BTS ARMY may love the catchy, uplifting hits of the K-pop supergroup, but J-Hope is ready to break the mold a bit and share more of his own style in his solo album, Jack in the Box, which arrived Friday (July 15). And in a new interview, he explains what fans can experience on his new release and what it will share about him as a person and artist.
“The theme of Jack in the Box is a theme that has been running in my head for a long time,” the rapper told Variety. “I thought about this theme for a long time because it has to do with my stage name, J-Hope. So I always wanted to reflect the story about my stage name in my music. … This album called Jack in the Box is the moment that I want to highlight my artistry in music. So I’ve I’ve thought a lot about this theme.”
And for those wondering why “MORE” — which features rap and rock aspects — is the first single off the release, the 28-year-old said that he had a “very clear reason” for the selection. “I wanted to express a little bit of a darker side of me, as J-Hope, as an individual,” he explained. “The feeling that you might have got when you first listened to this song is probably definitely reflected on all the other tracks in the album.”
“This album is full of this type of particular style,” he continued to the publication. “It definitely reveals a little darker side of me, a different aspect of myself.”
The 10-track release is pure J-Hope, with no featured artists on it — as many other musicians my do — not even his BTS brothers. And there’s a reason for that, he shared. “All the tracks are filled with my voice only, because I wanted to convey my own narrative, my own story as an individual,” J-hope explained. “I thought that featured guests are not necessary in this album production, and I believed that filling all these songs with my own voice only would make this album very authentic.”
Though his solo studio album finally out, J-Hope isn’t going to be kicking back and relaxing anytime soon. The artist is scheduled to headline Lollapalooza on July 31 with TOMORROW X TOGETHER, and teased what his performance may be like.
“I’m not relying on my usual skill [of dancing],” he told Variety. “I can say that I picked up a different, new weapon that I want to use — a different skill that I want to show people. … I think my intention with producing this album will be reflected in my live performances as well. So I’m preparing many different things, so that the solo performance won’t be too loose. So I’ll be filling this performance with many different aspects and things.”
As for the headline-making news in June that J-Hope, RM, Jin, Jimin, V, Jung Kook and Suga would be going on a brief temporary break to focus on their solo work? The “Arson” singer once again assured that the band isn’t going on a traditional hiatus, and would be busy exploring their personal projects with the goal of making them stronger as a whole.
“We expect that after gaining all these experiences and having individual projects, we will have a greater synergistic effect as a team, and we believe that that is the sustainable and healthy way for us to grow as a team,” J-Hope said. “So I think we are on the verge of starting the Chapter Two for BTS — and going forward, we will definitely be working on group projects as well as solo projects.”