Background BTS (방탄소년단)
The group BTS or 방탄소년단 debuted in the K-Pop world in 2013. This South Korean boy band consisted of seven “trainees,” who all came from different backgrounds. BTS is known for their songs, their style of music and their outstanding choreography. The group consists of 7 members who dance, sing, rap, and compose music under contracts to Big Hit Entertainment. The group consists of three main rappers, who are Rap Monster (Kim Namjoon, 22), J-Hope (Jung Hoseok, 22), and Suga (Min Yoongi, 23). And there are four vocalists, who are Jin (Kim Seokjin, 24), Jimin (Park Jimin, 20), V (Taehyung, 20) and, the youngest of the group who fans fondly call the “maknae” or baby, Jungkook (Jeon Jungkook, 19). Just like any other band they have an extensive fan base called A.R.M.Y. with many articles and websites devoted to them. Their name BTS or 방탄소년단 translates into “Bulletproof Boy Scouts.” They have released three major albums called 2 Cool 4 Skool, Dark & Wild and Wake Up. The group have has also released a few mini albums, and albums in Japanese.
Background Min Yoongi
Min Yoongi was born on March 9, 1993 and raised in Daegu, South Korea. He was raised in a pretty standard family with a mother, a father and an older brother. Before he became a trainee under Big Hit Entertainment, Yoongi was one of the many artists who were part of the underground rapper scene in South Korea. In the early stages of his music career, he suffered from anxiety, depression and social phobia. He explains all of this is his mixtape AGUST D.. But Yoongi definitely got over his fears and insecurities by performing live in front of thousands of adoring fans with his group BTS. BTS has hit some of the top charts in Korea and is one of the most popular K-Pop groups worldwide. The other members of his group say that Min Yoongi is always composing music and writing new songs. He has written a few of BTS’ songs such as “Jump”, “Tomorrow” and “I Like It.” These are some of the less known songs that the group performs, but they are still loved by the many adoring fans and performed at the group’s live shows.
On August 16th, one of the three junior rappers of the widely known and loved South Korean group BTS, Suga (aka Min Yoongi), released his highly anticipated mini album or mixtape called AGUST D. The name AGUST D references his career as a “underground rapper” before he was under contract to Big Hit Entertainment and part of BTS (방탄소년단). Yoongi’s mixtape consists of 9 songs. It also includes a skit as an ode to his previous insecurities and the struggles of being a young performer in the Korean music business.
The album starts off on a scratchy and intense note with Yoongi collaborating with DJ Friz, a Canadian rapper. The song consists of a lot of heavy background music and sounds to make the listener really get into the feeling of the mixtape from the very beginning.
The next song, “Agust D”, is at the same intensity as the first song, but without the collaboration. “Agust D” is mostly Yoongi rapping about about how he has hit the K-Pop music industry by storm. Here, his rapping is pretty intense and fast moving. But “Agust D” introduces the now iconic phrase that a lot of Kpop fans are chanting now: “A to the G to the U to the STD.” This phrase is repeated over and over throughout the course of this second song among Min Yoongi rapping, background beats and instruments.
The third track, “Give It To Me” takes a more spooky, demanding, and annoyed tone, with a lot of self pitying lyrics. Yoongi seems to try to balance out the first and second songs with a more dark and bitter one. But the overall feel of the second song, in contrast to the first two, makes it sound out of place and dark.
At this point the skit plays for a few seconds, giving the listener time to do other activities without missing any songs from the mixtape. Then Yoongi goes to the next song “724148”, which starts out with a beat that reminds one of BTS’s earlier songs: “No More Dream.” This song is very enlightening to many of his fans who have seen Yoongi’s journey to stardom and fame. In “724148,” Yoongi talks about how he was in a small town studying music at a small school when he saw a posting for a rap festival. This festival was held by Bang Sihyuk, the president of Big Hit Entertainment, which was the company that would change his life forever. He talks about how he went to the festival and how he met his “hyung” (korean for older brothers or “bros”), and that is when his journey to K-Pop fame started. He does say that in the song he can get jealous of the other people his age that he sees living a normal life. But Yoongi figures he will make a mark on the world and he is leaving a legacy that people will talk about so, in some ways, it is worth him giving up normal life.
The next song, “140503 at Dawn” starts out with a typing sound, as if Yoongi is writing a song. According to the other members of BTS, Min Yoongi is always writing new material for songs. This song has an undertone of BTS influence. The lyrics are about how Yoongi has gotten over a lot of his social phobias and depression, but he feels like he is still hiding. He can perform and talk to people, but wonders if it is the real him that is talking, or is it the mask that he is forced to wear now that he is a superstar. It was really important that he put this song in his mixtape, to show us the feeling of living his life and growing up with the fame. Many listeners can honestly relate to this song.
“The Last” is number 7 on our list. This song can be confusing at first because it sounds like someone waking up and walking around in a room, but then it starts up quickly. There are two parts to this song. The first part sounds very laid back, but then the track stops and the beat and rapping becomes more engaging. The tone is mad and determined. This second part of the song is something that someone could really get into with the beat and the piano and drums in the background. One of the main things that I like about this mixtape is that there are some really interesting background sounds in the pieces. All throughout this song, Yoongi mentions his fears and insecurities related to his family and his old social phobias. The way the beat changes really shows the emotion of how he fought through those fears, which is really meaningful to the listener.
The next song is called “Tony Montana” featuring Yankee. The song starts with a very echoey keyboard sound that is like “O.K. Corral.” The rapping starts with a different voice that is extremely autotuned. Then Yoongi starts rapping in the background and his voice comes more into the foreground as the song progresses. This song is really about how money is a big struggle in life, and feeling lost when you don’t have enough money to survive.
The second to last video is called “Interlude: Dream, Reality.” This is not really a full song, but a calm interlude between songs. There is a sweet mixture of piano and soft drums. It is radically different from the other songs on the mixtape. You can hear Yoongi say “dream” multiple times, giving a sense of longing.
The last song of these last songs on Min Yoongi mixtape Agust D is called “So Far Away.” This song features the singer Suran, a solo female artist and her higher voice pairs beautifully with Yoongi’s voice. The song talks about how there are dreams that can be so far away and that you have to just be determined to fulfill them. The song is has different levels joined together to create a nice mixture of soft sweet singing and active rapping.