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K-Pop’s Biggest Boy Band BTS: ‘We Write About Things People Don’t Want to Say’

Rap Monster, leader of the South Korean boy group, discusses their intense lyricism, addressing taboo topics, fan theories and Daler Mehndi

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The Bangtan Boys. [L-R] Suga, Rap Monster, Jungkook, Jin, V, J-Hope and Jimin. Photo: Big Hit Entertainment

If you’re a millennial with an Internet connection, chances are, you have seen the letters ‘BTS’ flood your social media timeline at least once in the last few months. Tidbits of information about the Bangtan Boys (also called Beyond the Scene and labeled as “South Korea’s biggest boy group” by publications) make numerous rounds on the Internet everyday—articles from prestigious publications gush about multiple accolades (their recent Billboard Top Social Artist victory over pop giants Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez is a common favorite) and the awe around the seven-member group’s Herculean social media power often precedes their music itself.

After six months of trying to score a conversation with the group that Time magazine declared as one of the most influential artists on social media, it’s a little surreal to receive a confirmation. When the day arrived for the conversation with Kim Namjoon aka Rap Monster, the main rapper and leader of BTS, it went from dreamlike to nerve-wracking. However when we finally do connect via Skype, he takes the lead and breaks the ice immediately, asking how I’m doing and, “What time is it there?” It is 6:33 pm in Mumbai to Seoul’s 10 pm and just like that, talking to him is the easiest thing in the world.

A lot of the time BTS’ seven members– Rap Monster, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook– serve as the gateway for most people discovering the glittering world of K-pop. They are the biggest hook in the recent fad of reaction videos on YouTube and while many fans feel it’s just a way for YouTubers to glom off the group’s fame, it’s also the number one method to blow “Gangnam Style”-influenced stereotypes right out of the water; the power-packed, gleaming music video for their 2015 single “Dope” or 2016’s baroque-infused “Blood, Sweat and Tears” are prime examples of South Korea’s commitment to stellar music production, after all. However, as Rap Monster explains, becoming a bridge between cultures is not a simple task. “We never expected that, you know,” he says, adding that while it’s an honor, it’s a lot of responsibility for a group who are all still in their early twenties. “If we are the first ones to be introduced to people in the West and India and Europe, it makes us think, ‘Okay we should be greater’.” With the influence the group has on the global music scene currently and as representatives of their country, the pressure is immense. “We feel the weight. It’s quite heavy.”

So why is BTS in particular catching so much attention in comparison to groups like EXO, BlackPink, GOT7 and Twice, especially since there are a plethora of Korean artists to choose from? “I still didn’t figure out what exactly it was,” admits Rap Monster. It’s impossible to pinpoint one single reason– there are even differences between the way Korean audiences consume entertainment versus the way international audiences do. “I think international audiences are more sensitive to trends,” he says. “[They know] about what’s going on Billboard, in pop music… In Korea, since there are so many Korean artists in K-pop right now, I think it’s mainly a difference in taste [in genres/style.]” He explains that K-pop is a total art package: music, lyrics, storylines, music videos and choreography mixed with daily experiences via YouTube vlogs, tweets and posts on V-Live (a Korean live streaming app). It’s often the right combination of these things that get an artist noticed. “Since we write stories of our own and we try to communicate face to face to not just the Korean audiences but also the international audiences, I really think that helped us. But I’m still finding out actually!” he says with a laugh.

BTS' Rap Monster at Seoul Music Awards, 2017. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

BTS’ Rap Monster at Seoul Music Awards, 2017. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

BTS have proven that while this formula may sound simple on paper, it’s a tough road to actually get to the top spot as a Daesang-winner, and that too as a group the public didn’t expect much from at the beginning. Although they debuted in 2013 with 2 Kool For Skool, the group only caught South Korea’s attention in 2015 with 화양연화 (Hwayang-yeonhwa) or The Most Beautiful Moment In Life series. The two-part album offered raw lyricism and intense storylines which took a different trajectory from the hip-hop/bubblegum pop saturation in the K-pop industry and surprised audiences with rock and R&B-infused takes on heavier topics like politics, depression, suicide and loneliness. The music videos for the singles “I Need U” and “Run” from the album were particularly career-defining, allowing the group to tear away from the flashy superficiality of the “big house, cars, big rings” trope [lyrics from their 2013 debut single “No More Dream.”] Suddenly they were no longer ‘just another boy group’ trying to make it big; they morphed into a mirror to societal realities.

