'Daydream' to 'Arson': Best songs by BTS' J-hope to add to your rap playlist

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The moodmaker of the world’s most popular K-pop group can go from dropping bars to a dance track to spitting facts about the struggles of life in the blink of an eye. If you’ve yet to discover the versatility of hip-hop king J-hope from BTS – we’ve got a set of rap songs that will do the trick.

The first member of BTS to release a solo project right after the announcement of their hiatus – J-hope’s musical ability has gone from strength to strength over the years. One of the group’s most beloved members – his dancing prowess and general sunny disposition (lest we forget his go-to introduction “I’m your hope, you’re my hope, I’m J-Hope.”) often risk overshadowing his rap abilities. However, his self-penned verses in BTS’ songs, 2018 mixtape Hope World, and 2022 studio album Jack In The Box stand testimony to his place in the hip hop world.

As does the wildly popular 2019 single Chicken Noodle Soup featuring pop sensation Becky G – which debuted at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100. The rapper, singer-songwriter, and record producer has continually pushed the envelope of his career – bagging awards, performing at Lollapalooza, and releasing nuanced tracks that are a far departure from his usual persona. Whether you’re an ARMY looking to add to their playlist or a hip-hop enthusiast keen on discovering new rap artists – here’s looking at a few songs by Hobi that are on our radar.

BTS J-Hope’s best rap songs for your listening party

Daydream (2018)

A playful interplay of bass and percussion marks this wildly popular track which won J-Hope the honour of being one of only ten Korean artists, including BTS, to reach number one on the World Digital Song Sales chart. The song touches upon the ordinary life and the freedom of being ‘young, wild, and free’ that the idol longs for, while being grateful for his fame and fortune. It fuses dark themes with a cheery melody – displaying nuances unique to J-hope. Perhaps one of the first true representations of his versatility – the track explores various tones, while keeping the flow consistent and the chorus breezy. We couldn’t think of a better way to get things started.

Ddaeng (2018)

Although technically a BTS track – featuring J-hope, RM, and Suga – Ddaeng makes it to the list for establishing the growth and influence of the group’s rap line. And for its unmatched word play and flow. The punchy song hits back at haters – with phrases like “You wrong, me right, dang!” supported by gritty adlibs, eastern instrumentals, and a trap beat. Having dealt with consistent criticism for being run-of-the-mill rappers by the South Korean hip hop community – the song’s double entendres and intelligent symbolism are a bold clap back and a symbol of the group’s growth. J-hope spits bars at haters, “I made success (uh),,All thanks to you (uh) Isn’t it funny, isn’t it funny (ye) Don’t you feel dumbfounded (ye).” Behind-the-scenes videos show a focused professional – a departure from his usual sunny disposition. This is one fun track. Don’t miss out.

Chicken Noodle Soup (2019)

This fun trilingual affair – Spanish, Korean, English – featuring Becky G is a cover of the Webstar and Young B original. Heavy on the bass, the funk and pop track has J-Hope giving listeners an insight into his passion for dance and vision, “Went head over heels for dancing, workaholic, everyday. As a teen, grew up pulling all-nighters, that’s the case. My height is measured by dance, I’m okay. A grand vision, a plan I’m going on to draw,” he raps. The beat stays consistent with J-hope’s signature adlibs in the background elevating the track. If you like upbeat jams, this one will make it to your favourites.

MORE (2022)

Diving into the first single of hisU first solo rodeo – MORE is a dark rap track that takes listeners deep into the recesses of J-Hope’s mind. A consistent funk quality – marked by a rock guitar – underlines the song. Not to mention, hints of 90s hip hop. The lyrics touch upon the artist’s ambition, which he notes is even greater now than before.“Keep my passion, I gotta go. I’m still (not enough),” he growls before adding, “My work makes me breathe, so I want more.” For fans, this vocal treatment was distinctly different from anything the rapper has explored before, making things quite fresh.

Arson (2022)

“Right, I lit the flame. Now I ask myself, choose what. Do I put out the fire, or burn even brighter?” J-Hope muses through growls and punchy ad libs. The second track of his solo album, Arson is marked by a moody melody and strong beats. The synth (distorted) and steady flow add to the track which builds on the ambition of MORE to note just what happens when passion is ignited by a certain hunger. He wonders whether he should quit while ahead, his musings going into a frenzy during the chorus. If you need a bankable addition to your workout playlist, this one’s it.

Which of these are you adding to your playlist?

All images: Courtesy BTS J-hope

‘Daydream’ to ‘Arson’: Best songs by BTS’ J-hope to add to your rap playlist

Eshita Srinivas

Eshita is a food, alcohol, travel, and entertainment writer who spends her days thinking of the next big trend to write about. She’s a communication graduate with bylines in Conde Nast Traveller India, GQ India, Deccan Herald, and Girls Buzz. When not at work, you’re likely to find her hunting for a good read or charting out the perfect itinerary for a solo trip across Asia.

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