs that weren’t placed on the mixtape. I believe that they make beats really well where the El-P is minimal, but is able to emphasize the auditory effect of raps. There were 5 song nominees to be used for ‘Joke’, but all 5 songs were Run The Jewels’ beats. I normally thought that if a chance came to me where I could show off my skills, that I would use Run The Jewels’ beats no matter what.
Q: I agree with you on your thoughts about the El-P beat. It’s a sound that burns a rapper’s fighting spirit with ‘I have to chew and eat this beat’ (laughter). If you could talk about ‘RUSH’ next, where Krizz Kaliko had participated.
RM: There was a time where we made a dance performance to Krizz Kaliko’s ‘Spaz’ last year on a year-end awards ceremony. And I don’t know how he found out about it, but that video came up on Krizz Kaliko’s Twitter. He said, “Look at these guys. They danced to my song, but it’s really cool.” I normally enjoy Krizz Kaliko’s songs, so after seeing that, I sent a message to Krizz Kaliko. I asked about working together via DM, but he answered so coolly that we should work together. So I sent him a few beats, but Krizz Kaliko picked out the one that I personally liked the most. I thought that as expected, he has good ears (laughter). In the end, he worked really hard. He first asked, “Want me to do the chorus too?”, and I don’t know how he knew, but he placed the word ‘oppa’ inside the lyrics before sending it to us. He probably knew it from ‘Gangnam Style’. And he also left one space blank during the chorus and gave the suggestion of, “Wouldn’t it be fun if you added in Korean during this part?” And for the mix, he replied, “I’m currently on tour in Mexico, but the mix isn’t really good because it’s not with the engineer that I normally work with. So, I think it would be good if you guys re-did the mix. Sorry.” Even after the work was finished, he proposed, “Since I worked on your mixtape this time, let’s officially work next time and release a track.” The next time I go to America, I really want to meet him once.
Q: Do you like Krizz Kaliko’s rap included in ‘RUSH’?
RM: OF course. I felt that he really genuinely worked on it. I also like the melody as well. The fun thing is, whenever we receive an award at some ceremony, Krizz Kaliko always sends us a congratulations mention (laughter). I think he’s slightly cute as well.
Q: From ‘Voice’, I could hear the part where you gave an homage to Nas’ ‘One Mic’.
RM: I normally enjoy ‘One Mic’. I like the movie-like development, and silent mood of it. I received a lot of influence from ‘One Mic’, and used a small portion of the lyrics from the clean version of ‘One Mic’. It’s respect in my own way.
Q: After hearing your reply, I remember. There was recently a screening of a documentary release. What did you feel?
RM: I learned a lot of things that I didn’t know. The interview with Nas’ younger sibling, Jungle, was especially interesting. I was looking forward to a lot of stories on Bravehearts, but it didn’t come out. Truthfully, although I did feel something from the movie itself, there’s a lot I learned from just the screening itself as well. Our nation is able to do something like this, and even when they do this, people come too… A proudness like that.
Q: In ‘Voice’, there’s a line that goes, “I admit to it, my dark past”.
RM: Just like how it says, it’s my dark past. Something that can be summarized with Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar.
Q: If you say Kendrick Lamar, then are you talking about your ‘School of Tears’ where you covered over his song, ‘Swimming Pools’?
RM: That’s right.
Q: But isn’t that song just a ‘cover’ like you say? Using the original song’s flow over the song’s beat and rapping is something that can be seen often on a hip-hop mixtape or a released song.
RM: Although I did film the music video for ‘School of Tears’, it was a cover song where I revealed what the original song was before releasing it. So it was just a successor, but it got criticized a lot, saying that it was plagiarism. To be honest, if plagiarism was the goal, who would do it like that. Also, because it was a cover song, there are many parts where I did the exact same flow as Kendrick Lamar on purpose, so that I could learn his flow. However, there were a lot of negative comments like, “This is a nation’s disgrace”, “Don’t you even have the guts as a rapper”.
Q: When I see it, that doesn’t make sense. If anything, it just sounds like attacks that started from ignorance. Don’t make it your dark past, let’s make it your bright past. Now, what do you mean with Kanye West?
RM: During the choreography practice for BTS’ comeback, we matched it to Kanye West’s ‘Black Skinhead’. Now that I look back on it, I think it may have been a bit too ignorant by the company. Because we couldn’t just use ‘Black Skinhead’ on broadcast. Anyways, our choreography teacher is amazingly skilled, so he had perfectly set up the choreography to fit with ‘Black Skinhead’. So we were fretting over how to change it before our comeback stage. But after changing it numerous times, the dance completely died. So in the end, we had to make a new song that was similar to ‘Black Skinhead’ and do our comeback stage. If I had to make an excuse, this song wasn’t added to the album, and it wasn’t used for business purposes. It was simply used for our stage performance. Like a BGM. However, I believe that people could definitely criticize this. No matter what the situation or process was, the results ended up like that.
Q: I think if you wanted to see this as a dark past, it could definitely be seen as that. Although it would be thankful if people understood this process, there’s no possibility for that. Now, let’s talk about ‘God Rap’.
RM: ‘God Rap’ undoubtedly received a lot of influence from Nas as well. Should I call it the hidden beauty of Nas? I thought of Nas’ vibe a lot while making it. To be honest, I thought a lot when I was trying to give it a title. Because there’s already Eminem’s ‘Rap God’. However, ‘God Rap’ isn’t something where I’m shouting out that “I’m the god of rap.” The story is completely different. It talks about how there is no god in the world, and that the only gods are ourselves. It’s the thought that the only thing that picks my fate is my own self.
Q: Do you not have a religion?
RM: No, I don’t.
Q: Are you Atheist?
Q: For things that talk about religious or are related to gods remind me of Joey Bada$$’s ‘Christ Conscious’. Did you happen to make a reference to that?
RM: Ah, I didn’t refer to that song. If anything, like I previously said, I received influence from Nas. However, now that I listen to it, it seems like there’s a connection (laughter). I did normally listen to ‘Christ Conscious’ a lot too.
Q: Now let’s talk about controversies and issues. ‘No More Dream’, which is your debut song that talked about the realities of education, received a lot of criticism, saying that it was ‘clearly a business method since H.O.T days of idol groups that are worn and can be seen through’.
RM: For this problem, there’s already a solution within me. My thoughts is that people in their 10’s are the same now as they were back then. They continue to not have dreams, don’t want to study, and have no idea what it is that they want to do. They just want to become a civil servant or make a lot of money. I believe that it’s the same now as it was when ‘Warrior’s Descending’ came out. That’s why we’re just trying to plainly express the reality of now. “A student that just studies hard even though they don’t have a dream” is exactly who I was. It’s not something I was trying to pull out old stories for, but something that was purely my own story.
Q: I saw that you studied well during your school days.
RM: I felt like I had to do something. I believed in the words that, “If you don’t study now, then you’re unable to succeed later on.” That’s why I studied really hard. The only thing I enjoyed from studying was the sense of achievement and superiority. I didn’t like studying itself. To be honest, when I wrote the lyrics for ‘No More Dream’, I received multiple rejections from Bang Sihyuk CEO. I wrote about money and a lot of other toics, but he said that it didn’t seem like our true stories. After going back and back again, I ended up being able to write what I truly felt.
Q: It makes me have this thought. There can definitely be criticisms towards ‘No More Dream’ from the historical viewpoint of idols or from the flow of the music industry. Since no one needs to know the reason or meaning for the creation. However, if that’s really your own personal story, I think there’s a hip-hop side to that from the context of it being ‘real’.
RM: Although I believe that I can receive criticism, I don’t have any embarrassment towards the lyrics for that song. It was really my story.
Q: You shouted, “Westside Till I Die” during ‘If I Ruled The World’.
RM: That’s well. I was really wrong then (laughter). After the album came out and I listened to it, I thought “Ah”. I think I was immersed in the emotions while recording and ended up shouting like that.
Q: What’s the specific reason why you feel you were wrong?
RM: First off, I didn’t even live in the ‘west side’… And even if that song had a G-Funk sound, what I shouted wasn’t the way to respect the west coast hip-hop musicians. I believe there are many meanings inside the words “Westside Till I Die”. Sweat, struggles, pride, etc. Isn’t it a phrase that compressed all these factors of life.
Q: Are you saying that you overlooked the weight and complex undertones that the phrase has within hip-hop?
RM: That’s right. I believe it’s different from words like “Yo!” or “Check It!”. As a result, I was thoughtless.
Q: Are you admitting it to be a mistake?
RM: Further than a mistake, it was a wrong. I have nothing to say.
Q: Then let’s talk about the battle(?) with Bobby. What started it?
RM: Bobby made references to me a few times on Show Me The Money. He seemed to enjoy using words like ‘sangnamja (T/N: true man, also the title for ‘Boy in Luv’) and ‘leading a fast life’ (T/N: pronounced as Bangtang). Saying “Like a true man, I lead a fast life” isn’t a common mix of words, right? I thought that it wasn’t just a coincidence. He not only attacked Bangtan, but Boyfriend as well. It was the context of, “Everything you guys messed up, I’ll show it all here.” However, I didn’t even have much thoughts on it at that point either. I just thought, Bobby probably just dislikes us. However, on his lyrics for ‘Come Here’, there were lyrics that seemed to be targeting us again. “I live a fast life, there’s no need for pretty boys / They call me a monster, I never called myself that / You guys like a full-length mirror much better than a basement dungeon / If my skills were looks, then I would look like Wonbin in front of a bulletproof mirror.” But to be honest, Bobby isn’t really a Wonbin… (laughter)
Q: Then is he Hyunbin?
RM: Anyways, these lyrics were the third time. I felt like I would be an idiot if I just endured it till the third time. If I didn’t give feedback in any way, then it would also be insulting to fans, and I personally couldn’t let it pass as well. Truthfully, I was planning to use lyrics from my [RM] mixtape on the MAMA stage. However, after listening to ‘Come Here’, I quickly changed the lyrics to reply to Bobby. And then as people caught onto those lyrics, it ended up becoming a hot topic. However, I personally respect Bobby. He does really well on stage. Although I don’t think his raps are exceptional or that he has a wide spectrum, his ability to dominate the stage is good, and he has a cool style of hip-hop that rappers aren’t able to achieve. And the fact that he won SMTM whether or not he had his company’s power or not is definitely something that confirmed himself.
Q: It became a topic whether it was a diss round or battle.
RM: I think it became an even larger topic, because both Bobby and I are in the category of idols. I also felt like they were putting us together to fight (laughter). However, it wasn’t to that point.
Q: I heard you guys greeted each other behind MAMA.
RM: After the performance ended, I went down but Bobby high-fived me from behind the stage. He said that he mouthed my lyrics and saw it well. I found out that when I was performing on stage, Bobby was watching me attentively.