Rap Monster turns to Star Wars to explain the reasoning behind this transition. “Stars Wars came out tens of years ago, but a dad and his son still go to the theater to see [it],” he says. “It’s not just like a five-year or a 10-year thing, you know what I mean? So our company knew that and they always told us about how important it is to make a world like Star Wars or Marvel [did].” BTS understood they’d have to create a legacy, a storyline that would resonate with audiences long after they themselves were gone. Rap Monster explains that before making a music video, the entire group sits down with their label to discuss where the story will go. “There are characters, seven different characters in the videos, so we try to not be so far away from our real characteristics and our real life. We’re always [discussing] our experiences, our hardships and our sadness and that really helps in coming up with the character in the videos.” While the larger concept is crafted by their label Big Hit Entertainment, the boys ensure that their individual stories are communicated as accurately as possible.

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When it comes to solo endeavors, the group are given even more free reign. RM (2015) and Agust D (2016), Rap Monster and bandmate Suga’s respective solo debut mixtapes, took it a step further and let fans glimpse the core of who they are. Suga especially dove into his personal battles with social anxiety and depression, topics that idols don’t usually open up about. I ask Rap Monster if he ever gets afraid of the possible consequences of bringing out something so personal on a public platform and he doesn’t hesitate when he answers, “Honestly speaking, I’m always afraid of it.” He explains that there are so many opinions people have and with the rise of keyboard warriors and critics in more recent years, the group needs to be aware of the weight of their words. “There are tons of different kinds of tastes, thoughts and opinions so when I try to say something, I always think, ‘What if somebody hates on this, or makes this a huge problem worldwide since we have some power on an international level?’” he says. “But we cannot stop because this is what we do and it’s what we want to say.” Rap Monster explains that the group consults professionals from their company and other experts from various fields before they release anything, but he is firm in the assurance that BTS will not stop singing about topics people prefer to stay away from. “I don’t think I’m always right, or that I’m the one who can explain everything. I’m just a man who wants to be better and make better things. That’s it.”

Most entertainment companies in South Korea tend to be careful about what they allow their artists to say and songs often stay clear of topics around politics, depression and suicide. It’s a similar climate within India, the process a little more self-restrictive; artists rarely want to write about their own mental health or the government or political situations (there were rumors that BTS’ 2017 comeback track “Spring Day” was centered around South Korea’s tragic Sewol Ferry disaster, a topic artists were often blacklisted for discussing.) Rap Monster feels that Big Hit Entertainment’s prerogative to grant the boys lyrical freedom is one of the key reasons for the attention BTS is currently receiving. “We try to stay raw. We can’t be 100 percent raw because we are still idols in Korea, but we try to make our own stories and write about things people don’t want to say. We still make our mixtapes and produce tracks… I think that’s one of the most important things to BTS and maybe to [the group’s fan club] A.R.M.Y. too.”

This thought process led to the birth of a three-year storyline and alternate universe within numerous music videos, short films, photoshoots and album art. The release of their sophomore full-length studio album Wings in 2016 propelled the mythos to new heights, pushed the seven characters of The Most Beautiful Moment In Life from reality into surrealism and allowed symbolism to run rampant; there were underlying hints about lies, temptation, knowledge, love, life and death and everything from biblical references to Greek mythology were fair game. You Never Walk Alone, Wings’ 2017 reissue, was no exception; fans were sent into a tizzy, dedicating several hours of their lives to deciphering what it all meant, creating numerous theories on YouTube every time BTS dropped anything new. When it comes to these fan theories, Rap Monster immediately shares how impressed he is with fans’ attention to detail. “Actually, I’ve seen some and I don’t know who it was, but there was a video– like an interpretation of the whole thing– that was really close.” He doesn’t remember who made it, but it definitely shocked him. “I think they’re getting too smart and too talented,” he says with a laugh.

We talk a little more about BTS’ relationship with their fans, the ever-dedicated and powerful A.R.M.Y (Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth) and Rap Monster’s tone is fond. “When we go abroad and they shake our hands or in the letters when they’re saying ‘Namjoon, you changed my life,’ or ‘Your song inspired me’… That was one of the biggest things that kept my energy for years,” he recalls. He explains that when there are times he feels like he can’t go on in this industry, he thinks about A.R.M.Y. “Their voices that say, ‘All your songs, all your lyrics changed me, changed my life and made me chase my dream again…’ I see that and I just cannot quit. I really appreciate that. They are changing my life by saying I changed their lives.” Perhaps that’s another reason they have such a powerful fandom and sold-out tours no matter which country they head to; they give back love as equally as they get it. In fact I tell him about a brilliant fan-made video I came across recently and he immediately asks for a link, his interest in A.R.M.Y.’s projects a 100 percent genuine.

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As for what comes next, it’s no surprise that BTS are determined to outdo themselves. Their recent English rebranding to adopt the full-form ‘Beyond The Scene’ is an indicator that the members are gearing up for a new artistic chapter in their lives and ready to proceed as international artists. Their own work has set the bar high and Rap Monster divulges a little bit about the group’s thought processes when making new music; while they do have the freedom to express themselves, a large part of it does include keeping their audiences in mind and how to best cater to them. “So it’s not 100 percent for me or like my kind of thing,” admits Rap Monster. “But it’s still fun to work as a producer for the team because there are good vocalists like Jungkook and Jimin, V and Jin.” Another interesting note he adds is that they also have to think about how well the song would translate onstage, while producing and writing it. “In my expression I would say we try to ‘see’ the song when we make it because we have to think about the performance later.”

BTS group_LEFT vr_2

BTS’ recent English rebranding to adopt the full-form ‘Beyond The Scene’ is an indicator that the members are gearing up for a new artistic chapter in their lives.

BTS’ arsenal of music spans a vast number of genres including pop (“Dope,” “Fire”), hip-hop (“Cyphers Pt 1-4”), alternative R&B (“Save Me”), moombahton (“Blood, Sweat and Tears”), jazz (“Stigma”, “House of Cards”) and more. Personally, Rap Monster’s base is hip hop and R&B, but he wants to branch out and experiment even more. “I’m thinking about bringing Korean traditional instruments to our sound so that we can introduce the original Korean things to the people in the world,” he says. “It’s just my individual opinion, but that’s one of my wishes.” There are tentative plans for new solo material as well. “I’m making songs and some of them… I think it’s good,” he says. “RM took a short time because I didn’t make the beats. But for the next one I want to make songs from scratch.” He is assures me that he will indeed release solo work, but whether it’ll be a mixtape or an album or on SoundCloud is still a mystery to him. He instead shifts the spotlight to J-Hope, the third rapper in the group. “J-Hope is working on his mixtape. I think that’s next for us.” There’s no date yet, but Rap Monster reveals things are looking good. “I’ve listened to a couple of songs and I really liked it.”

When the conversation turns to India, Rap Monster laments the fact that BTS haven’t had the chance to visit yet. “It’s very famous here. We see it in textbooks, in fairytales. So we got so many fantasies; the mystery, the Taj Mahal, the beautiful people…” He lists the usual things foreigners often hear about our country but suddenly, in true BTS fashion, there’s something he says that catches me off-guard. “I could say that the most famous Indian song in Korea is ‘Tunak Tunak Tun’,” he says about the very random 1998 Punjabi pop mega-hit by Daler Mehndi that went viral before ‘going viral’ was a thing.

“It’s really famous. I sang it when I was a middle school student when I was 14.” We both laugh about it and compare the track’s meme-age value to “Gangnam Style” and it hits me that besides our professions and locations, as people we’re not that different. Relatability has always been a key part of BTS’ appeal, but an actual conversation with their very down-to-earth leader makes me understand what that truly means. Perhaps there is no need to analyze the big ‘why’ behind the fame because it could all just be as simple as this: they’re a bunch of talented, hilarious guys with a winning work ethic, a supportive label and a fandom that won’t quit on them. Regardless of language barriers, fans tend to see a bit of themselves in BTS and India is no exception; I tell him about the requests Vh1 India has been bombarded with on Twitter to air BTS’ tracks on television in India and he is surprised but happy. “I hope that BigHit is planning to go to India,” Rap Monster says, adding that while they’ve traveled to several countries the globe, India is one place they’ve been eager to explore for a long time. “Maybe we’ll be there soon. So let’s meet in India.”

All photos courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment.

Click here to check out the digital edition of Rolling Stone India. 

Watch BTS’ video for “Not Today” below:

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  1. Kim Bebe July 14, 2017

    Nice one!!! It’s been awhile since I read a piece so long. My momma will be proud. lol

  2. 후리야 July 14, 2017

    Thank you <3

  3. Queenrj July 14, 2017

    Loved the article. I think you understand very well why they are so famous righ now and why, we Armys, love them so much. I’m from Brazil, but I feel them so close and can relate so much with them and their lives. That’s the secret. ♥

  4. duardo July 14, 2017

    Great article <3

  5. Moulya July 14, 2017

    This is by far the best article and truly shows who and what Bangtan is..thank you so much from the bottom of my heart

  6. Jamel July 14, 2017

    This is a really amazing and insightful article! It’s always interesting to read about other people’s perspective on Bts and to learn more about Namjoon. He has such a great mind and personality. What really struck me hard was the Star Wars reference and how they want to leave a legacy. I never thought about it that way, there’s always something new to learn about bts! I can surely say they are making history and will be remembered for a long time. Thank you for the interview!

    1. Mochiki July 14, 2017

      I agree!

