Released alongside a comeback trailer video that dropped as it hit midnight in Seoul on Jan. 10 (Jan. 9 in the U.S.), “Interlude: Shadow” is an evocative, yet brash track from Suga. The star ruminates on fame, what he wants to be, and how he struggles to be himself while simultaneously seeking stardom, with the highs and lows of each growing alongside one another.
“People say, ‘there’s splendor in that bright light’/ But my growing shadow swallows me and becomes a monster,” he raps, as the hands of individuals covered in black, seemingly a metaphor both for his internal darkness as well as a stand-in for the audience that seeks more from a star in the spotlight.
Throughout the video, this dichotomy between the relationship of how fame and audiences watching him affects his idea of self is put on display throughout the film and song, emphasized by things such as a dramatic tonal shift midway, and highlighted in the final moments of the trailer by the constant clicking and flashes of phone cameras around him as Suga disappears.
Suga’s “Interlude: Shadow” is a characteristic release from the artist, whose 2016 mixtape Agust D similarly focused on the rapper-songwriter’s personal struggles and vulnerability. It follows RM’s solo “Intro: Persona,” which preceded the release of last year’s Billboard 200 chart-topper Map of the Soul: Persona. Just as that song drew on BTS’ 2014 album Skool Luv Affair, the name of the act’s 2013 O!RUL8,2? flashed on screen during the new release after the intro of that album appears to be referenced by the new song, hinting to how the upcoming album will parallel that earlier release from the South Korean septet.
“Shadow” kicks off a series of releases leading up to BTS’ Map of the Soul: 7 on Feb. 21, which will be preceded by the arrival of the first single from the album on Jan. 17.
Watch the “Interlude: Shadow” comeback trailer below.