The BTS Army has a lot to give thanks for. One-third of the group’s rap line, Jung Ho-Seok, best known as J-Hope, has treated fans to a solo track titled MORE as he kicks off what the world’s biggest boy band refers to as “BTS’ Chapter 2”. This new chapter is described as the beginning of the members venturing deeper into their individual musical journeys. It comes on the heels of the septet’s anthology album, Proof, and a recanted statement regarding the band’s ‘hiatus’ by their entertainment company, HYBE.
MORE provided just the reassurance fans needed that, according to HYBE, the group was in fact not saying goodbye but simply placing greater focus on solo projects. Released via BigHit Music on July 1, it’s the lead single off J-Hope’s debut album Jack in the Box and has granted the rapper the No.1 Spot on Billboard‘s Emerging Artists chart, making him the fifth BTS member to enjoy the achievement, following V, Jung Kook, RM, and Suga.
Known for his pop-infused rap style, J-Hope shocked fans with MORE’s alternative rock, and hip-hop sound but the change in direction was welcomed. Throughout the emo-inspired single, matched by visuals with an equally somber ambiance, he becomes candid about the success his career has afforded him, while also sharing his innermost thoughts on fame.
Throughout the music video, the generally high-spirited J-Hope is seen clad in black attire, symbolic of his plans to showcase “an extremely dark, raw side”, which he shared during an interview with Weverse Magazine. The new look and sound represent the opposite of what the rapper sought to portray in his 2018 Hope World mixtape.
The new approach spans as far as the album cover for Jack in the Box. Whereas Hope World displayed a vibrant, colorful, and abstract design, J Hope was eager to try something new, working with American artist and designer KAWS on the cover art for both the single and album.
Sharing his excitement about the collaboration on Instagram, J-Hope wrote, “I got to work on the album cover with KAWS, the greatest artist who I love and respect so much.”
The ARMY weren’t the only ones supporting J-Hope’s solo journey. Fellow bandmate, Kim Taehyung popularly known as V, surprised his friend on the set of MORE’s music video to which J-Hope could not stop smiling. What was meant to be a simple visit led to a short cameo with Taehyung being featured as one of the extras during production.
Also voicing immense support for J-Hope’s new sound was American singer and rapper Lizzo. She shared a screenshot of her phone on Instagram as she played his new single, captioning the post, “LETS GOOO”, to which J-Hope responded “THX BFF”.
As J-Hope celebrates the success of MORE and the release of his album which became available on July 15, the iconic rapper is gearing up for the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago on July 31. He will make history as the first South Korean artist to headline a major U.S. music festival.