  7. Harsha A. July 14, 2017

    Really lovely and intuitive article! The words used by the writer were just right. Thank you for your efforts to cater to Indian ARMYs out there!

    Although… which fan project caught the attention of the writer’s eyes? Hahah, curious!

  8. Ozukum July 14, 2017

    Oh God! Thank you so much for this. It really is a great article. I really enjoyed it

  9. Bramblefae July 14, 2017

    This is a *wonderful* write up! Thank you so much for your hard work!

  10. Saaya July 14, 2017

    I think this could be my favourite article about BTS! I’m Indian but I don’t live in India so I had no idea about their popularity there; this makes me so happy! I wonder if I could expect BTS to be the first to hold a K-Pop concert there? I’d rush back hahah! Dear, thanks for the great work! 😀 ❤️

  11. mae July 14, 2017

    thank you for sharing this wonderful interview! i loved the flow of the piece,it shows that it was well researched and i’m glad there’s new information or perspective there that was included (it kinda got tiring to read all the articles about bts cos it ends up always saying the same thing). i’m truly grateful to the author!

  12. Jyoti Lawrence July 14, 2017

    Thank you Rolling Stone India for this amazing article…Amazing write up…Now at least more people will recognize these amazingly talented boys and appreciate them…And the fact they recognize us is amazing as well…This opens doors for so many other Kpop artists considering India as a market for their music…I hope that they could really come to India, if not for a concert then at least a fan meet…Indian ARMYs would be more than happy…BTS hwaiting!!! ARMYs hawaiting!!!

  13. Lydia VA July 14, 2017

    THANK YOU FOR interviewing BTS, they are indeed down to earth guys, very talented, and hard working. Their concepts have so much depth, and truly amazing. They don’t release just a song but a story that relates with people.

  14. Sanjana July 14, 2017

    I am really happy bts recognized india. Bts indian army is waiting for you. Army fighting

  15. Samaira July 14, 2017

    This is literally one the best articles!!!Thank you so much ❤❤

  16. Ray Kim July 14, 2017

    Thank you soooo much for doing this

  17. Таня Генова July 14, 2017

    WorldWide BTS!!!

  18. Subterfuge01 July 14, 2017

    Amazing article! Not like a lot of others that are only filled with fluff for fangirls (and boys) to ekkkk out over. It had a lot of depth and information into who BTS is, which I really enjoyed. Thank You!

  19. Miche July 14, 2017

    This article is written so well 😮 Not just because I like BTS, there’s really something about your writing that’s elegant and flows nicely that some of the others who wrote articles about BTS lack…

    ARMY really appreciates that you took the time to interview them, thank you! A lot of the points in the article were spot-on. If you ask us why we like BTS– they’re really likeable people lol. They share things with us that let us feel close to them, and their comedy is gold. When you’re in a low point in your life, BTS becomes your best friends and ARMY becomes your family, and these two groups will pick you up until you’re a-ok again. In addition, their music forces you to learn, research, analyze things… but it makes it fun. Thanks to Spring Day, I actually paid attention to the Korean election. WINGS made everyone in ARMY read the book “Demian” and analyze a painting. Then we discuss these things and it’s so interesting! You should check out Twitter in the days after a BTS release; even for a seemingly random music video, there’ll be thousands of theories or picture analyses. It’s a really fun time for everyone and I can’t help but think BTS is training ARMY to be detectives so they can form their own FBI team and take over the world lolol.

    Another thing is that their company BigHit is awesome! A lot of fans will hate their idol’s companies for just exploiting the fans for as much money as possible (example: G-Dragon sold a plastic red USB for $30 USD with shipping. The USB didnt even have his song, it just had a link to the song. His fans were pissed but still bought it). But BigHit has made so many great decisions about BTS and given them freedom. In June, everyday from 4th-11th we trended a hashtag celebrating one member. But on the 12th, we trended #ThankYouBigHitFromARMYs. I think this kind of friendship between the artist, the fandom, and the company is important.

    This is a bit unrelated but I knew that Rapmon song-reference was going to happen lolol (though I haven’t heard that song in years). It always happens and makes me feel guilty!! He says something in English and I kinda brush it off as “he’s struggling for words” or “he’s saying a cliche” but then suddenly he ends with something so perfect, so thoughtful, and you realize he’s completely conscious of what he’s saying.

    This has become too long, oops! To summarize, thank you for writing this article, it was enjoyable to read, and I look forward to reading more of your writing in the future! ^^

    1. WAEWAE. July 14, 2017

      Well said!

    2. BlueSky July 14, 2017

      Nice comment)

  20. BlueSky July 14, 2017

    So nice interview. Thank you for your great work) With love from Russian Siberia!)

  21. Ray Kim July 14, 2017

    This is by far the most insightful article i read about BTS after the Billboard win. To the writer and Rolling Stone India I would like to say “This article is simply amazing it stays true to its core, thank you so much for doing this, you have no idea what this means to Indian Armys, thank you sooo sooo much. It just can not be put in words”.
    Every interview reinforces that BTS is so humble no matter what, and them wanting to grow as artist spirit never dies, for them its not about fame but rightfully able to connect to the masses. With being influential worldwide comes lots of responsibilities and they understand that. I love it every time BTS members lets ARMYs know how much we mean to them and how we are growing up together, how we are breaking the shackles of the society to live, to dream, to make dreams come true. BTS let us know that the world may not be a beautiful place to stay but its definitely worth living for, they never let our fighting spirit die. I wont say they are the greatest band ever but definitely a band with know i and millions& millions of other Armys can soulfully relate to.

    1. Chill July 15, 2017

      Oh wow, well said, I totally agree. Except for me in K-Pop they are the greatest band ever! It’s not just about the music. I look at these 7 human beings and I actually See them, caring, hardworking and genuine. What makes me happiest is their clean and beautiful lyrics. I love their music, their attitude, their humbleness and how they continue to try and do well for ARMY and themselves. I am proud to be Army! Love you BTS.

  22. Cecília Carvalho July 14, 2017



    Thank you so much for this. It is so great to see how you actually related to them besides just researching. This seemed like a good interview for both of you and I’m rly happy about that (if that makes sense, heh)

    Great article!

  23. btslover July 14, 2017

    I think this might be one of my favorite articles about BTS i’ve read so far, very thoughtful and insightful. To us, ARMY it just reconfirms why we love BTS and to the person who doesn’t know BTS well it really give them a sense of who BTS is and the many reasons they are so popular. While everyone is trying to figure out “why” they are so popular by over analyzing and making it complicated he keeps it simple.

  24. zerocaloriejin July 14, 2017

    Thank you for this article, even after trying so many times to get in! I just want to say to writer-nim that you did a great job in giving us a very insightful article. We’re so thirsty for it, even after so many interviews that are fun but also silly, it’s nice to actually read something like this.
    This article got me so emo on so many levels!!!!! Keep it up BTS~ Also, I hope BTS sees Classical Musicians react videos because I want them to know how we appreciate not just them, but also their music.RM, if you’re reading this, please know that i’m one of those people who’s life has been changed by BTS. I hope BTS keeps on going and achieving greater heights!!

  25. Anna Martin July 14, 2017

    Star Wars and marvel references left me in awe.. bighit BTS are truly geniuses

  26. Jimin July 14, 2017

    Great Article ,,,, ❤️BTS Army from San Antonio Texas

  27. viviana angelo July 14, 2017

    Wow!….whoever wrote this piece deserves a standing ovation…I myself might’ve clapped after reading the article. But, the real MVP here is Namjoon for gracefully carrying on the interview, highlighting all the members equally and just being a genuine leader. I have ran out of words to describe how amazing Namjoon is and how insightful he is. BTS is making history as we know it and I’m proud that they’re still humble in spite of their growing popularity

  28. Cinthia Ro July 14, 2017

    Wow great publication, good job to the profensional Riddhi Chakraborty, thanks. My Leader is amazing

  29. Cinthia Ro July 14, 2017

    Saludos desde Argentina, muy buen Artículo.

  30. Wendilynn Kerezman July 15, 2017

    Excellent article. Very well done. BTS isn’t a bias group of mine, but I have several friends who are crazy about them. What strikes me so much about them as an “outsider” who loves kpop is how they have managed to be friends with their listeners. And when they are feeling naughty they make love to them. lol They have an amazing work ethic and work hard to stay humble and that makes them likeable.

  31. Megha July 15, 2017

    Ahh.. thanks for doing this.. i have been following bts gor more than 2 years n this made my day.. thank u

  32. Indivíduo Culposo July 15, 2017

    Thank you!!

  33. suri July 15, 2017

    The last paragraph about relatability suddenly hits me why I’m such a huge fan of these boys. They don’t portray themselves as perfect human being but rather a bunch of guys who are trying to adjust to better themselves in this ever evolving world. The support they have for each other, their humbleness, their work ethics are really admirable. Kudos Rolling Stone India! Great article indeed. (P/S: Perhaps you guys could persuade Vh1 to play their music videos on television. It will be amazing, I’m sure 😉 )

  34. Literally Felicity July 15, 2017

    “When we go abroad and they shake our hands or in the letters when they’re saying ‘Namjoon, you changed my life,’ or ‘Your song inspired me’… That was one of the biggest things that kept my energy for years,” he recalls. He explains that when there are times he feels like he can’t go on in this industry, he thinks about A.R.M.Y. “Their voices that say, ‘All your songs, all your lyrics changed me, changed my life and made me chase my dream again…’ I see that and I just cannot quit. I really appreciate that. They are changing my life by saying I changed their lives.”