Q: If you push and see that situation, I feel like Bobby’s mind is very hip-hop. Doesn’t it seem like he realizes that it’s both a competitor and game that forms within music?
RM: That’s exactly it. That’s exactly what I want to say, but people don’t understand it well. Our fans are worried that we’ll end up fighting like this (laughter). However, I hope that they realize that it’s not like that.
Q: Pushing aside who’s good or bad or whose side you’re on or not, I think it’s just nice to see. I feel like you guys would give synergy to each other too.
RM: That’s true. Wasn’t Swings’ ‘control crisis’ also a way to pull up all the levels of everyone through competing musically. However, because Bobby and I are both under the category of idols, I think it became a larger controversy. I hope that many people are able to realize that within hip-hop, this is a way to express yourself and that it’s natural.
Q: You did the MAMA stage with Zico. Did Zico give you this or that kind of advice?
RM: I knew Zico hyung ever since I was a young child. I believe that hyung’s actions in general show me a lot. It gives me help, but also stimulates me.
Q: So is it like a relationship like Seo Janghoon and Hyun Jooyeop?
RM: That… I don’t really know about.
Q: Before you went on stage for MAMA, what did you guys talk about?
RM: Truthfully, I wrote out the lyrics that I would do at MAMA 4~5 days in advance. After I said that, Zico hyung told me that it’s dangerous to write lyrics quickly like that and that I should be carefully. Saying that he made a really big mistake one time before (laughter).
Q: What does idol group promotions mean to Rap Monster. A good step in order to reach my goal? Something that’s actually my goal? Or just something you ended up finding yourself doing?
RM: Although I’m not trying to be discourteous towards our fans or the group itself, I think the closest definition would be something that I just found myself doing. To be honest, my goal is very clear. It’s to have many people listen to my music. I want to confirm my existence even more by standing on a large stage. Honestly, I wnated to continue just studying prior to my debut. However, the thing that brought me back to music again was this company and this group. That’s why I don’t want to say idol group promotions are a step towards my goal. This is because there’s just so much I’m receiving from these promotions.
Q: Are you saying that at first, you just wanted to do music and just wanted to rap?
RM: That’s right. However, when I was about to just concentrate on my studies, I received a call from Untouchable’s Sleepy hyung, and I ended up auditioning to this company through him. At first, BTS wasn’t within this kind of format. It was in the format of YG’s 1TYM, where we wouldn’t dance. That’s why I went into this group. Because they said that I would be able to rap in such a large company like this. And at that period, I also was rejected from an audition for Big Deal Records, so I was desperate. I thought that I had to do this no matter what. It was the perfect company to work out my dream in wanting to confirm my existence towards more people. However, as the group’s format switched to an idol group, I had a lot of confusion. I also felt really hopeless. However, I ended up somehow accepting it… And have come up to here.
Q: The fact that you didn’t reject it could also be seen as a ‘passive choice’, right?
RM: That’s right. I just… I think it was just fate to be lke this (laughter). Honestly, I really hated dancing at first. Because I’m not good at it. I still Don’t like dancing. However, the reason why I keep staying in this company is that they said they would allow me to do my music with my lyrics and my rap, and it’s slowly becoming a reality. It’s like that for BTS’ album and in my solo works too. For example, the [RM] mixtape is really no different from just myself. I believe that the company is keeping its promise with me. I liked hip-hop, wanted to do rap, and wanted to stand on a large stage. As those three interlinked, I came up to here. If you look at it in another angle… it’s something that I chose.
Q: However, this is a world that clearly divides hip-hop between real and fake, and has a compulsion towards its purity. Criticisms will continue to exist.
RM: I completely understand. Sometimes I have that kind of critical mind to myself as well. This is because there are times where I have to do things that I don’t wish to. When I see other rappers’ lyrics of “I don’t do what I don’t like to do”, I feel like it’s really cool and there’s also an envious side to me about it. Like I said before, I understand that people have a critical mind towards my position. And receive a lot of confusion too. However, because I believe that I know about that aspect of hip-hop better than any one else, I’m trying my best in order to be the most real I can in this situation. And more than anything, I want to just have the largest amount of people possible listening to my music. This is the biggest thing to me.
Q: The standards for ‘many people’ could differ for each person.
RM: That’s right. However, if someone were to ask me if I could just have my music be played for many people no matter what method or way is used, I would reply that that is not the case.
Q: As a result, ‘many people’ is your standard, and the things you’ve chosen and set compromises on through your life till now is because it doesn’t violate your own standards or values. However, your standards will probably remain unmatched with others.
RM: I understand those people too. I believe they can definitely be like that. However, I believe that the only thing that remains in the end is my music.
Q: Is there a criticism you agree with that relates to idol group promotions?
RM: There are many. Why do you do smoky makeup, why do you try to act pretty on broadcast, etc. For hip-hop where purity is important and masculinity plays a large part, I believe it’s definitely a critique that could come out. So from some point, my self-conscious has been divided in half. The reason why the cover for my [RM] mixtape is divided in black and white is to show my two-faced self. I believe that there’s no improvement if you have an inferiority complex and victim mentality. I decided upon the thought that I can only find myself once I can admit to myself and approve that both sides are sides of myself.
Q: However, towards the tradition of hip-hop that sets ‘actions’ as something importance, they could be thinking that you’re receiving everything possible through your idol group promotions and then try to act hip-hop by releasing a solo mixtape. Criticisms that that’s a contradiction and isn’t cool. Even if your mixtape’s completion level is high and is well-made.
RM: I understand that thought. You can see it like that. However, I have a lot of greed. The types of music I want to show are on this side and on that side. Conclusively, if I’m able to make good music and people continue to look for my music, won’t this kind of controversy get better… is my thought. I’m going to not be wavered by things like that any more. I’ve been shook by it too much up till now. When G-Dragon released ‘Heart Breaker’, I remember it. The reactions to when that was released as opposed to ‘One of a Kind’ is really like heaven and hell. Didn’t he do well like that? However, people that dislike G-Dragon still continue to dislike him. There’s nothing you can do about that (laughter).
Q: If there’s something final you want to say?
RM: I hope that you’ll definitely listen to this mixtape. Just download and click it. Even if it’s to say bad things about it, I hope that you can listen to it at least once.
TRANS. CR; YASUIS @ TUMBLR (@ryuveiys) | SOURCE CR; HIPHOPPLAYA
TAKE OUT WITH FULL CREDITS | DO NOT EDIT CREDITS
1. “This is just the beginning for us”
Recently, you celebrated 300 days since your debut. What, if anything, has changed the most since your debut?
- Jin: After comparing the kids’ faces before and after debut, it seems like they’ve changed a lot. It may be because of the camera massage, but it seems like all of them look more refined now, except one person. That one person is….Jimin. He looked his best at debut, and he’s maintained his looks since then.
- Rapmon: So are you saying that Jimin isn’t good looking? (laughs)
- Jin: No, it’s not that- The other members have changed a lot-
- Jimin: Don’t try to fix it- it’s said and done already!
What is something you still can’t get used to?
- J-Hope: Music shows are still difficult. There is a lot of pressure, and we need to figure out where the cameras are. The leader tells us what we need to go over before going and stage and reminds us of what our dance instructor told us.
- Rapmon: We can’t relax. I’m rapping one moment, and then dancing the next. (laughs) And because we’re still rookies, there are times when our performance time is cut short. For ‘Attack on Bangtan,’ from our last album, our performance was different on Wednesday than it was on Tuesday, so we had to be very focused.
You recorded your highest success so far with ‘Boy in Luv’ being a 1st place candidate. Did you get the company dinner that you wished for?
- Rapmon: We had it a few times before, but this time, before our album promotions, Bang Shihyuk PD took us to the garusogil. He told us he was confident in our album and that we would get a good response as long as we didn’t make any big mistakes. I think he had some kind of foresight. That day, we ate a lot of meat, and we went to a coffee shop that doesn’t seem like a place for a bunch of guys to go to.
- Jin: But we didn’t just order a few pieces and have a calm conversation- We ordered a whole bunch and ate it as soon as it came out, and then we ordered more.
The songs you promoted before this were all about the defiance, wandering, and conflict of teenagers, but this time you song is about love, so some say it’s like you’ve made up with the world. (laughs)
- Suga: This time we couldn’t make up with the girl. (laughs) But we’re rooting for all the couples in the world. Those people need to love each other so they can use our song.
‘Boy in Luv’ is a has a strong sound and beat that does not fall short of ‘No More Dream’ or ‘N.O,’ but it was interesting that it is a song about a confession for a girl. What was the process of making this song?
- Suga: We tried to make it so that it would be catchy and easy to follow along with. We put in lyrics like “Bbarim bbarim bbarim,” “dwegopa,” and “bad bad girl” because they are easy to copy.
- Rapmon: We were hoping at least one of these would stick in peoples’ minds! (laughs) Lyrics like “I want to be your oppa” and “You make me huff and puff and whine” can be seen as childish, we wanted to give an intuitive feeling. We felt like we needed one big push to get our name out there, and it fit well that the third part of our school trilogy was ‘love.’
You showed a romantic performance with the new performance for your follow-up song ‘Just One Day.’ You had to express love through not only the choreography, but also your facial expressions as well. How was it?
- Rapmon: For our past performances, we were always either mad or excited, but we needed something different for ‘Just One Day.’ We tried to think of the camera as the woman we love, especially because we have never done a sweet concept like this before.
- Jimin: But it didn’t work very well. I kept on making a strange smiling face whenever I imagined a girl to be in front of me. Hahaha!
- Rapmon: Because you’re thinking of obscene things. (laughs)
- Jin: I though I was staring very lovably, but some people were asking me why it was so greasy.
Unlike other idol groups, you seem to promote albums, as opposed to singles. Does this make you focus more on the overall positioning?
- Rapmon: Many people learned about us through ‘Boy in Luv’ and our follow-up song ‘Just One Day’ is a style that is popular with the general public, so we payed more attention to songs like ‘Spine Breaker’ and ‘BTS Cypher PT.2:Triptych,’ which shows our colors.
- Suga: We tried to match the ratio of easy-listening songs to songs that show our colors. I wrote the song ‘Tomorrow’ when I was a trainee because I wanted to write a song with a similar feel to Epik High’s ‘Fly,’ which is the song that made me start music. The non-title tracks are music that we really want to do.
J-Hope, whose specially is dancing, got more rapping part and V stood in the center this time. It seems like you are trying to show newfound skills.
- J-Hope: I was able to work harder with the help of my friends.
- Rapmon: J-Hope has never rapped before, but if you give him a part, his skills increase rapidly. I was disappointed that he usually got the bridge parts of the song. So in the song ‘Where Did You Come From’ I took the bridge and left the rest to J-Hope. And V has a special talent. In the beginning, he would do adlibs on stage without realizing it, but now he purposely shows off his charms. He learn from watching him.
- V: Ah, it’s embarassing hearing this kind of stuff. (laughs)
When we watch the videos uploaded on your blog, your aegyo has gotten better. Which member has improve the most?
- Everyone: Suga hyung!
- Jimin: Normally, Suga hyung couldn’t do aegyo anywhere, but now he always throws hearts and says things like (imitates his voice) “Suga~” “Suga Suga~” very well.
- V: Before, at fansigns, he would just smile and look around, but now (imitates his voice) “Suga Suga~!”
- Suga: It’s because I have to be professional!
You really had to be professional to dress up as girls on SBS MTV <Rookie King>.
- Rapmon: Ah…there are still pictures of me dressed up as Sailor Moon floating around.
- Jungkook: But he really was like a girl. He was sexy.
- V: I’m traumatized that I had to dress up as a ladybug fairy. I think Sailor Moon was better than that. Or maybe Rapunzel?
- Suga: I was shocked because I really didn’t want to dress up as a maid. It was even harder because I could not understand why fans would want to see that. We don’t want to see girls dressing up as guys, so why do they like to see us dress up as girls?
- Jimin: I saw everyone become very flustered after seeing themselves, but I think I would be pretty as a girl. Once, at a school festival, I wore a traditional girl’s dress and won first place. But that doesn’t mean I want to dress up as a girl. Really.
- Suga: There’s going to be news that says “BTS’s Jimin likes dressing up as a girl”
The maknae Jungkook entered high school this year. You all went to the entrance ceremony.
- Jin: I looked down into the auditorium and, objectively, Jungkook stood out the most.
- Suga: I think Jungkook was the most handsome. All of us dressed up that day.
- V: But we’re not saying that the other students were ugly! It may have been because he is tall, but Jungkook stood out.
- J-Hope: After the ceremony, Jungkook bought us all jjajangmyun and sweet and sour pork. It paid off for the hyungs who bought him a lot of things in the past.
- Jungkook: I spent the money I was saving up. (laughs)
Did the hyungs give you advice about the high school life?
- Jimin: I told him the secret that while taking your midterm, if you don’t know the answer, it’s good to pick #2 or #5. But Rapmon hyung, who was in the top 1%, said to choose #4, so I think he will take hyung’s advice. But you shouldn’t listen to the top 1% for this kind of stuff. Hyung would’ve guessed after at least trying to figure out the answer- I’ve chosen randomly a lot!
Outside of shows, you use various methods to send notices to your fans. It is especially easy to make a mistake on a social platform like Twitter, but you seem to have no problems while sharing one account.
- Suga: We are careful of what we say. And we only use it to show our fans our daily lives that they are so curious about. Usually we post current things, like where we are at the moment or what we are doing.
- V: When another member is posting, we wait so we don’t overlap.
- Jimin: Everyone likes to upload selcas and brag. Lately, I think the maknae is the best at selcas. Because he’s cute. I was last, but I practiced a lot, so I think I went up to 6th place. Last place is Suga hyung now. (laughs) When we were trainees, we even got a little competitive about the number of retweets we got. Maybe it was just me. Even if it was only a difference of 6 retweets, I would think “Ahh….I lost!” and was disappointed by myself. Ahaha.
The school trilogy is now over and it is almost your 1 year anniversary. How far do you think you have come?
- Jungkook: I’m slightly disappointed that it has already been almost a year. I wanted to show myself improved a lot in a short amount of time, but it didn’t work very well. There are more things that I couldn’t show than things that I could, and I felt like I didn’t improve very much, so I need to try something else.
- Suga: I think we just got to the starting line. I think we’re at the point where we can’t get away with things that we could get away with before just for being rookies.
- Rapmon: Sometimes it feels like we’ve come here too quickly, and sometimes it feels like we still have such a long way to go. Among ourselves, we would say ‘We’re doing well,’ but when we go to places like awards shows, we are like specks.
- Jin: So it is very complicated, but I think the right thing to do is just work hard at what’s in front of us right now. I want to go not too slow, and not too fast.
2. Rapmon, Suga 10 Questions 10 Answers
a) What do you do when you’re not on a schedule?
- Rapmon: All I do is compose. My personality is like that as well, but it’s hard to walk around freely outside. If I could roam around comfortably, I would wear my hood, listen to music, and visit Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gwanghwamun Gate. I used to do that a lot as a trainee, but now that I’m always in the studio, it’s harder to write lyrics. I should go out to look at and hear things, and talk to my friends.
b) You wrote a short poem about starting social life at the age of 20 “Are you going to crumble / Are you going to get buried.” What was the hardest thing?
- Rapmon: Not being able to say what I want to say, or having to say things I don’t want to say, because of my responsibilities as the leader. It’s hard because I feel like my true feelings are a lie and that I am being rejected.
c) But even through that, is there something that you’ve learned in the past year?
- Rapmon: I’ve grasped some things, but haven’t mastered them yet. I know it in my head, but my actions don’t always follow. There are some problems where I must compliment the person who disagrees with me to bring them to my side and work in a direction that is best for both of us. When I didn’t know this, I only pushed and criticized the other person, so that person must have felt trapped. People who don’t know me very well may think that I’m mature, but closer people see me as a kid. (laughs) Over the past year, I’ve realized that I’m really a ‘kid.’
d) Aren’t there a lot of fans that are younger?
- Rapmon: A lot of 14 and 15 year-olds send letters. Some say “You studied hard and worked on music hard, so you found your path early, but I have no idea what I’m doing right now. But I started to think about my dreams after listening to your songs.” and about ‘No More Dream,’ some say “I don’t listen to this song during testing season because I feel guilty. I feel like I’m becoming insignificant.” Things like this make me look back on myself.
e) If you didn’t do music, what would you be doing now?
- Rapmon: Maybe I would be a student. If I went into college, I would be wrestling with assignments and pleading with professors, like other students. I think I would either join a music club or watch performances in Hongdae because I wouldn’t be able to forget music. Since I am already in the school, I wouldn’t worry about grades, I would just focus on graduating. (laughs)
f) Right now, what would be your biggest possible deviation?
- Rapmon: Missing a deadline, or going to a nearby park to compose. Once, things were not working out well, so I threw the keyboard and mouse and went to a nearby tennis court to write a song, and that song was ‘No More Dream.’
g) Are there times when you wished you would be less reasonable?
- Rapmon: Always. I think my rationalism gets in the way of my creativity. I’ve written many songs, but the last time I got a good review was on a song that I wrote when I exploded at something. Normally, I have so many thoughts that it’s hard to organize them when I write lyrics. But these complicated thoughts are central to my music and made me who I am today. It’s a double edged sword.
h) What would you do if you could gather all of your luck at once and use it?
- Rapmon: I’ll take out music, since I have to do that with my own power. Can I choose two things? (laughs) Loving the person that I love and getting married. Another one would be having an unchanging friendship with two people who have been my friends since kindergarten. You never know what will happen in life, so I think things like that are luck.
i) What do you think art is?
- Rapmon: Showing others the world that you see. That’s why I think anyone can become an artist.
j) What kind of artist do you think you are?
- Rapmon: A person in deep though between two families. i want to be secure even while I am lost, and I think about losing one thing by choosing another. Sometimes I just want a secure life, and gain inspiration by seeing the nature that I love, but on the other hand, I want to go on an adventure. Everything brings up a dilemma. Everything on this planet is contradictory.
a) During filming you suggested new outifts. Are you interested in fashion?
- Suga: I am. Earlier, the clothes that were prepared seemed like it would be too hot, so I changed it. I don’t really buy expensive clothes, but I pay close attention when buying accessories. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings- I like them all. Lately, I’ve been collected basketball shoes that I’ve liked since elementary school. After only working for a year, my heart is empty, so I do this to fill the void.
b) What recharges you?
- Suga: Basketball. I won many competitions while I was in school, and I played basketball every Sunday when I was a trainee. I used to play at the Han River, and I got scouted to a college hyung’s team, but I don’t have time to play because I debuted. My position is either the point guard or shooting guard, and my feet are fast, so I’m better at defense than offense. But I’ve lost some of my skill because I haven’t played in a long time. Three-pointers weren’t this far away back then…(laughs)
c) What is a moment in everyday life that you like, that no one knows about?
- Suga: When I write music by myself. Usually, midnight to 6am is the most stressful time, but I don’t dislike it. I don’t really like loud places with a lot of people. I think everyone needs a time and place for themselves to get refreshed.
d) What has been the biggest change between the underground rapper Min Yoongi and Min Suga?
- Suga: That has been my worry lately. When I look back, I’ve seen and learned a lot between those times. At the time, I thought everything I did was the best, including my music, so I think I grew a lot. But I’m worried that I’m not as sharp as I was before, so I’m worried that I lost my original color.
e) How is writing lyrics different from performing on stage?
- Suga: I think idols are fundamentally entertainers, so they must show something impactful. It’s important to be good at writing lyrics and rapping, but something that surpasses that is the “visual” aspect. But I don’t want to just be good for show, so I work on things on the inside. Because there are things that are underestimated and overestimated. Of course, it would be best to be good at everything.
f) If you had to live on a non-inhabited island for 3 years, which member would you take with you?
- Suga: Jimin. So I can boss him around. (laughs) I’m just kidding. I don’t talk much and I’m not funny, but Jimin is amiable and mature, so we match well.
g) You may not have a funny personality, but you are a funny character. You seem like you’re not greedy, but you have a lot of ambitions.
- Suga: I may not have much ambition as an entertainer, but I have a lot of ambition when it comes to music. When I was young, I prefered hands-on learning as opposed to reading from a book, so my goal was to be someone who shapes our culture. Someone who can direct anything from music videos to performances. My dreams are big, even though I don’t know if I will do well.
h) What would you do if you could gather all of your luck at once and use it?
- Suga: I’m not the type to go all-in on anything…but if I was given the luck, I would go all-in on the work I am doing now. Life is long, but I have the ambition to reach the peak with my music.
i) How do you compromise when you have to do something you don’t like in order to do something that you do like?
- Suga: A fan once asked me “What comes first- what you want to do, or what you have to do?” and I think what you have to do comes first. I’m not in the situation where I can say that I can’t do it, and I’m not so inflexible that I will say I won’t do it, just to safe my pride. But there is one thing I can’t give up- being honest with my music. I only write about my own experiences.
j) How would you describe your attitude towards the world?
- Suga: I don’t worry about others. Sometimes it comes out in my lyrics- “I don’t give a shit.” I don’t really like worrying about what others think of me, so I want to avoid worrying about it if I can. I want to just keep living how I’ve been living up until now.
3. Jin, J-Hope, Jimin 10 Questions 10 Answers
a) Earlier, you took a bite out of the strawberry bread and stopped. As the official chef of BTS, what is your review?
