Welcome, It’s Your First Time in Hope World, Right?
Introducing the king of surpassing expectations without fail; Jung Hoseok. If this isn’t the most hyped release of March, I don’t know what is. “Hixtape” or its newly acquired (and more official) name Hope World is finally here, and boy are we in for a ride. With previous mixtapes released by members RM and Suga respectively, the anticipation was high to see what J-Hope would have in store for us. In fact, since as early as last year, fans have been demanding, and rightfully so, a Hixtape release. With a total of seven tracks, including the title “Daydream,” J-Hope has finally returned to bless us all with his quirky rapping and his delectable singing.
None of us are strangers to the way in which J-Hope manages to use his rap verses to paint BTS’s songs with colors of his own. Now, we finally have a whole album that is 100% him, a space where he can present himself with no creative restrictions, much to the delight of pretty much anyone listening. With the nature of a mixtape, one usually expects a real gritty, hip-hop/rap vibe. However, in the true nature of J-Hope, he took that assumption and completely turned it into something of his own genre. While there is the general mixtape vibe, there is also something very pop like and pure J-Hope-esque about it.
JUMP INTO HOPE WORLD
It’s no secret that J-Hope has been working on this mixtape for a really long time, using his experiences and range of emotions over time to perfect it. And while J-Hope himself may have been more hush about it, his personal hype man RM sure made us aware of all the blood, sweat, and tears that had gone into the making, building up excitement amongst fans.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard a mention of the phrase “Hope World” however, with him mentioning it in tracks “Hip Hop Lover” and “Cypher pt.1.” He talks about his various influences in the music industry that allowed him to learn more about himself and create his own world. As a budding artist, he looked up to this world filled with his inspirations, and now he’s the one creating his own world for other people to look up to.
In true J-Hope fashion, the up-tempo, bubbly rhythm of “Hope World” provides a great backdrop for the catchy yet witty lyrics. In a stream of consciousness, with lyrics sprinkled with references to literary works and idioms, he introduces us to the essence of himself. Referencing 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, the bubbly sound of water takes us out of reality and into his world. It is a perfect reflection of the side of J-Hope that we are all familiar with. One of the most memorable lines of the track is “I live up to my name with no price,” a play on the Korean idiom “이름값 해” or living up to one’s name. By playing on the idiom, he’s essentially saying that while he lives up to his name, he’s priceless.
“P.O.P (Piece of Peace) Pt.1” is a laid-back track through which he expresses his wish to provide his listeners with a sense of comfort and peace through his music. The chilled out atmosphere of the song makes it feel like the listener is being encompassed by good vibes as well as, in the simplest of terms, hope. With some really spot-on lyrics like “you are the standard for happiness” and “inside this film-like life there are NGs sometimes” he provides refreshing comfort to listeners in caliber that only comes with BTS. If the lyrics aren’t enough comfort, his singing will surely leave anyone feeling like they’re being bathed in sunshine on a cloudy day.
DIVE INTO THE DAYDREAM
Predominantly an old school track, “Daydream” is filled with breezy vocals and a popping melody line. The track itself shows J-Hope’s ability to experiment with different rapping and singing styles, often in his case very closely linked. He expresses how he lives a “half and half” life, one of the side-effects of being in the public eye. Interestingly enough, much like us, he too paints a different picture of his life through daydreams. Whereas our daydreams are very much filled with the luxuries that are abundant in his life, he imagines scenarios that seem very normal to us, like partying or dating. In plain words, he wants a moment of escape into a life where he faces no restrictions, where he doesn’t have to be aware of every move he makes or “walk on eggshells.”
If the “DNA” MV and “Blood Sweat & Tears” MV had a baby it would definitely be “Daydream.” Which is quite understandable since it was produced by the same director who was responsible for both. The aesthetic music video, filled with quirky animations and bright colors, is a perfect introduction to J-Hope as an individual. Brimming with literary references, from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to Alice in Wonderland, the visual representations provide a very psychedelic feel while the references make it that much more personal.
Almost as if playing the role of an interlude to the mixtape, “Base Line” completely moves away from the easy-going aura of the first half into a more gritty, hard-hitting kind of mood. The “Cypher” of Hope World, the track is all about staying true to his “base line” by continuing to retain their humble mindset despite the overwhelming fame that has enveloped BTS. And of course like the true #1 BTS hype man that he is, there’s a track dedicated to a vital part of his identity and life: the members. “Hangsang” is about the big role the unity of the members and the fans play in their success. Featuring Supreme Boi only made sense given the big role he has in the production of their music and that he was almost a member of the group!
Winding down, “Airplane” is a reflective track written from the perspective of being in an airplane. A very clear allegory to the growth of BTS as a group in the industry, J-Hope shows his revelation at the fact that he’s living the luxurious life that he only envied as a child. Despite being high up in the sky with the clouds, he still remembers where he started from. With that thought in mind, he’s content with his success.
My absolute favorite track on the album has to be “Blue Side (Outro).” We always get to see J-Hope, the bright and bubbly mood maker, but rarely do we ever get access to Jung Hoseok. While the song is regrettably short, he shows us another side to his personality; one that we don’t get to see very often. The melody, along with the lyrics echoed in the background gives a very melancholic and raw feel to the song. It’s a perfect fit for an outro, almost as if he’s winding down after giving us a peek into his candid thoughts.
AN ARTIST OF HIS OWN MERIT
Known as the bright mood-maker of the group, J-Hope has always been the one who incites most curiosity from onlookers. Despite his bright appearance, he’s also noted as the member who is most different on screen and off. And while we are all quite familiar with J-Hope, Jung Hoseok is still a personality that we have yet to see a lot of. Through Hope World, he’s given us a glance into who he is underneath. While the first song shows us the sunny, fun side of himself, the outro lets us into a darker space that he doesn’t express as often. He’s stepped out from the label of BTS’s J-Hope and provided us all with a hell of a good reason as to why he’s an artist of his own merit.
“Daydream” Title Track Score - 9/10
Music Video Score - 10/10
Hope World Album Score - 10/10
Overall Score: 9.6/10
Header Source: Genius / Youtube Lyric Videos