Rap Monster: It’s just an awesome thing to happen for BTS—first, being invited to the BBMAs where all these top-notch artists gather in the same place. If we win Top Social Artists Award, it is made possible by A.R.M.Ys (our fans) around the world, and our honor and gratitude goes directly to them.
What impact would you like to make on the U.S. music scene?
Suga: I want to be on the Billboard Hot 100 with a single that has Korean lyrics.
Jimin: I wish BTS could set up a model for k-pop with the best music and content so we have a positive impact on the U.S. music scene.
Can you tell me a bit about your backstory? You are all incredible lyricists, singers, and dancers. How did you build those skills and know music was your calling?
Rap Monster: I loved writing lyrics for rap when I was in junior high. I loved studying, but somehow I wanted to be a rapper who can write and rap.
Suga: I have [been] writing rhymes and lyrics, a habit since I was a kid. They are all the little minor feelings and thoughts that go through my mind. I shuffle them a year or so later, and they sometimes become great lyrics for songs.
J-Hope: When I was a little kid, I simply loved music and enjoyed expressing myself with my body. Everyone liked me when I went up on the stage at a talent search in elementary school, and that’s when I decided to become a music artist.
How did all seven of you come together to join your company Big Hit Entertainment—and ultimately, the final line up of BTS?
Rap Monster: I was introduced to our executive producer, “hitman” Bang, and auditioned in front of him. He told me later that he felt his destiny was to create a “hip-hop idol band” when he first met me. SUGA joined the team after me and j-hope was the third member (he was quite popular for his dancing in his hometown). With the rest of the four members joining the band, BTS was born in 2013.
You guys are going to the Billboard Music Awards ceremony. What are you most looking forward to?
Jin: Everything!! It’s my first time in Las Vegas and at the BBMAs. Looking forward to everything about it.
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Jimin: Being invited to the awards itself is a thrill and a chill.
V: Performances of all the legends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You’ve also been playing across the U.S. What’s been your favorite memory from the U.S. stretch of your tour?
Jin: On the tour, I noticed that quite a number of people spoke Korean to communicate with us. It was so great, and they were special moments.
V: Every one of the shows on the U.S.—the tour was unforgettable. Personally, it was my favorite moments when I went to MoMA [Museum of Modern Art] in NY and the Chicago Art Museum.
What sets you apart from other k-pop groups is the fact you are so personal in your lyrics and willing to speak out about mental health. How have the songs you’ve written—and expressing those feelings through music—helped you grow as young men?
Rap Monster: My songs have made me someone who constantly observes society and wants to be a person who can have [a] better, positive impact on other people.
J-Hope: The music helped me sympathize with our young generation and also empathize with them. I’d like to create and write more music that represents them.