- Jin: Personally, I like strawberries, but I don’t like strawberry flavored things. Just like I don’t like chocolate, but I do like chocolate flavored things. That’s why I make food and give it to the members, but Suga’s reviews are the most detailed. He says my food tastes like food from low restaurants, but I don’t feel hurt. I’m satisfied that I can’t make the food that I want to eat.
b) I hear you are very neat. How do you deal with the members making the dorm messy?
- Jin: I don’t clean anymore. I won’t give in. The kids don’t do the dishes. I’m leaving them be so they can see what will happen, but it’s very uncomfortable. I don’t like the smell of wooden chopsticks, so I use metal chopsticks, but I’m sad that I can’t use them freely. I don’t think the kids are uncomfortable, so I’m at war by myself. Later, when the house gets dirty, I need to carefully ask them to do the dishes.
c) You’re the oldest member in BTS. What are you scared of?
- Jin: Bugs and ghosts. I’m not scared of seeing bugs, but I get really scared if they crawl on my body. I’m really bad a watching horror movies. During my freshman year of high school, I was watching a horror movie with a guy that I was awkward with, and I ended up hugging him without realizing it. if we ever do a horror special recording in the future, I might faint.
d) We heard you are a huge fan of Supermario. Did you know that McDonalds will be having a special event soon with the toys?
- Jin: They say it’s coming out in June. My friends told me that there are many different kinds of toys, so they saud they would eat and gather the toys for me. I don’t like hamburgers, so I can eat and gather them myself.
e) There is a rumor that you are a huge fans of animations. Is there anything you’ve been watching lately?
- Jin: I like animation movies, but not necessarily the characters. When watching Mamoru Hosoda or Hayao Miyazaki movies, there are things that can’t be expressed by people. When I watch people acting, I end up analyzing. I think “Ah, that person is trying to express the character this way” and it breaks the mood.
f) At the dorms, you are the oldest, but at home, you are the youngest. What kind of son are you?
- Jin: A long time ago, my brother, who is two years older than me, was the center of the household, but now I am the “most popular.” My aunt called and said I was the pride of the household. Lately, I’ve actually been telling my mom that I get enough attention, and to give more attention to my brother. (laughs)
g) You already chose a name for your first child. Do you already have your family planned out?
- Jin: My first child will be a daughter, and my second child will be a son. I really want my son to have an older sister. I have an ideal image of having an older sister. Most guys with an older sister told me this- that the older sister puts allowance in her little brother’s wallet. My older brother took money out of my wallet! And a long time ago, I was traumatized when my friend told me that his girlfriend went home to make her little brother food. I never realized that an older sibling could cook for their younger sibling. I will name my son Yoosun, with the common family syllable. I took the name of Yoobi’s son. I was sad when I found out that my name didn’t have the common family syllable.
h) Are there times when your wild side comes out, in contrast to your pretty face?
- Jin: Not yet, but I think there would be if I went on a show like SBS’s <Laws of the Jungle>. I want to try the foods of native tribes. I’m a neat person, but I don’t mind sleeping outside. Isn’t it unexpected?
i) You probably can’t go to your college classes very often. What kind of student do you consider yourself to be?
- Jin: I take tests too. On Sunday, I studied 8 hours for a subject called <Laws and the Legal Mind>. But I don’t understand any of it. Maybe because they’re 3rd and 4th years now, but my friends all look tired. I only remember fun thing’s, like OT, but my friends are all stressed out about finding a job.
j) If you could break away right now, what do you want to do the most?
- Jin: I found a restaurant that I want to go to. I will ask my mom to go eat with me. When I eat, I feel happy and everyone looks like angels. Ah, but I’m only happy when I can eat what I want. Recently, I watched tvN’s <Let’s Eat> and I started to crave noodles, so I went to a restaurant to eat, but I regretted it. If you buy it, the taste of artificial flavors is too strong.
a) When you were filming on the merry-go-round, you went straight to the horse.
- J-Hope: My nickname is ‘J-Horse’ because my face is long. Don’t you think it was just a horse recognizing another horse? Ahahaha. I’ve liked the merry-go-round since I was young. It’s not much, but I remember coming with my family and having fun while riding it. As soon as I saw it, I felt like I went back to childhood.
b) You’re in charge of ‘hope’ in the group. What kind of child were you?
- J-Hope: “When I was a student~” I was a rascal. (laughs) My middle school didn’t have a snack bar, so I climbed the fence once. But I always went to class. During high school, my father was a teacher, so even if I sat in the back, I wasn’t one of those fidgety kids. But I didn’t get good grades.
c) Do you have a side that fans don’t know about?
- J-Hope: I really like watching melodramas and I’m very emotional. My father really liked movies, so I remember watching DVD’s when I was little. He turned on a really old movie, and I thought “What are they saying?” while watching it. (laughs) But those kinds of experiences help me when I write lyrics. The most recent sad movie I’ve seen is <Pain>. I’ve never gone to the movie theaters by myself, but if I get the chance, I want to go and watch a melodrama by myself.
d) Do you like trying new things?
- J-Hope: Aren’t most people hesitant to try new things? I’m not like that at all. (laughs) Lately, aside from studying music, I’ve been thinking that I want to learn foreign languages. Especially Japanese and Chinese. Isn’t it important for the Asian market? Ahahaha. So I made plans to study. It will be hard for me to by books and study on my own, but I’ve been trying to expose myself to the culture of those countries.
e) You’re tooth broke your tooth while playing chicken fight on SBS MTV’s <Rookie King BTS – Channel Bangtan>. Are you normally competitive?
- J-Hope: I’m the type who goes all-in when I get attached to something. But after joining BTS, my competitiveness got worse, because all the members are competitive. A long time ago, I would compete in dance competitions, and I just accepted losses as experiences, but now I’m very different. I am even competitive when playing games with the members, but it helps me when we do promotions.
f) You’re always lively, but are there times when you calm down?
- J-Hope: When I am in the studio. Yesterday morning, I wrote lyrics and they got reviewed, by I got rejected. (laughs) I usually want to be introspective and write about myself, but I begin to worry. Lately, I feel like I’ve been falling behind compared to the other members. I’m timid, so I have to be in ‘pain’ by myself.
g) You had a hidden camera for your birthday not too long ago. If you could arrange a hidden camera on one of the members, who would it be?
- J-Hope: Suga hyung, for sure. All of the members are probably thinking the same thing. That hyung is very aware of his surroundings, so he never falls for hidden cameras. I want to try tormenting him once. If I want to fool Suga hyung, it has to be large-scale and elaborate.
h) How do you feel about your style now compared to your debut, when you wore the mask?
- J-Hope: It’s hard because I have to take care of my skin now. Lately, pimples have been a problem for me. I wash my face well and try to use make up that works well with my skin, but it’s no use. I want ‘honey skin.’ (laughs) It was a new experience to dye my hair for the first time in my life. I want to match my hair and clothes and dress up to be funky, because I like a brighter feel.
i) You are called the second Kwanghee. Is there a specific variety program that you want to try?
- J-Hope: I like shows like MBC’s <Infinity Challenge>, where you can talk and use your body. I think shows like MBC’s <Radio Star>, where you kind of diss people while you lead the conversation, or MBC Everyone’s <Weekly Idol>. I want to go on a show with No Hongchul sunbaenim! I like laughing freely rather than following some kind of script.
j) What do you want to do the most if you were given time to yourself for only one day.
- J-Hope: I want to go on a trip and take a lot of pictures. I didn’t get to go on many trips as a child, so I’m very clingy when it comes to the idea of going on trips. (laughs) The first time I left the country was after I debuted. We went to Japan and that was my first time riding an airplane and eating airplane food. If I go on a trip by myself, I wouldn’t be able to carry around a camera like Suga hyung does, but I would use my cellphone camera to take pictures of food and scenery, and take selcas. They say pictures are the only way to preserve memories.
a) When you were filming, you were uncomfortable showing your legs in shorts. Were you embarrassed to show skin?
- Jimin: I’m ok with showing my skin because I showed my abs a lot when we first debuted. Fans are curious if my abs are doing ok, but actually, they went away…but I’ve started exercising again with the maknae! We don’t have much time to exercise during promotions, but I’ve been trying to exercise after schedules every day, even if it’s late.
b) You are one of the members that draws eyeliner very thickly. What is the relationship between eyeliner and your confidence?
- Jimin: Eyeliner is like my life. When I don’t wear eyeliner, I am shy and I feel like I can’t dance hip hop. Sometimes, when I’m dancing in the practice room with no eyeliner, I feel like I can’t even make strong facial expressions. Because I look so simple in the mirror. (laughs) But really, how do they draw eyeliner? I’m fascinated, so I often watch the noona that does our makeup, but I don’t think I can do it myself.
c) You’ve been maintaining black hair for a while, so do you want to change your hair style or color?
- Jimin: Lately, I’ve been interested in clothing, and I want someone to tell me “You look awesome,” but I haven’t really thought about my hair style. Sometimes, they’ll style my hair differently, so I see it and I am satisfied. Aren’t I simple? (laughs) I am kind of interesting in earrings. I made a mistake while piercing my cartilage not too long ago, so my earlobe is swollen. When it gets better, I’m going to try again. I don’t want a lot of piercings, like Suga hyung, but I want 4 in total. I only need one more.
d) As someone who just turned 20, what do you think is the difference between a boy and a man?
- Jimin: I haven’t become a man yet…I think men need two things. First of all, he must have a “force,” even when he’s just standing still. And a man is manly when he has a nice body. (laughs) That’s why I’m trying to work on my body and I’m working on my charisma; I have to imagine that I am the best. Normally, I’m really bad at thinking like that, so I’m trying to work on it.
e) I heard you like superheroes. What is your favorite character?
- Jimin: I like Hulk from <Avengers>. Don’t most people like Iron Man? But I like how the Hulk smashing everything without being picky. He doesn’t try to be sneaky, he just dominates whatever is in front of him.
f) People say that all of the members like to tease you the most. Why do you think that is?
- Jimin: They say my reactions are funny. Recently, when we went to go watch a 4D movie for the first time, I was so fascinated that I said “Hyung! The subtitles are in the middle!” and they were embarrassed and teased me. I try to tease the maknae and J-Hope, but I always end up losing. He says “Ah, hyung, is that the best you can do?” and I always lose when it comes to words. So I’ve just accepted it. I would just appreciate it if they didn’t tease me more than they do now.
g) You’re pretty shy, but there’s a rumor that it’s your hobby to seduce girls. (laughs)
- Jimin: This is definitely not true. In front of the members I say that my eye smile will get all the ladies, but I actually can’t do anything in front of girls. For middle school and high school, I went to co-ed schools and I played with boys and girls alike, so I don’t know why I’m like that either. I think I am a shy Busan man.
h) The maknae, Jungkook, always picks you as last for visual rankings. If you could choose, who would be first and who would be last?
- Jimin: It hurts a little every time the maknae says that, but I think Jin is first place. Last is…(looking at Rapmon from far away) well, he’s gotten handsomer lately…so let’s just say Suga hyung. (laughs) I feel bad for just saying it straight out.
i) Is the way other people perceive you to be different from your perception of yourself?
- Jimin: I think people just see me as a kid with a lot of aegyo. I don’t know about aegyo, but I want to be a kid that wants to be cool. I acknowledge that I am like a kid. After seeing my pictures, I really do look like a kid. When I see myself trying to act cool on stage, even I think it’s cute.
j) I heard you are always practicing. What are your hobbies others than practicing?
- Jimin: Lately, when we go out of the country, I’ve been drawing pictures. I didn’t realize it, but I think I like to draw before going to sleep in foreign countries. (laughs) I am actually pretty happy with my drawings. Recently, I uploaded a drawing to the fancafe, and the reaction was “You’re good at drawing. Oojjoojjoo!” But it’s just a hobby, so I don’t feel the need to hear people say “wow.”
4. V, Jungkook 10 Questions 10 Answers
a) As soon as you got to the amusement park, you touched all of the rides. Which one did you like the most?
- V: I was excited because there were things that I couldn’t ride when I was younger. I like the squirrel container- the one where you fly around. I really like amusement parks; I especially like the gyro drop, gyro swing, and roller coasters. Usually, I’m scared of ghosts, can’t touch gross things, and am scared of heights, but rides are different. It feels secure, but it’s thrilling at the same time.
b) During the photoshoot, you didn’t seem to move around freely. Was it awkward?
- V: My model friends say that pictures don’t turn out very well if you move around too much. I listened to them and stopped moving around too much, and the the pictures really did come out better. I try to make poses while looking at photoshoots from Gongyoo sunbaenim and GD sunbaenim, but I haven’t been able to find my right poses yet. I’m just at the point where I don’t have to be looking forward for pictures.
c) You’re famous for being a member who fools around a lot, but are there members that tease you as well?
- V: It would be Suga hyung, if anyone. I’ll be lying down, and he’ll come to me and say “You rascal, are you tired?” and grab and bother me. (laughs) Rapmon hyung makes jokes while rhyming, and he can’t be followed. If I try, it turns out like “Hyung, I’ll say now horse?”, “Hold the sword and call your friend.”
(T/N: They’re supposed to be puns, but don’t make any sense in English;;)
d) You like animations, right? What have you been watching lately?
- V: I’ve seen all of <One Piece>. But aside for Jin hyung, the other members don’t really like animations. Really, if you watch it once you’ll fall in love, but they don’t watch even if I tell them about it. Someone lives and someone dies, it was a touching story, but I’m disappointed because I can’t share it with the members.
e) You’ve been constantly composing. Did your skills improve?
- V: I’ve been keeping my distance from composing. I’ll make a melody and try to write certain lyrics, but those certain lyrics won’t come to me. It’s only things like “I really love you” or “It’s only you.” I’m going to wait until I can do a little better.
f) I heard you are studying Japanese. How much have you learned?
- V: I can hold a normal conversation. I think I’m improving because I speak a little with Japanese fans that come to our fansigns. I like words like ‘komibako’ (trash can) and ‘guragura’ (shaking). The word ‘komi’ means trash, but doesn’t it sound nice? Komi…komi…komi…(laughs) It gets stuck in my head. Normally, I got tutored in Japanese with Rapmon hyung, but, maybe because he’s in the top 1%, that hyung has his own way of studying. If he comes across a word he doesn’t know, he writes it on a memo pad on his phone, or on a big notebook. I think “He might as well write it on his hand.” (laughs)
g) There seem to be a lot of things that you learn or do as a hobby. Are you the type that gets sick of something quickly?
- V: Yes. I learned saxophone for 3 years, but after resting for 4 years, my skills haven’t gotten any better, and my mouth just hurts when I try to practice again. I used to have my own unique sound, but after hearing myself sound the same as any other woodwind, I decided to stop. I won an award by playing the song ‘Desperado’ by the Eagles, so I thought I could take the world by storm with that one song, but more and more people were beginning to play it. I tried to find another song, but then I was casted into BTS, so I had to stop.
h) You say that you have a good fashion sense. What is your standard for choosing clothes?
- V: I like to give a point with just one color. If I match my outfit to be black, I’ll give a point with a bandana, or if I don’t have one, I’ll wear a unique hat, or a round hat that isn’t quite a snapback. There’s nothing I can’t pull off. Nothing is impossible. If the hat doesn’t look good on me, I can just change the clothes. If I find a unique hat that I like, I will buy pants and shoes to go along with it, all at once. If I buy clothes like that, I don’t buy any clothes for 5 months.
i) They say your character is loved by all the members. What is your secret?
- V: I treat everyone like friends, regardless of age. That way, the younger people don’t feel intimidated, and we can fool around with cool ideas. Sometimes I can feel that the people around me care about me. Sometimes, I’ll listen to a friend’s problems and they’ll say “You’re the only person I’ve told” or if I can’t contact my friends for a while, they’ll say “I miss you, friend.” On my birthday, I’ve received 50 really long katalk messages before.
j) You’re known to be 4D normally. Is there anything where you think “I’ve even thought about this”?
- V: I think about racy things, but usually I think that I can become Iron Man. I plan things out because I want to fly. If I take parts off of a plane for myself, and fill it with jet fuel, then I think I will be able to fly.
a) You were good at stepping on bugs during the shoot. Are you the type that doesn’t get scared easily?
- Jungkook: I dislike all bugs except cool bugs like beetles or stag beetles. When I was younger, I had a stag beetle, but it died quickly because I didn’t raise it well. I caught it in the mountains and put it in a container at home…In the summer, I caught 3 or 4 crawfish in the mountains and raised them. At the time, I didn’t know anything, so I left them outside, and they cooked and died… I didn’t even get to name them, so I was sad.
b) Have you raised any other animals?
- Jungkook: I have a maltese at home. It’s name is ‘Gureum’ (cloud) and I miss him/her a lot. Both of my parents work, and my brother is in the army, so Gureum is always alone. I jokingly asked the hyungs if we could raise a dog in our dorm, but they said no. They said a dog needs to be raised in a good environment, but our dorm only has clothes and shoes, and no people, so that dog will die quickly.
c) You entered high school recently. What is your favorite subject?
- Jungkook: Exercising or art; I dislike everything except for music. I like gym class, and I have the most fun when playing dodgeball or badminton. Ever since middle school, I was good at throwing the ball really hard in dodgeball. I think I’m a fast learner when it comes to doing stuff with my body. Earth science is really hard. But I’m the type who thinks it’s important to try hard in other things if I can’t do something, so I neatly gave up on earth science.
d) Is there any resolutions you’ve made now that you’re 18?
- Jungkook: When I was younger I thought that everything would just come to me eventually, but now I think that I need to take initiative and practice to improve myself. Last year, I practiced because I had to, but now I do it on my own. I even started to read a book. It’s called <1cm+> and it was a present from a fan. I read when I don’t have a schedule or before I go to sleep. While I’m reading, I think “If I read, then I’ll become better at speaking then I am now, right?”
e) The hyungs say you building up your muscles is pushing them to do the same. What made you start exercising?
- Jungkook: Before, the hyungs would exercise and I wouldn’t, but one day, I saw Taeyang sunbaenim and Jay Park sunbaenim and thought that I wanted to build up my body too. The hyungs exercise along with me too, but there’s no sense of competitiveness. I think exercise needs to be done scientifically. For example, I’ll use 6kg weights because I’m 65kg. I don’t really notice, but people around me told me that my muscles got bigger.
f) Putting your title of a singer aside, what kind of man does the boy, Jungkook, think is cool?
- Jungkook: Isn’t a man someone who doesn’t care about what others think? A man that does whatever he wants. But even though I say this, I’m actually quite timid, so this description is very different than how I actually am. If I work hard, I could probably become a cool man quickly, but when I’m 20, I think I will be able to be fashionable, sing well, write songs well, and write lyrics well.
g) After looking at the drawings you upload, you seem to have your own style. When did you start drawing?
- Jungkook: Everyone in my family is good at drawing, so I copied them when I was young. My dad, amazingly, drew a picture called “Baby, let’s go.” He copied Park Shinyang’s art, but it looks the same. I thought an artist drew it. My older brother and mom are god at drawing, and I am the worst. I never learned formally, so my expression through drawing doesn’t do my imagination justice. Sometimes I draw the members with a pen. The easiest thing to draw was Rapmon hyung when he used to wear sunglasses and have curly hair.
h) Now that you’re a year older, are there times when you feel like you’ve gotten old?
- Jungkook: The wrinkles by my eyes….suddenly there’s so many. Is it because I smile so much? Not that I use eye cream or pay any attention to them. More than that, I think I used to complain a lot to the hyungs when I was younger. Now, when the hyungs say things that I don’t like, I realize that I must think before speaking.
i) Is it that you can’t fix your Busan accent, or is it that you aren’t?
- Jungkook: It’s true that I can’t fix it, but I also don’t try to. I guess you could call it a Busan man’s pride. There’s something like that. I want to mix the Seoul accent and Busan accent when I speak. Jimin hyung is also from Busan, and V hyung is from Daegu, so if I think about it, I use an accent less frequently than they do. Although my accents pops out when I don’t pay attention.
j) I heard that you started to play the guitar recently. What is the reaction of the people around you?
- Jungkook: After seeing how Justin Bieber not only sings, but also plays the drums and guitar, I starting practicing. I can’t practice very much, but I’ve been looking at a book and playing acoustic guitar for about a month, but the hyungs don’t really seem to care. It might be because he is competitive, but after seeing me play guitar, V hyung started to learn also. There are a lot of things that V hyung wants to do, but it doesn’t seem like he can do one thing for a long time. Jimin hyung and I talk about this sometimes. (laughs) If hyung hears this, might be a little bothered, right?
