With BTS‘ J-Hope teaming up with J. Cole for “on the street,” two of hip-hop’s most uplifting and earnest storytellers today come together for a meaningful hip-hop collaboration.
After BIGHIT MUSIC shared the news on Feb. 26 that J-Hope was beginning his South Korean military enlistment process, the label soon followed up that a new solo single from the rapper would drop on Mar. 3. While fans received official “on the street” photos that saw J-Hope hanging in New York City, the major reveal for came 24 hours ahead of its release when the official teaser video revealed the song’s special guest in J. Cole.
True to both artists’ penchant for invigorating and socially conscious messages, “on the street” is brimming with gratitude A lo-fi beat with elements of boom-bap mixed with a catchy whistle hook (with the whistling provided by J-Hope himself, according to a press release), the song’s warm energy is undeniable as the K-pop star opens the track, speaking to fans saying, “Even my walk was made of your love and your faith.”
J. Cole takes over for the second verse with a candid, reflective section looking back with appreciation on his journey: “All hail the mighty survivor of hell…/ Fought tooth and a nail/ Just to prevail mongst it’s ruthless.” Cole also contemplates the future of his career, spitting, “As the moon jumps over the cow/ I contemplate if I should wait to hand over the crown/ And stick around for a bit longer/ I got a strange type of hunger,” no doubt rousing fans into analyzing each lyric.
J-Hope closes out the track by repeating the anthemic chorus but not before adding a shoutout to “Cole World.”
“on the street” is particularly meaningful to J-Hope. While BTS has long shared their admiration for the North Carolina-raised rapper—revealing way back in 2013 their reinterpreted take on J. Cole’s “Born Sinner” with “Born Singer,” which was only officially released last year on Proof—J-Hope has always shared how Cole is one of his ultimate favorite singers; take a look at his playlist of favorite songs with two Cole tracks.
The official music video saw both stars collaborating and shooting the video in New York City.
“on the street” is J-Hope’s first new solo song since hopping on “Rush Hour” with Korean R&B singer “Crush” (at No. 1 hit on the World Digital Song Sales chart) last fall and follows up his full-length Jack in the Box album from July. Meanwhile, J. Cole dropped a surprise song a few weeks back on Jan. 18 with “Procrastination (Broke),” acting as a thank you to producer Bvtman and “every producer out there cooking up and sharing their work with the world.” Cole’s last LP was May 2021’s The Off-Season from (which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200).