  35. JustAddSuga July 15, 2017

    Wow. This is a beautiful article! It was so nice to read a interview with depth. It’s definitely one of the best articles on BTS that I’ve read. Well done, Riddhi Chakraborty. Thank you so much!
    Namjoon is such a sweet, intelligent, caring person I’m glad you got to talk to him and get to know a little better the man and group that we love so much! I always love hearing what he has to say. ♥

  36. Literally Felicity July 15, 2017


  37. Literally Felicity July 15, 2017

    This article deserve more recognition, it’s so detailed and accurate whilst still being entertaining, very good writing indeed, been long since I read a good article, feels like a breath of fresh air after reading so many trashy buzzfeed articles. GG OP

  38. Aza Syn July 15, 2017

    Namjoon is allows capturing the interviewers hearts with his sincerity and humility is it any wonder why we love our leader

  39. Tamires Raquelle July 15, 2017

    This is such a good article!

  40. CinnaR July 15, 2017

    I loved reading this article! It’s so engaging and thought provoking! I also see our leader pulled at your heartstrings as he does ours…. Thank you for including their solo works as well! Thank you so much <3 ^^

  41. Zigenbun July 15, 2017

    Best article I’ve read so far for BTS. Thank you for your effort. I’m really shook about what RM said that one fan theory about their mv’s is very close to the truth. I wonder which one it was >.< anyway, BTS fighting! Looking forward to what's next <3

  42. Harini T July 15, 2017

    This article is so heart warming..Thank u 4 writing such good article, i luv it !

  43. Lu Xueying July 15, 2017

    That’s why I love Namjoon 🙂

  44. Duhwanderer July 15, 2017

    This is a great and insightful article. 🙂 <3

  45. I really wonder about that theory video though.. :O

  46. Avignon July 15, 2017

    Loved the article, thank you to the author of it. I liked how Namjoon mentioned that he has seen some of the theory videos on youtube, and that one shook him even. We are, of course, getting smarter and it’s all due to BTS. I mean they reference books…and people buy the book and borrow it at the library and go and read. BTS makes us think. I liked the Star Wars reference as well, it makes sense and works – I like it.

    I think they are popular because they have talked to ARMY for so long and let us see who they are, at least bits and pieces of it, and we can relate to who they are and what they’ve been through – to the stories they tell. They are stories so many people go through. It’s simple…communication and relatability I think are the key to the BTS and ARMY relationship.

  47. Jessi July 15, 2017

    THIS IS BY FAR THE BEST BTS ARTICLE EVER!! Thank you so much! You are an amazing writer and your conversation with RM was so genuine. I loved it

  48. Pamela Fitzgerald July 15, 2017

    You are right about BTS appeal. To put it simply, we laugh with them, sing and dance with them, create amazing works of art with them, get excited with them, cry with them,struggle with them, we are them. ARMY Japan

  49. Anna July 15, 2017

    Dear Riddhi Chakraborty this article is truly the best one I have read so far! The flow, the in depth analyse, the personal references, everything. I learnd a lot more about this amazing group and I loved your perspective and your personal note in it. You really did a great job <3
    Thank you so much for this wonderful article from German ARMY
    P.S. Idia ARMY fighting I hope they will come to your country soon !!! <3

  50. smallraindrops July 15, 2017

    Interviews never got me emotional but this one has gotten close. Thank you for creating an article about that stays true to BTS’ color and yet letting us know more about these wonderful men at the same time.

  51. min July 15, 2017

    BTS got me just the way they are, but when I read interviews like that, I always wonder how these talented guys would sound without some of the idols things. Sometimes BTS’ musics sounds like something that constitutes them individually was left behind, even though it sounds technically great and the MVs and photoshots include good art references and wonderful storytelling. Anyway, it’s just an useless feeling/opinion. It’s nice to “see” they’re expanding music influences and trying new things. I hope they can show us an “I’m a grown up musician” side too, at least by mixtapes.

  52. Relatively new army July 15, 2017

    Thank you so much for this article! It really gave me a better understanding on some of the song’s meanings and it was really accurate.

  53. sugacubeteabag July 15, 2017

    Well written article. Congrats to the writer…I can feel the sincerity in here.

  54. Ishrrat July 15, 2017

    Honestly one of my top favorite articles on BTS. Specifically because it truly shows BTS’s characteristics as people and hard workers. The article starts off with the common question “why” they’ve gained all this attention, to ending it with them just being down to earth, talented, and a conscientious group.

