BTS rapper arrives in history-making headline set as true solo great

J-Hope He is no stranger to making history. it’s something they’ve done many times bts – breaking YouTube records on more than one occasion, being the first Korean act to reach the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, and too many accolades to list here. But tonight (July 31), the rapper, dancer and producer is firmly in the spotlight for becoming the first South Korean artist to headline a main stage at a major event in the US.

Topping the bill on the Bud Light seltzer stage on the final day of Lollapalooza 2022, J-Hope’s monumental set feels like both a triumphant return and an introduction. Their headline performance is the first live solo effort by a BTS member since starting the group’s “second chapter” in June; One that will focus more on individual projects. If Chapter Two is a chance for the seven members to prove themselves as part of the world’s largest group alongside individual cast members, then tonight J-Hope rises to more than a challenge.

The next step he begins by stepping out of a set built to look like Jack in the Box seems symbolic – as he is leaping into new, unknown territory, but explosive and confident rather than timid in the wider world. has been doing so since. Before launching into the recent rock-rap single ‘More’, Pyropyro rises up from the stage and for a moment surveys the huge crowd that has gathered in front of him and sets about proving it. That he is on such a big stage, no matter what kind he has achieved with his core group so far.

as his first solo album ‘Jack in the Box’ Tells the story of its creator, so does its set Tonight. The first half deals primarily with new material and its deep, edgy styling, but also weaves in older tracks that fit a tale of ambition, greed and fame. ‘Hungsang’ and its stardom-focused lyrics air before ‘POP (Piece of Peace)’, which showcases the star’s desire to be a performer as the title suggests.

J-Hope BTS Lollapalooza
J-Hope Credits: Josh Breasted/FilmMagic

As J-Hope progresses through the performance, so does the story. The bright, light funky ‘= (equal sign)’ shares a message of love that sounds all the more beautiful with the crowd singing together. After an arson ‘arson’ – which opens with a single flame on top of Jack in the box on stage – the rapper returns inside the giant toy box, only to be ripped back in a new, white outfit a few minutes later.

What follows are the sunnier songs from his catalogue, starting with a tropical remix of BTS’ Dynamite before moving on to “Daydream,” at which he admits his dreams won’t last forever. Each is paired with a live band which makes the early part of the performance difficult and heavy, and adds more vibrancy to the later part.

Throughout, J-Hope never forgets where he came from and often goes back to his roots. During ‘Base Line’, the screens that line the stage show images of landmarks and streets in Korea, including the Sajik Park Observatory in his hometown of Gwangju. When he BTS “Cypher Pt. 1”, they show him clips of him with six of his bandmates. Their musical roots aren’t forgotten either – when they air ‘Chicken Noodle Soup’ with special guest Becky G At the end of the set, he makes sure to give a shout-out to DJ Webster and Young Bee, the writers of the original song sampled on the track.

No matter if the rapper is in dark or light territory tonight, however, he puts his all into each song. “I put my heart and soul into my music,” he tells the crowd early on, but it’s something that clearly conveys that when you see him perform. When J-Hope embarks on a slow-burning ‘Safety Zone’ rendition, he appears completely lost in the music, every step he takes attuned to the music and the emotion and energy contained therein. . His set also showcases his versatility brilliantly – from screaming lines to rock star rapper Gutturli in ‘What If…’ and ‘More’, to sleek dancers on ‘Dynamite’ and ‘Outro: Ego’ and ