The first BTS project of 2018 is here, and it’s a festive mixtape from the Korean act’s ball of energy J-Hope.
Laid-back and breezy for its first half and harder-hitting on the later tracks, J-Hope’s Hope World was released Thursday (March 1, March 2 in Korea) along with a music video for the ’90s-tinged “Daydream.” The mixtape is the rapper and dancer’s (born Jung Ho-seok) first album and the third mixtape released by a BTS member, along with RM’s eponymous tape from 2015 and Suga’s Agust D from 2016.
The seven songs of Hope World offer a look into the BTS member’s artistry and personality, with the groovy intro track, also called “Hope World,” declaring it an expression of his hope and career-propelling determination by comparing the mixtape to a novel relaying J-Hope’s life. “My name is my life/ hopeful vibe,” he opens up the melodic retro-leaning track before later comparing his World to Jules Verne’s classic sci-fi explorative 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
The literary references appear again in the lead song “Daydream,” during which the 24-year-old imagines a fantasy similar to that of Alice falling down the rabbit hole and a magical trip to the Harry Potter wizarding school Hogwarts. That ’90s-vibing song, full of smooth, lazy vocals and a bouncing bass line, addresses the star’s titular daydreams as he lives a life that’s “half and half” between that of a public figure and someone wanting to have privacy. Combined with a brightly hued music video filled with ’70s-inspired graphics and quirky animations, “Daydream” is a fun song as bright as J-Hope’s attitude while laying out some truths about the realities of his life.
Along with “Hope World” and “Daydream, the mixtape’s first half also contains the chill “P.O.P,” an ambient track driven by steel drums and a clapping beat through which J-Hope expresses his desire to offer listeners, through his music, a “Piece of Peace” that will ease the hardships of their lives.
Following “P.O.P,” the mixtape takes a deep dive into trap and offers up “Base Line” and “Hangsang (Always).” The gritty, minimalist vibe of the former precedes the second track, which features BTS frequent collaborator Supreme Boi and is about how J-Hope and the rest of BTS, thanks to their fans, have risen to the top.
J-Hope’s mixtape rounds things out with the staid beats of “Airplane,” a mellow reflection about how flying around the world as a successful artist reminds him of his earliest dreams, and “Blue Side,” the atmospheric, twinkling outro track.
Upon its release, fans trended several hashtags relating to Hope World, including references to its nickname “Hixtape,” worldwide, and led it to topping iTunes charts around the globe.
Listen to Hope World here: