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K-pop, Mandopop and other Asian pop

Who is J-Hope from BTS? Meet the K-pop act’s rapper and dancer, who is also a solo artist

Jung Ho-seok was interested in dancing from an early age. Had things worked out differently, J-Hope could have been part of boy band Got7. He auditioned for them but was turned down, and instead joined BTS

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 July, 2018, 8:02pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 July, 2018, 12:17pm

World-conquering K-pop boy band BTS are now officially household names – and before long they will be found in households across the world … well, almost. It was revealed this week that special-edition bottles and cans of Coca-Cola featuring BTS members J-Hope, V, Jimin, Suga, RM, Jungkook and Jin will soon be released across the globe.

Meet the K-pop stars: BTS’ RM, formerly known as Rap Monster

This news from Coca-Cola came alongside another exciting announcement from the boys: BTS will release the final part of the “Love Yourself” series of albums later this summer.

Following the huge success of “Love Yourself: Tear” – which became the first K-pop album to hit No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 album charts – the new album will be titled “Love Yourself: Answer”.

The new album will feature seven new tracks and a selection of previously released songs.

With a new release on the horizon, and their North American tour coming up later this year, the hardworking K-pop idols have much to look forward to. We take a look at J-Hope, the group’s main dancer and lead rapper, who persevered and beat the odds to become a major star in his own right.

His early life

Born Jung Ho-seok in Gwangju, the sixth largest city in South Korea, J-Hope grew up with his parents and older sister. Passionate about dance from an early age, J-Hope competed in national competitions and won first place at an event in 2008. Apart from wanting a career as a dancer, J-Hope also dreamed of becoming a rapper.

His role in BTS

Had things worked out differently, J-Hope may have ended up as a member of K-pop boy band Got7 instead of BTS. Before joining BTS’ management firm, Big Hit Entertainment, J-Hope auditioned for JYP Entertainment, home to acts including Twice, 2PM and Miss A. Luckily, he was turned down and joined BTS as a result.

J-Hope has been instrumental in the writing of each BTS album. He says he chose his stage name as he wants to be perceived as “the hope of BTS”.

His image

As a rapper and dancer, J-Hope is known for his stylish outfits influenced by street fashion. During the group’s performances, he lights up the stage with his upbeat energy and dynamic dancing.

His solo work

In March, J-Hope released three solo tracks – Daydream, Hope World and Hangsang to much acclaim. His latest solo mixtape “Hope World – which includes the three singles – hit the top 100 on the World Billboard Album Charts, making him one of the first solo Korean acts to achieve this.

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J-Hope has also long been a contributor to the local K-pop scene. In 2012, he was featured as a rapper on Animal, a solo track by Jo Kwon from the boy band 2AM. At the time, he was still referred to as Jung Ho-seok, but it was evident from his performance with Kwon that he was destined for bigger things.

In his words

“The team always comes first, so I focused on our projects as BTS, and tried to find time in the hotel room, on the plane, and whenever I could find a few minutes,” he said of the development of “Hope World” during an interview with Time magazine.

“The way I work uses a very on-the-spot flow, and I write the lyrics and the music when I feel them coming. I drew inspiration for this mixtape from artists such as [US rappers] Kyle and Aminé. I also have to mention the heavy influence of Joey Bada$$. These are all artists I highly respect, and I’d love to do projects with them in the future,” he also told Time.