  55. Grace Belluci July 15, 2017

    I am glad that an Indian media is now accepting Kpop worthy of an article….and specially about BTS.
    BTS are true example of talents, hardwork and humbleness at the same time. They have set a whole new standard for Kpop.

  56. Kei-Senpai July 15, 2017

    wow. I really love how you write this article. Not only how you use the bombastic words (I’m learning english and yeah it’s a complicated words but wow) to describe every single details. and of course, thank you for sharing your opinion & letting us know more about Rap Monster.

  57. Rabia July 15, 2017

    Thanks Rolling Stone India, for bringing Indian A. R. M. Y to Namjoon’s attention, this recognition is more than enough, we love BTS and would always be there for them.

  58. HerleenXOXO July 15, 2017

    Love ya’ Rolling Stones. I mean I can’t even explain my feelings about this article. Their love for army and namjoon’s thoughts about everything. And second thing… Rap monster knows about the song TUNAK TUNAK TUN!!!!!! I’m from Punjab…and you can’t even feel my happiness. N idk why I kept laughing for whole time about it. Still…love for BTS from INDIAN ARMY. FIGHTING!!!!!!!!!!!

  59. Athira Muraleedharan July 15, 2017

    this is such a warm article and writer has written it so crisp and neat; im happy that people who read this will get to see that BTS is not ‘bubblegum pop pretty candy boys’ as a misconception, but is truly beyond the scene. KUDOS!!

  60. ParkEunAhn July 15, 2017

    Just by reading this made me feel as if I was there listening to them talk and me just staring at beautiful Rapmon (:
    (People show write good articles like this.. To uplift people..)

  61. eshna pradhan July 15, 2017

    Hey Rolling Stone India! I wanna work for you. I didn’t know you interviewed Rap Mon. Rolling Stone India is awesome. I would love to work for you now.

  62. Hiyaa Saraswat July 15, 2017

    A well written article!! Thank you! And thank you BTS!

  63. bed a ㅋkai July 15, 2017

    great article

  64. Nari July 15, 2017

    this article is by far the best article ive ever read about bangtan. Thank you for the amazing article. You did a great job! Btw what fanmade video did you recommended to him? I wish to see it too haha

  65. vaishali singh July 15, 2017

    The first thing i want to say Rolling stone India … “Thank you so much”…. BTS fan India A.R.M.Y is grateful to you such a wonderful article. And make them to notice us. Editor of the article and interviewer had done their amazing job.. my respect for you…i hope they even visit India…. 🙂 __/__ thanks again

  66. Rubala Suresh July 15, 2017

    My deepest gratitude to the writer of this article. Words fail whenever I want to express my love and respect for BTS. But this article is really close to what ARMY’s feel. As Namjoon said, I am one of the person whose life got changed because of BTS. This is one more baby step of an Indian ARMY towards BTS. Thank you for your help.

  67. Klementina Vad July 15, 2017

    Thank you for doing your research before makeing the interview! Well done! Best article I have ever read of BTS☺️ Keep up the good work!

  68. strong power thank you July 15, 2017


  69. andrea mota July 15, 2017

    I cry a little, why are you making me have all these feelings Bangtan ?)”:

  70. Ruchita Duarah July 15, 2017

    omg armys what if they come to india

  71. Ritu July 15, 2017

    The person who wrote this article.. A HUGE THANK YOU. Its really well written and very different from the other articles on BTS that I have read. Thanks for the links . And I’m glad to see that you have linked the original version of I need u and not the censored version. Its really interesting to see Namjoon’s thoughts on their popularity. Namjoon , if you are reading this article, if you ever feel the that the weight is too much take a break and spend some time with you friends and family. A.R.M.Y will never stop supporting you. The fandom loves BTS for being BTS. You don’t need to change yourself for us. Many A.R.M.Y ( including me) owe you thanks . BTS songs have inspired many. I remember listening to spine breaker and coming to the self realization about my own personality. Songs like move, tomorrow , young forever, so far away ( from agust d) etc are really up lifting. Songs like cypher build self confidence in me . As namjoon said, they are restricted by some degree due to them being idols. They have to release songs that are more appealing to the general public. But BTS songs still manage to have a lot of personality. The songs are not manufactured like they are for many other groups. People all over the world can relate to the songs. As namjoon said kpop in general is a package deal. You got the rapping,singing,dancing and visuals . Its different here in India. We don’t get to see the singers.
    I don’t understand how tunak tunak tun got so big! But i guess its the same for the koreans too. they cannot understand why gangnam style got so big. XD
    Also never doubt the Sherlock armys! nothing escapes our eyes .
    ‘big house, cars, big rings’ which is followed by ‘but in reality I don’t have an big dreams’ in the song is currently written down in my books. They remind me of the person i was . But I ‘ Dream , Hope, keep going ‘ because I haven’t lost my passion to live yet . Thank you Bts . 🙂