Rap Monster. Real name Kim Namjoon. Born on September 12th 1994. During my underground days, I used the stage name Runch Randa. I got that name from the character my friend (who introduced me to rap) and I were taking care of in Maple Story. I read lots of books and all sorts of writings while writing rap lyrics to increase my vocabulary. It didn’t really work out after debuting though, because we’re so busy. But if I ever get an idea or remember good words, I always right them down on a notepad. At one point, my nickname was “Dance Prodigy” – I was so bad at dancing that my dance teacher and the company staff called me that. The difference between the things I’m good at and the things I’m bad at is extremely obvious. I thought “Ah, that’s not my speciality. Everyone has their own thing, and there are just some things you shouldn’t do.” about dancing. But turns out, it wasn’t impossible. Nowadays I’m told that I actually dance like a normal person. The members might not agree with that, though. (laughs) Although I don’t show it, I’m really nervous on stage. I used to watch people on TV walk out from behind LED doors on Mnet <M! Countdown> so actually doing it was fascinating and nerve-racking. I once went on stage without my microphone pack so I started fretting about that also. But when I got on stage, I got the feeling that I was in charge of the place. I think you need that kind of mentality when doing hip-hop. Because I have a fierce image, I often think “I’m the best here.” But unlike what you see, I have a shy personality in real life. The members tell me that there’s a big gap from me on stage and off-stage. (Suga: On stage, he wears sunglasses and has a powerful image but he actually likes cute things. He keeps the <Pocket Monster> ball he received at a fansign on his bed.) I have a habit of singing loudly at night in the dorm. I always sing so I never thought that it’d affect the members. I realized that after a while but the members never said anything – probably because I’m the leader and I was the first member in the dorm. (laughs) I think I’ve improved by 7, 80% now. I always check the current affairs and general topics in the news. It’s easy to neglect things happening around the world because of our busy schedules. I don’t like that so I check the news. If I ever have a girlfriend who isn’t an idol, I want to write them a song that apologizes for being an idol. Imagine how much the girl would dislike the fact that I’m an idol, since I’m always busy and because there are so many other fans who like me even though she’s there. I would like her to know that ‘I’m a much better person than you think.’ It’s because no matter what others do or say, I know myself the best. Also, even though this may make me sound arrogant, I want to say that I haven’t shown half of half of my abilities. I have a lot of charms and hope to show them in the future.
Suga. Real name Min Yoongi. Born on March 9th 1993. There was a stage name I used as a lyricist in Daegu. I wanted to use that but people said it had no impact and that I should have a prettier name so Bang Sihyuk PD and I came up with a few ideas. Out of those choices, he said “Suga” suited me best so that’s how I got this name. It’s kind of a dazzling name but I think that’s what people wanted. It’s a name that contradicts the image I have on stage. When I first came to Seoul and went to the recording studio, Rap Monster and two other trainees were wearing Adidas tracksuits in different colors – blue, green, and black. I felt like I had to buy one too, so I got a blue tracksuit. (laughs) The name Bangtan was finalized before we even thought of other names. There were a few other suggested names, though. Young Nation, Big Kids, and a few others were candidates but we decided that Bangtan sounded cooler. I decided to pursue a career in music after hearing Stony Skunk sunbaenim’s “Ragga Muffin” in 6th grade. I chose to rap after listening to “Fly” by Epik High sunbaenims. I had some basic Midi gear that was essential in music-making before entering the company. They were things that I had bought as a lyricist after saving up enough money by walking around for two hours every day and skipping dinner every day. But all the equipment in our logs are things that Bang Sihyuk PD gave us. (laughs) In our pre-debut song “Satoori Rap”, I rap in my native Daegu satoori. My satoori is kind of awkward now because I’ve fixed it, but it’ll be solved with a quick visit to Daegu. In one of the lyrics that I wrote in 2011, there’s a part that says “My rapping makes Superstar K’s Huh Gak gasp~” I had that much confidence in myself but as my training period got longer, I couldn’t help but think “I’m only worth this much. Should I just give up?” Even while saying that, I always wrote raps at midnight and trained a lot. My role is to nag or scold the younger members when they make a mistake. It’s because I’m the only member in the group who can speak harshly. I have an honest and blunt personality so if I feel that something isn’t right, I always speak up about it. I’ve posted it on Twitter before but once I get all the necessary supplies, I’d really like to have a cooking battle. Jin hyung is good at cooking but I also have some know-how that I’ve collected. (laughs) On Twitter, I use the words “슙슙” and “응캬캬” frequently. There are people who like it and people who say it’s greasy. My real personality isn’t aegyo-y like that and I’m actually quite straightforward. I just write like that because I want to do that with fans. You could say that it’s my special way of showing fans that I like them.
J-Hope. Real name Jung Hoseok. Born on February 18th 1994. I received commissioned education in Gwangju after signing a contract with my company. I thought ‘They’re so cool. There are these type of people at my company.’ after Rap Monster and Suga hyung were revealed. I moved to the dorm in December but there was a really big difference. My hopeful fantasy of trainee life shattered. (laughs) I got a lot of prizes in Gwangju for my dancing. I won an underground dance battle and even performed at a festival. (V: I can confirm this. While enrolling at Korea Arts School, there were lots of trainees coming from different districts. When I debuted with Bangtan, my friends asked me “J-Hope hyung, is he the one from that dance academy in Gwangju?” That’s how famous he was.) Before debuting, the members and I always did midnight dance practices. Me, Jimin, and Jungkook would often take lead and practice at midnight or sometimes even 1 or 2 am, practicing for two hours each time. First we practice the basics, then move onto details. Dance has freestyle like rapping, so sometimes we’d gather in a circle and dance. What I like best about dancing is that we all can agree. They understand faster when I explain by saying “In rapping you do this, it’s the same in dancing. Let’s try it out.” These days I think V is the best at catching up and understanding. At first I thought “Ah….what do I do.” but now he enjoys dancing and is showing a lot of interest in it. Rap Monster’s dancing skills have also improved a lot. In other words, he’s become great [at dancing]. (laughs) I’m the only member with an older sister. She’s five years older than me but we’re really close. You could say that she’s a tree who gives me constant support. There’s a lot of negative things about wearing a mask. First of all, it’s really hard to breathe and it gives me bad skin. I have to put it on straight after singing but depending on the type, there are some masks that don’t pull up that well and it’s hard. But lots of people recognize me because of it so I’m happy. Jin hyung made seaweed soup* for me and it tasted really good. It made me speechless. It tasted like my mom’s. (Jin: That was before we had a diet menu so I could put in soy sauce, salt, and beef into the soup.) I’m the type of person to approach someone without hesitation and my speaking habits are also like that. I sometimes nag Rap Monster and he says “Okay. I won’t do that anymore.” but he never really listens. (laughs) Of course, now most of his bad habits are fixed. (Rap Monster: If I’m fire, J-Hope is water – he’s good at ‘turning off’ my bad habits. He’s really sociable so he’s good at mixing with others and our group members.)
* It’s a Korean tradition for somebody celebrating their birthday to eat seaweed soup.
Jin. Real name Kim Seokjin. Born on December 4th 1992. I made a big mistake during our first performance at <M! Countdown> It was my first time wearing a microphone pack and went up on stage with them attached to my normal pants, but they turned out to be too heavy. During “We Are Bulletproof Pt.2”, there is a part when we jump down but while doing so, my pants went down all the way to my thighs. (laughs) I quickly pulled them back up but they fell off again during the second time. Other than eating, I also enjoy looking at photographs and recipes. But when I cook, the members’ reactions aren’t that good because my food always tastes the same. Even when I change the order I put in the ingredients, the results are the same. It’s because we have a diet plan to follow and the only available options are chicken breast meat, onions, paprika, and rice. (Jimin: Once we actually skewered some chicken breast meat and onions on a chopstick and cooked it but it tasted burnt.) Because I’m bad at cooking, I want to marry someone who is better at it than me. I’ve never even thought about marrying somebody who is worse at cooking than me. I eat all health products that I see. But I don’t eat other people’s [health products]. I was the last to enter the dorm so I had a hard time adjusting at first. I don’t live extremely neatly and don’t clean up all the time but feel that everyone should put away their dishes themselves after eating or put their laundry in the laundry basket but only J-Hope and Suga do that. After they left a big mess, I thought “Ah, will I be able to live here?” and started cleaning up everything. (Suga: Everything got fixed after the cleaning lady started coming to our dorm.) Once after school, I went to the practice room and spotted a new friend. He suddenly came over to me and started dancing while rubbing his body on me. (laughs) That friend was V. (V: I didn’t volunteer to dance, it’s just that another trainee hyung told me “The eldest hyung is going to be coming later. Show your charms then. Make a first impression that he’ll remember.” As soon as Jin hyung came, I got embarrassed so I kept dancing while looking down. Hyung kept staring at me with a blank expression and eventually told me “You go dance in the front, over there.”) I thought, “What is with this kid, really?” It’s still amazing. I didn’t really know it at first but after living with him for a while, I learned that we share a lot of hobbies. When I’m on the computer, V sometimes comes over and says “Hyung, you do this too?” and when V’s doing something, I ask him “You do this too?” From that moment on, I realized “Even though this kid is 4D, he’s a normal person who has the same hobbies as me.” I like playing Super Mario and Maple Story. I started Super Mario when I was five years old and Maple Story in seven grade and still faithfully play them. I feel at ease when I see Super Mario characters and the monsters in Maple Story are extremely cute.
V. Real name Kim Taehyung. Born on December 30th 1995. The members call me 4D. I don’t really know why they do that. (Rap Monster: When he has a blank expression like he does right now, he seems really 4D / J-Hope: I think V would have a lot of charms to show off in variety shows because of his 4D-ness.) When I’m on the top bunk and watch animations, the members stare at me as if saying “That…addict.” But after Jin hyung came into the dorm, I learned that we had a lot of the same hobbies. Hyung has a clean and prince-like feeling to him but he actually really likes animations, just like me. (Jin: Being clean and liking animations don’t link with each other!) These days whenever there’s a new animation, we talk about watching it together. I watched all the episodes of <Digimon Adventure> Also, <Wolf Children> and <The Girl Who Leapt Through Time> and other works of the director Hosoda Mamoru are my current favorites. I like almost all of the cartoons on Tooniverse and I think I’ve watched most of them. I was so moved after watching a video of Danny Jung and started playing the saxophone for three years. However, I suddenly got interested in dancing and decided to take a different path. I quit only a bit after changing from the classic saxophone to a jazz saxophone so I don’t know if I’m still as good as I was before. But I think I played really well three years ago. Clap! I don’t practice any individual talents on my own. I don’t prepare anything. I just do anything that suits the situation and think what should I do today? Should I try this? But……there are lots of times when I can’t come up with anything. (laughs) I was really sad when I couldn’t film any logs (videos that the Bangtan members take themselves and upload onto their blog). I followed the hyungs whenever they filmed a log, but couldn’t actually upload any of mine on the blog. I sat by myself and said “It’s this month and this date 2013, today I did this, this won’t go on the blog, right? I’m sad.” I was also there when they filmed their group log, it’s just that I wasn’t shown on screen – I was actually standing by the trashcan. When I was revealed as a Bangtan member, I received exactly one letter. I was so happy. I didn’t sleep until 4:00 am and read it about fifteen times. I kept showing it off to the hyungs. I made a lot of mistakes during the part of ‘No More Dream’ when I have to throw off my glasses. The glasses are in my back pocket that has a zipper on it and once I had to make glasses with my fingers, and there has been several situations in which I threw my glasses off so hard I couldn’t find them after the performance. I don’t usually cry while watching movies. I’ve cried recently though, when I watched <Miracle in Cell No. 7> with Jin hyung. I cried as if someone had turned on a faucet in my eyes. I haven’t been in a serious relationship yet. I want to marry my first love and be with them forever.
Jimin. Real name Park Jimin. Born on October 13th 1995. I was actually looking forward to what kind of stage name I’d receive. Some of the choices were Baby J, Baby G, and Young Kid, but we eventually decided to use my real name. (Suga: We all agreed that “Jimin” sounded the best.) I see my face every day so I just think “Did my face change a bit?” but people around me tell me that I’ve lost a lot of weight. My parents worry about me a lot because they only see me a few times a year and ask me if I’m eating properly. I personally feel that I’ve become more handsome after dieting when….fans take nice pictures of me? (laughs) I eat the same things as the other members but exercise more. I didn’t really feel anything when I first started developing abs but when I first stood on stage, people’s reactions were good so my thoughts on that have changed a bit. (Jin: Jimin’s body was really good when I first met him.) I didn’t talk about that because it’s embarrassing. (laughs) During the ‘No More Dream’ choreography, there’s a part when I kick all the hyungs while they’re standing in a line, but I always feel really sorry for kicking them so hard. Once I kicked Rap Monster hyung so hard he ‘disappeared’ for a while. While doing the next part of the choreography, all I can think is “Ah, I’m so sorry. What should I do. Are they hurt?” (Jungkook: You can actually hear the kicking sound.) I danced popping since 8th grade and gained interest in this kind of career after watching Rain sunbaenim’s performances. After that, I moved to Busan High School of Arts in the modern dance department and came here after my dance teacher suggested I audition for an entertainment company. While doing modern dance, I once danced TVXQ sunbaenims’s “Mirotic” with my friends and the reaction was really good. It was to the extent that….I felt like I had become a celebrity. (laughs) (Jungkook: Hyung said that there were girls waiting for him outside the bathroom.) It’s my first and last memory. My first log was done when I could barely open my eyes. It was right after I had finished my dance lesson so my face was a mess and there were eight other people in the room at the time so I felt really awkward. I could’ve filmed more comfortably if I were alone. I was last to be added to the group so that’s why I practice so hard. (Jin: Jimin practices whenever he has free time; he has an addiction to practicing. He sleeps three hours a day, and he practices so much it makes me worried that he might die practicing.) Once I wrote lyrics and brought them to Suga hyung but he said “You call these lyrics?” He told me to bring lyrics that we could actually use in a song. (Suga: He wrote lyrics that sounded like a children’s song.) I have a lot of know-how in skincare. I take a long time cleansing and put on moisturizer straight after washing my face. The main point is to put it on three seconds after drying your face with a towel.
Jungkook. Real name Jeon Jungkook. Born on September 1st 1997. Some stage names that were being considered for me because I was from Busan were Seagull, Young Gun, and many more. But they all told me that Jungkook was the best. In 7th grade I learned b-boying in a club with some friends and hyungs. Afterwards, I went to the Mnet <Superstar K2> auditions and got casted by my current company’s staff. When I danced, Bang Sihyuk PD told me “No emotion. No emotion while dancing.” So, I went to the U.S for dance training. I learned urban style, female dancing style, powerful dances, and many more from famous choreographers. I think I learned how to properly show emotion in dancing. As soon as I came to Korea, I told the hyungs “Hyung, the U.S is great. I want to go again.” so the hyungs were a bit upset. (laughs) In ‘No More Dream’, I’m in charge of saying “Okay mom, I told you I’m going to study hall now!” I have been to study hall a lot. I didn’t always study, but mostly read books. Mainly comic books…wait, was that the library? Never mind, I’ve never been to study hall. Hyungs gave me the nickname “Golden Maknae” I think I misbehave a lot because we’re all really close. I like to say annoying things a lot to the hyungs. (laughs) (Suga: He has a good memory so he can imitate us well / Rap Monster: He makes our voices sound weird when he imitates us.) There’s nothing bad about being the maknae. We all have our own beds in the dorm. The hyungs use the top bunks but because I got my bed last, I didn’t really have a choice. I’m about 3 cm taller than Jimin hyung. I don’t think he’s growing. (Jimin: I’m two years older than him but he keeps making fun of me for my height; I don’t think that’s right / Suga: I remember that when Jungkook first came, he was shorter than me. Seeing him grow taller makes me feel like I’ve raised him.) I like a lot of foods, so I’ll only pick my top three. First is pork soup rice, second is sashimi, and third is sea eel. Jin hyung and I have a five-year age difference but when he talks about his childhood, I really feel the generation gap. Sometimes I don’t really understand when hyung talks about crackers he used to eat, the movie <Godzilla>, H.O.T, and things like that. Hyungs say that I’m going through a stormy period* right now. But I don’t think it’s puberty. (Suga: People going through puberty don’t know it’s puberty. I feel a bit sorry that he’s not able to experience the things he should be doing at that age / Rap Monster: I’m still jealous that he gets to go to the army later than us.)
* Korean expression commonly used to describe puberty.
시작부터 직구다. 다짜고짜 ‘얌마 네 꿈은 뭐니’라며 듣는 이를 도발하더니, ‘너의 길을 가라고 단 하루를 살아도 / 뭐라도 하라고 나약함은 담아둬’라고 단호하게 외친다. 지난 6월, 타이틀곡 ‘No More Dream’을 들고 나타난 그룹 방탄소년단은 꿈꾸지 않는 아이들을 향해 돌직구를 날렸다. 그래서 랩 실력이 남다르다거나, 퍼포먼스가 화려하다는 말은 이 팀에 대한 충분한 설명이 되지 못한다. 스물 둘부터 열일곱까지, 10대와 20대가 고루 섞여 있는 이들의 진짜 무기는 비트 위에 직접 써내려간 가사 그 자체다. 데뷔까지의 과정을 요약하며 ‘나만치 해봤다면 돌을 던져’라고 자신만만하게 말하는 ‘We Are Bulletproof Pt.2’나 페이스북이라는 소재로 이별의 감정을 그려내는 ‘좋아요’ 등 첫 싱글 앨범 <2 COOL 4 SKOOL>에는 그 나이 또래의 목소리가 가득하다. 심지어 데뷔 전 공개했던 몇 곡의 믹스테잎 역시 졸업 후의 미래에 대해 고민하거나, 성인이 된 기분에 혼란스러워하는 지극히 보편적인 청년들의 이야기였다. “다음엔 어떤 이야기를 해야 할지 부담도 있지만, 저희의 이야기니까 충분히 공감하실 수 있을 거라고 생각해요.”(랩몬스터) 아직 소년티를 벗지 않은 일곱 멤버들의 얼굴에는 여전히 앳된 기운이 남아있다. 하지만 길게는 3년, 짧게는 1년 동안 무대에 설 순간만을 기다리며 힙합에 대한 생각을 정리해온 이들의 태도만큼은 제법 단단하다. 다음은 단 한 순간도 지루하지 않았던 방탄소년단과의 인터뷰다. 더불어, 한 명 한 명의 얼굴을 좀 더 자세히 들여다볼 수 있는 시시콜콜한 멤버별 정보도 확인가능하다.
|지민, 슈가, 정국, V, 제이홉, 진, 랩몬스터. (왼쪽부터 아래에서 위로)|
데뷔, 그리고 회식
데뷔 후 약 한 달이 지났다. 데뷔 전과 비교해 여러모로 달라진 걸 느끼나.
지민: 연습생 때는 조금 미룰 수도 있었던 걸 이제는 미룰 수가 없다는 거? 예전에는 ‘뭐, 내일 하지’ 그러기도 했지만, 지금은 오늘 하지 않으면 큰일 난다는 생각이 들어서 더 열심히 하게 된다.
랩몬스터: 그리고 활동하는 게 이 정도로 힘들고 어려운 일인 줄 몰랐다. 새벽 3, 4시에 일어나서 리허설, 드라이 리허설, 본방 다 하고 다른 분들에게 인사까지 하고 나면 하루가 다 가는 거다. 무대 위에 서는 3분을 위해서 하루를 써야한다는 걸 알게 됐다.
오랫동안 연습생이었던 멤버들도 있어서 첫 방송의 의미가 더 크게 느껴졌겠다.
슈가: 사실 첫 방송 전날 쇼케이스를 했다. 그 날 연습생 시절부터 함께 해온 신인개발팀 누나들이 다 우시는 바람에 우리도 따라서 펑펑 울었다. 그러고 나니 첫 방송이 끝난 후엔 단 한 명도 울지 않더라. 얼떨떨하기만 했던 것 같다.
자축의 의미로 회식을 하진 않았나. (웃음)
랩몬스터: 반 년 전에 우리 블로그에 ‘흔한 연습생의 크리스마스’라는 노래를 올린 적이 있다. 그 곡에 ‘회식 한 번’을 간절하게 외치는 가사가 있었는데, 우리가 데뷔한 후에도 회사에서는 모른 척 하시더라. 달라지는 게 없었다. (웃음) 회식은 나중에 우리끼리라도 하려고 한다. 이상적인 건 거하게 고기를 먹는 거다. 소고기를 1인당 6인분씩 먹거나, 등심이 먹고 싶으면 회사 허락을 받지 않고 바로 ‘이모, 여기 등심 주세요’라고 말할 수 있는 그런 거. 앞으로 열심히 해서 꼭 등심을 먹고 싶다.
진: 음료수도 시켜 먹고 싶다. 지금 식단 조절 때문에 탄산음료를 못 마시고 있다.
슈가: 아마 음악 순위프로그램에서 1위를 하면 마음껏 먹을 수 있지 않을까 싶다.
신인이지만 다들 무대 위에서 그다지 긴장하지 않는 것 같던데, 실수를 한 적도 있나.
정국: 최근에 Mnet <엠카운트 다운>에서 춤을 추는데 모자가 덜렁거리는 게 느껴졌다. 결국 마지막엔 머리 모양이 어떻게 나오든 신경 쓰지 않고 모자를 던져버렸다.
지민: 그래도 멋있게 나왔다. 나도 다음엔 실수인 척 하면서 던져야겠다. (웃음)
슈가: 그런 돌발 상황을 대비한 연습도 다 했었다. 모자가 날아가면 발로 차거나, 들어서 던진다거나 하는 식으로. 계속 모니터링을 하면서 많이 연습했기 때문에 실수하는 모습을 보신 분들도 대처를 잘 했다고 말씀해주시더라. 물론 회사에서는 엄청 혼났지만. (웃음)
< 2 Cool 4 Skool >
앨범 이야기를 해보자. 싱글 앨범인데 인트로, 스킷, 아웃트로까지 충실하게 들어가 있다.
