J-Hope on Growing Up in BTS, His Next Mixtape and More

One of BTS’ many high-profile fans, Late Late Show host James Corden, says the group is “at their core, a force for good.” With his dimpled smile, warm manner, and fierce stage presence, 27-year-old rapper, dancer, songwriter, and producer J-Hope embodies the group’s combination of fundamental goodness and overwhelming talent; even his choice of stage name radiates positivity.

So we just wanted to make music and do performances that other people can resonate with and that can give people more strength.

What you’re saying reminds me of the message of “Life Goes On,” which is a beautiful song.That song came from thinking about what can we do during this time, during the Covid pandemic.

How do you balance the positivity that you present to the world with the more complex emotions you may experience in real life?Things are really different from how it used to be.

We have been communicating with our fans ever since we became artists, but now I think it’s become more natural and comfortable.

One of those songs is “Outro: Ego.” What were you thinking when you wrote that one?It’s really about self-reflection, reflecting on who I am, my ego, as the name implies.

When I work on music right now, I have an opportunity to go back to those emotions and think, “Oh, those were the days.” I think it really has a good influence on my music that I work on now.

What are your thoughts on a second mixtape?Right now, the goal is to get inspired and make good music.

I think it was like two weeks or one month ago that I finally came to think that “Oh, I want to finish this song.” As I mentioned earlier, I really look back onto the emotions that I have when I worked on the mixtape.

You’ve obviously come a long way and developed some serious skills — what was that learning process like?I still think I have some shortcomings.

Maybe I could feel unfortunate to not to have experienced those things, but I was chasing my dreams. And meeting the members during our trainee days was really amazing, because it is just amazing that different people who were so different could come together to form a group.

What do you think when you look back at BTS’ earliest videos, when you all had this almost tough image?Back when we had released “No More Dream,” our music embodied the battle against prejudice and oppression.

Eventually we learned to understand each other, and now we’ve been doing this for so long together that we have this sort of harmony, an understanding of each other that allows us to have the kind of teamwork we have.

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