Hope World – One Year Anniversary

It’s been just over a full year since J-Hope’s first mixtape release, and we’re still bumping to it.

Jung Ho-seok, also known by his stage name J-Hope, is a 25-year-old rapper hailing from Gwangju, South Korea. He is a part of the superstar group BTS, and he, along with the group, has steadily been making tsunami-sized waves across the international music scene. On March 1, 2018, the world saw the release of his mixtape Hope World. And while the mixtape was a few years coming, fans definitely weren’t disappointed with the product.

With the release of the album came the premiere of his first solo music video, “Daydream.” The music video perfectly sums up the whole concept art of the album, it’s colorful, groovy, and inviting. Within the video, he makes fun references and leaves Easter eggs about some of his muses for the album, including Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The entire album is made up of pure ear candy. J-Hope dances all over the beat (both vocally & literally), with tasteful distortions of vocals spread all over the place. Each track on the album has unique colors and the sound for each is super bright. In terms of lyricism and general meaning for the album, the rapper seeks to approach the audience with several points; the first purpose being the spreading of his signature good energy; the second, to convey the genuine hardships of his unique lifestyle but with a positive feeling; and lastly, he just does some good ol‘ bragging and flexing on us.

Along with “Daydream” he also made a music video for the track “Airplane,” which was later adapted as a more Latin-inspired track “Airplane pt. 2” for the whole group. For this piece, he chills out a bit. Ho-seok reflects back on his life and how he’s been able to get to such a high place, as well as doing some of the bragging we mentioned above. With lyrics such as,

“Flying for years now. Got a mileage close to million now. It’s time to console you who didn’t make it. I’ll give the flight points as a present. Love the airplane mode. Turn off all the concerns, no matter what anyone says. Just continue keeping the first, and look at the sky. Seems quite right from my seat now.”

Sound-wise, the mixtape is based heavily on rap, and J-Hope samples and dips his toes into trap, electronic, pop and old school 90s rap. I urge listeners to pay special attention to Ho-seok’s rap style. The rapper was originally a dancer, so he had to teach himself how to rap; therefore, I think he always rides the beat in a very unique way. Within the piece, he makes references to his first love and passion, dancing. And it’s littered abundantly throughout every track but with good reason and intent. Overall, the album consists of a lot of inner reflection. Although it is very personal, the joy that Ho-seok is able to convey makes it something that lots of people can enjoyably listen to. 

And while every track is unique and amazing in its own way, I have to give a special shout-out to my favorite track. You know those tracks that are so good and almost illegally short? In Rihanna’s Anti it’s “James Joint,” in Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE it’s “Fertilizer” and in Hope World it’s “Baseline.” Sonically it shows off his range of rap, from his more aggressively expressive style to his more laid-back mumbling. This track is especially tasty because of the sprinkle of perfectly executed record scratching near the end of the piece.

The rapper has also gone live and explained what the entire process of recording the album was like for him. He also said that he plans to release another mixtape, but he hopes to develop the next one without as much pressure. ARMYs (the BTS fandom with myself included) will be patiently waiting for his next step.

Until then, enjoy the whole album here.

And also, for the newbies, here’s the song that started it all. It is J-Hope’s “First Verse” where he spits original bars on top of the Game’s track “El Chapo.” When performing on someone else’s beat it can be kind of difficult to not be swayed by the original and execute an equal or even better version, but J-Hope’s interpretation is not too shabby at all if I say so myself.

And lastly, the latest news about the global sensation BTS, is that they announced their upcoming worldwide stadium tour last month. The closest location to Houston is their Chicago show, but they will also be performing in Pasadena, California and Newark, New Jersey. They’ve added additional dates that go on sale this Friday, March 8. For those who plan on attempting to buy tickets and seeing the dynamic performance kings live, then may the odds be ever in your favor.

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