BTS’ J-Hope’s First Mixtape Tops iTunes Charts in Over 70 Countries
The Nineties era-flavored ‘Hope World’ has made the South Korean rapper the first solo artist from his country to achieve this feat
After a wait that spanned nearly two years, South Korean rapper and BTS member J-Hope (born Jung Hoseok) finally released his first solo mixtape Hope World on Thursday, March 1st (March 2nd in South Korea.)
J-Hope is the third member of BTS to drop a solo mixtape, following the footsteps of bandmates RM and Suga and giving fans a taste of his abilities as a solo artist and producer. While both RM (2015) and Suga’s Agust D (2016) explored darker instrumentals and themes of politics, suicide and their struggles within the K-pop industry, Hope World splashes gratitude, positivity, love for fans and color into BTS’ solo discography.
Despite staying true to the hip-hop tradition of being available for free download, Hope World hit Number One on the iTunes album charts of over 70 countries within less than 24 hours of its release, including in India. The achievement reportedly also makes J-Hope the first Korean solo artist with the most Number Ones on iTunes.
#1 j-hope – Hope World [NEW]
— BTS ARMY (@btschartdata) March 1, 2018
The hype around it started with the mixtape’s fan-given nickname ‘Hixtape,’ which was trending worldwide on Twitter an hour before release. By the time 12:00 a.m. KST (8:30 p.m. IST) rolled around, the hashtags #JHope, #HopeWorld and #HOPEWORLDMixtapeOUTNOW were simultaneous global trends while the DropBox and Google Drive folders the mixtape was available on for free had crashed.
Sonically, the seven-track mixtape is predominantly old-school, spanning elements of early-Nineties new jack swing, R&B and hip-hop. The title track is a suitable introduction to J-Hope as an individual: funk-fueled and fun on the surface but accompanied by an undertone of lyrical darkness. On the anthemic lead single “Daydream,” J-Hope explores walking the line between stardom and an ordinary life, adding references to Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, his previous releases (“Cypher 4” and “1 VERSE”) and more.
Despite J-Hope’s prowess as a trap rapper, the genre makes distinct appearances only on two songs: “Hansang,” featuring producer and rapper Supreme Boi—which celebrates his fans and rise with BTS—and the vicious, autobiographical “Base Line.” Tracks like “P.O.P (Piece Of Peace) Pt.1” and “Airplane” are dream pop-drenched and breezy while the much too brief “Blueside (outro)” ends the mixtape with a subtle touch of rippling soft rock.
To see a South Korean act top our Bollywood-heavy iTunes charts is testament to not only BTS’ global brand power, but also India’s evolving taste in music. Suga’s Agust D was released on iTunes and Spotify last week, nearly two years after its original upload, to break into the top 10 charts in countries such as India and Australia, much like BTS’ 2017 EP Love Yourself: Her.
There seems to be a new willingness to dive into the unfamiliar, especially important since BTS’ work is predominantly in Korean. We’ve seen viral interest in foreign-language singles like “Despacito,” “Bailando” and “Gangnam Style,” but the consistency of BTS’ meteoric charting is unprecedented, which makes the future difficult to gauge. The key question right now is: what does all this mean for desi fans? While there have been demands for India tour dates from fans on social media since last year, Hope World and Agust D’s recent success should cement the case for an India show in the near future.
Listen to J-Hope’s ‘Hope World’ below: