Last summer, J-hope became the first member of BTS to release a solo album with the stunning ‘Jack In The Box’. Now, he’s gotten his own Disney+ documentary that charts his journey making the record, releasing it and making history at Lollapalooza.

An insightful watch, J-hope In The Box takes you deeper into the star’s thought process, creative decisions and unrelenting passion for his craft. Here are five things we learnt about this era of the rapper’s career along the way.

J-hope first got the idea for ‘Jack In The Box’ not long after ‘Hope World’ was released 

There might have been just over four years between J-hope’s debut mixtape, released in 2018, and his first full-length solo album, but ‘Jack In The Box’ was conceived not too long after ‘Hope World’’s release.

“It was about half a year after ‘Hope World’ dropped that the thought hit me,” the rapper explains in the documentary. “With ‘Hope World’, I was still inside the box – I always wondered if that was who I really was.” The idea came to him to explore other parts of his personality and show “a maturer side of me” – that is, to burst out of the box he’d been packaged in.

The ‘Jack In The Box’ listening party was meant to celebrate music and bring people together 

J-hope at his ‘Jack In The Box’ listening party CREDIT: Courtesy of Disney+

Listening parties might be fairly commonplace in the west, but in Korea, they’ve yet to become a regular thing for musicians. Ever an innovator, J-hope decided to hold his own event the night before ‘Jack In The Box’’s release – and it wasn’t just an excuse to party.

“When you release music, it deserves a celebration,” he says. “And it should be enjoyed with others […] Music is supposed to connect everyone and be used as a means to communicate – a tool to bring people together.”

Preparing for Lollapalooza was a lonely experience – but Jimin’s company helped

J-hope made history at Chicago’s Lollapalooza last year by becoming the first South Korean act to headline a main stage at a US festival. Trailblazing can be quite the solitary endeavour, though: “I’m alone here,” he says at one point in the documentary. “I feel lonely.”

Luckily, BTS’ Jimin flew out to be by J-hope’s side as his big day approached and, a couple of days after the performance, he reflected on the importance of having his bandmate’s support. “I was panicking and I could only shake off that fear thanks to Jimin,” he says. “Seeing him goof around as usual, I could forget that fear.”

J-hope thinks BTS members working on their own material will make the group even stronger

J-hope performing at Lollapalooza 2022 CREDIT: Courtesy of Disney+

With the members of BTS taking time to pursue their own activities between completing their mandatory military service, it’s going to be a couple of years until all seven of them feature on new music together again. Their announcement that solo work was their plan for the foreseeable might have brought mass panic that this was the end of BTS, but J-hope sees it as quite the opposite.

Noting that he’s dedicated his twenties to the group, he reflects on the importance of “experienc[ing] something new to be able to appreciate what I have now”. “I’m sure this will bring us together as a team,” he says confidently.

J-hope was in two minds about including BTS songs in his Lolla set 

J-hope preparing for Lollapalooza CREDIT: Courtesy of Disney+

As well as his solo material, J-hope’s triumphant Lollapalooza performance featured a smattering of BTS songs – largely his solo or rapline contributions to the group’s oeuvre. The second half of the set, though, kickstarted with the tropical remix of their record-breaking single ‘Dynamite’ – a move J-hope wasn’t overly sure about in the planning stages.

“What am I supposed to do – sing my part only?” he asks in one meeting. Although he acknowledged it was a “symbolic song”, he seemed torn about its potential to take away from his narrative arc and the focus on his own individual music. But as his performance in Chicago showed, he found a way around those worries – by getting the crowd to sing along while he showcased his dance skills.

J-hope in the Box is out now on Disney+

The post Five things we learned from ‘J-hope In The Box’, the new documentary about the BTS star appeared first on NME.


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