랩몬스터: 우리가 힙합 그룹과 아이돌이라는 정체성 사이에서 어느 정도는 타협을 했지만, 할 수 있는 선에선 최대한 힙합적인 구성과 요소를 보여주려고 했다. 보컬 라인 친구들까지 랩을 한 이유도 그 때문이다. ‘우리는 힙합 하려고 나왔다’는 걸 어필하려고 한 거다.
‘No more dream’이 타이틀곡으로 정해지는 과정은 어땠나.
지민: 형들이 고생하는 건 알고 있었지만 어느 정도인지는 몰랐다. 그래서 노래가 딱 나왔을 때는 그냥 ‘좋다, 괜찮네’라고 생각했다. 녹음도 마냥 즐겁게 했는데 알고 보니 스무 번 이상 가사를 썼다 지웠다 했다고 하더라.
슈가: 제일 처음에는 (‘No More Dream’과 같은 트랙에) ‘취향 존중’이라는 주제를 가지고 가사를 써 갔는데, 방시혁 PD님이 ‘이건 너네한테 어울리는 가사가 아니다’라고 하셨다. 이런 과정을 반복하다보니 타이틀곡 파일 제목이 1에서 시작해 29까지 갔다. 랩몬스터와 나는 작업실에서 종이를 막 던지고 찢고 난리도 아니었다. (웃음)
랩몬스터: 처음에 비트를 받았을 때는 ‘이거다, 이거면 다 때려 부술 수 있다’고 생각했는데 막상 해보니 엄청난 고전이었다. 내가 생각했던 그림이 안 나오는 거다. 요즘 트렌드도 있고, 우리 이야기를 하면서 동시에 래퍼로서의 능력도 보여줘야 하는데 그걸 고작 여덟 마디에 담으려고 하니 정말 힘들었다. 타이틀곡에 미운 정, 고운 정 다 든 느낌이다.
앨범 수록곡들을 한 곡 한 곡 들어보면, 또래 이야기를 담기 위해 노력한 게 느껴진다.
슈가: 타이틀곡이든 ‘We Are Bulletproof Pt.2’든, 멤버들이 다 같이 공감하는 주제에서 시작했다. 우리들의 이야기를 써야 우리 세대가 공감하고 음악으로 교감할 수 있다고 생각했다.
랩몬스터: 10대와 20대를 대신해서 또래의 이야기를 쉽게 전한다는 것이 방탄소년단의 슬로건이다. 수록곡 중 페이스북에서 ‘좋아요’ 버튼이 상징하는 의미와 그에 대한 감정을 담은 ‘좋아요’라는 노래가 있다. 이 곡 역시 SNS로 소통을 많이 하는 우리 또래라면 누구나 공감할 만한 주제로 가사를 쓴 거다. ‘니가 올리는 모든 사진마다 좋아요 남발하는 처음 보는 저 남자 누구야’ 이런 식으로.
가사를 주로 쓰지 않는 멤버들은 어떤 식으로 영감을 전달해줬나.
지민: 경험 같은 것만 간단하게 알려주곤 했다. 가령 요즘 내 또래 친구들은 꿈이 없다는 것, 혹은 어떤 노력도 하지 않고 미래에 대해 막연하게 생각한다는 등의 이야기를 해주었다.
슈가: 나는 이미 20대가 되었는데 10대의 감성에 대한 가사를 써야 하니까 지민이나 정국이로부터 많은 이야기를 들으려고 했다. 작업하다가 가사가 안 풀리면 같이 밥을 먹으면서 “네 친구들은 뭐 하고 싶어 하냐?”라고 물어보기도 했다.
랩몬스터: 주제는 하나여도 사람마다 경험이 다르다 보니, 그런 감정들을 하나하나 다 들어보려고 한다. ‘이런 면도 있구나, 그렇게 볼 수도 있구나’ 하는 생각을 하면서.
이렇게 한 팀이 되었지만, 서로 처음 만났을 땐 어땠나.
지민: 지난해 5월 말 쯤 서울에 처음 올라왔는데, 제이홉 형이 숙소 앞으로 마중을 나왔다. 캐리어를 끌고 가면서 멀뚱멀뚱 주위를 둘러보고 있는데 옆집 형처럼 친근하게 생긴 분이 “혹시… 지민 씨…?”라고 말을 걸었다.
제이홉: 그 때 지민이 참 귀여웠는데.
V: 나는 형들이 베레모를 쓰고 목걸이를 낀 채 음악을 들으며 작업 중일 거라고 생각했다. 그래서 몰래몰래 슬금슬금 들어가서 인사하려고 했는데, 형들이 자고 일어난 모습으로 나를 맞더라. (웃음) 제이홉 형은 머리가 붕 뜬 상태로 “안녕하세요” 이러고, 랩몬스터 형은 특이한 안경을 끼고 있었던 기억이 난다.
성격이나 성장환경이 다른 사람들이 같은 공간에서 생활한다는 게 쉬운 일은 아니다.
슈가: 다 같이 한 방에서 생활을 하다 보니 처음에는 청결이나 정리정돈 문제에 예민했다. 정해놓은 규칙을 어기면 한 번에 천 원씩 벌금을 받기도 했는데, 신기하게도 벌금제를 시작하자마자 어기는 사람이 싹 없어졌다. 지금은 서로 피해를 주지 않는 선에서 정리하고 있어서 숙소가 더럽진 않다. 그리고 각자의 침대는 각자의 영역이기 때문에 절대로 침범하지 않는다는 게 우리의 원칙이다.
진: 사실 벌금 내야할 사람 목록이 아직 내 휴대폰에 남아있다. 만 팔천 원 정도 되는 벌금을 세 명이 내지 않았는데, 누군지는 다음 기회에 공개하겠다. (웃음)
생활면에서도 그렇지만, 힙합 그룹으로서의 조율 과정도 필요했을 것 같다. 힙합에 익숙하지 않은 멤버들도 있었으니까.
진: 내 경우엔 힙합을 듣는 건 좋아했지만, 일상생활에서 왜 힙합스럽게 다녀야 하는지 이해를 잘 못 했다. 예를 들어 지금까지 나는 20년을 살아오는 동안 항상 바르게 걸어야 한다고 배웠는데, 다른 친구들은 껄렁껄렁하게 걸어야 멋있는 거라고 하니까. (웃음) 그런데 같이 지내다보니까 점점 멋있어 보였다. 자연스레 힙합에 가까워질 수 있었던 것 같다.
V: 랩몬스터 형이 개인적으로 노래를 많이 추천해줬다. 아침에 학교 갈 때마다 리스트를 뽑아주더라. 들어보니까 다 좋았다. 연습실에 가서 그런 음악들을 찾아 듣는 재미로 반 년 넘게 몰입할 수 있었다.
랩몬스터: 작업실에서 비트를 틀어놓고 멤버들에게 ‘네 이름 소개라도 좋다. 한 글자라도 랩처럼 써봐라’라고 말했다. 숙소에 있을 때도 항상 BGM으로 힙합 음악을 틀어놓고. 그래서 타이틀 작업을 할 때쯤엔 다들 힙합 그루브 같은 걸 받아들일 수 있게 됐던 것 같다.
힙합 하는 아이돌
지금은 각자 힙합이 무엇이라고 생각하나.
슈가: 솔직함의 문화라고 생각한다. 나는 돈이 많고, 내 목걸이는 금이라고 자랑하는 게 아니라 우리 세대, 우리 나이대의 생각을 솔직하게 이야기할 수 있는 장르인 거다. 그리고 힙합은 다른 장르에선 곡 전체에 들어갈 가사가 열여섯 마디짜리 Verse 하나에 랩으로 몽땅 들어가기 때문에 내 이야기를 할 수 있는 시간이 길다. 다른 장르에 비해 남들을 감동시킬 시간이 좀 더 있는 거라고 할 수 있다.
제이홉: 나는 춤을 추면서 힙합 음악을 들었다. 듣다 보면 신이 나더라. 힙합이란 것 자체가 즐길 수 있는 장르라고 생각한다. 누구나 들으면서 리듬을 탈 수 있는 음악인 거지.
V: 다른 장르에서는 한 곡 안에서 한 사람의 이야기를 하지만, 힙합은 각자 다른 사람들의 이야기를 한 곡 안에 넣을 수 있는 것 같다.
지민: 힙합 음악을 들은 지도, 문화를 접한 지도 얼마 안돼서 분명하게 설명하긴 힘들지만, 자기 이야기로 다른 사람의 공감을 불러일으켜 멋을 느끼게 하는 것 아닐까 싶다. 다른 분들이 흔히 이야기하는 ‘전투력 상승 음악’이랄까. (웃음)
힙합을 하는 팀인 동시에 아이돌이기 때문에 정체성에 대한 혼란이 올 수도 있다. 해결 방법을 생각해본 적이 있는지 궁금하다.
랩몬스터: 하루에도 수십 번씩 그 생각에 부딪힌다. 나는 아이돌인가 아티스트인가, 만약 둘 다라면 그건 어떤 것인가. 어떻게 행동해야 하고 사람들은 날 어떻게 바라볼까. 이런 것에 두려움이 많고, 앞으로도 이 혼란이 사라질 것 같지는 않다. 다만, 우리는 두 마리 토끼를 다 잡으려고 하는 것이기 때문에 책임져야 하는 것도 두 배라고 생각한다. 남들이 제시하는 기준에 어느 정도 맞춰가면서 내가 하고 싶은 일도 해야 하는 거다. 합의점을 찾아가는 과정을 겪으면서 성숙해질 수 있지 않을까 싶다.
슈가: 나 역시 여기에 대해서 많은 생각을 했는데, 답이 나왔다. 정체성 혼란이 오면 오는 대로 가사를 쓰면 된다. 그냥 우리가 느끼고 있는 감정을 솔직하게 보여주면 될 것 같다. 부담이 있는 만큼 자신도 있다.
그렇다면 힙합을 하는 사람으로서 각자 살아가고 싶은 방향도 있을까.
제이홉: 틀에 얽매이지 않는 삶을 살고 싶다. 예를 들면 빈지노 선배님. 정말 멋있게 사는 분인 것 같다. 나 역시 하고 싶은 일을 하고, 즐기면서 사는 사람이 되고 싶다.
정국: 굉장히 자유롭게, 내 음악을 하면서 살아가고 싶다.
진: 딱히 과하게 치장하지 않고 뭐든지 나한테 알맞게. 눈에 띄는 걸 크게 좋아하지 않아서 나만 반짝반짝 빛난다거나 하면 별로일 것 같다.
슈가: 다들 공통적으로 공감하는 게 있다. 무지 티셔츠를 입어도 멋있는 사람, 명품을 입지 않아도 명품처럼 보이는 사람이 되고 싶다는 것.
랩몬스터: 멋을 내는 사람이 아니라 멋이 나는 사람이었으면 하는 거다.