  72. Harshu July 15, 2017

    Thank you so much rolling Stone India for taking Rapmonster’s interview…This is like a blessing for all of the ARMYs and specially the Indian ARMYs.. I am so happy that you approached BTS… And I know all the Indian ARMYs will be as happy as I am..once again thank you very much rolling Stone India ❤❤

  73. Mariam July 15, 2017

    This article was by far the Best article I’ve read about BTS. I was so disappointed it finished to soon. Namjoon always manages to surprise me. He was born to be a leader ^-^ 🙂

  74. 대위 July 15, 2017

    I need to know who’s video it is T_T

  75. Karamel July 15, 2017

    This article is truly amazing! It is so nice that such a good article is in english which I can finally understand. Worth the long read

  76. Brittanie Castellon July 15, 2017

    I am so impressed with the article because the writer really gets what BTS is all about. It really gives more insight on BTS and really does great at showcasing Rap Monster’s perspective on why they have achieved so much fame and the behind the scenes process to everything they do. It shows BTS as multi-dimensional and not just describes them as a boy band. I feel like I really learned more about Rap Monster and BTS. This has to be my favorite article of BTS post-Billboard award.

  77. KenGoldenTree July 15, 2017

    man, your hard work is amazing. thank you for catering to how bts works, with namjoon, instead of the overdone how it looks. bts/bh’s attention to detail in themselves, trends, media, society, and their fans is thrillling: i cant imagine the extent to which they analyse these factors, but you gave a satisfying insight into that here. to understand your perspective on bts, indias perspective, and bts perspective on india, was a pleasant highlight.

  78. Audrey Rose July 15, 2017

    Dear Mrs/Miss Riddhi, (I do not know if you are married, so I resorted to Mrs/Miss)

    As you can see from the comments, many who have read this article are impressed and awed by not only the quality of the interview but how you orchestrate your words! I’ve read some of your other articles ((They included other editors as well)) and I am really intrigued by what you write about. One that stood out to me was an article about sexism and the portrayal of women on screen in India. I still have yet to read all of it, because I wished to send you a message before I continued.
    ARMY is a important fandom to me, I think. Not important in the sense of power or lustre, but in what we stand for. I cannot speak for everyone (some simply come along for the thrill of the community and blinding lights), but there are several things that we pursue as a group. One, to educate ourselves to become better in handling problems; from minor things like common courtesy to respectfully shutting down large-scale arguments.
    ((There is an app called ARMY Amino for our fandom and there are regular posts about respect, self-reflection, and fan project outlines for each month-2 months if you ever wanted to dig around and see what we do 🙂 )
    Another is TRUTH. Truth seems to be an underlying reacurrance in BTS’s themes wether they weave it in their work or not. Everything that they sing about, death, passion, disappointment, youth; all of it is truth. And not all of it is good, but it represents the reality of today which is important. I also think that they try to pursue what is right with their music. Learn from their mistakes that they craft in their story lines, teaching us what could be healthier versus the imaginary (or real? They incorporate their old lives in their work too which is wonderful!) choices they’ve made.
    Needless to say, this article has refreshed some of these things. The down to earth leader Namjoon is always ready to be as honest as he can, which I find important. He is an incredible leader. Not only does he lead the boys of BTS to the best paths, but he unknowningly teaches ARMY to make the right and just decisions with his wisdom, even if the choice could hurt us a bit.
    ((Like he said before though, he’s not always right. Nobody is, but he is INCREDIBLE and very smart))
    It would be best if he didn’t realize that though. He has a lot on his shoulders, and if he noticed he would probably change the way he interactes with us. I really hope he rests.
    Thank you again for this wonderful article! I’m looking forward to reading your other works, they seem very open-minded and interesting. Your writing skills are amazing 🙂
    ~Sincerely, an ARMY~

  79. Camila Army July 16, 2017

    I love this: “They’re a bunch of talented, hilarious guys with a winning work ethic, a supportive label and a fandom that won’t quit on them.”

  80. monbebe_m203 July 16, 2017

    This article is very well written and I am very touched by the Star Wars reference.
    I hope that in the future too, BTS shall walk the flowery road and hit it big!
    Love BTS

    Thank you to Rolling Stone India for making our day with such a well-worded article!

  81. Melissa Hanung July 16, 2017

    This article is REALLY REALLY GOOD AND WELL WRITTEN. Where can I send a bouquet of flowers for the writer???