BTS' RM, Suga & J-Hope Release Diss Track 'Ddaeng': Listen

BTS rappers RM, Suga and J-Hope served up a rambunctious hip-hop track today as part of the lead up to their fifth-anniversary on June 13. “Ddaeng” was co-produced by Suga and is a playful diss addressing how far the group has come despite the animosity its faced.    

Built upon a trap beat propelled by eastern instrumentals, the trio rap about how BTS has unequivocally come out on top of the K-pop industry despite naysayers who put them down in the past. Early on in their career, the group's rappers frequently faced criticism from within South Korea's hip-hop scene for being run-of-the-mill idol rappers, a term they have since reclaimed (see the lyrics of Suga's "The Last").

"Billboard is all thanks to you, bae/No else is above us," drawls Suga.  

“Ddaeng” is one of several tracks released as part of BTS’ 2018 Festa celebration. It follows remixes of singles and a cover song performed by Jin.

Like many of BTS’ songs, the swaggering “Ddaeng” is filled with double-entendres, including the title itself. An onomatopoeic word that emulates the sound of a “bell” that is comparable to “ding” in English, “ddaeng” often is used to represent a wrong answer. It also refers to a move in the Korean card game Go-Stop, also known as Hwatu, and is slang for good luck or fortune that occurs by chance.

Each of the meanings appear in the song’s lyrics, with the trio’s subtle, playful jabs referencing school bells, the card game (“One-eight, one-three, three-eight") and, of course, BTS’ immense good fortune to be able to have climbed the ranks of a highly competitive industry. 

The reoccurring “bang” also may refer to the group’s Korean name Bangtan Sonyeondan, literally “bulletproof boy scouts.”

Fans have been quick to try and explore the meaning behind “Ddaeng.” Here are a few interpretations: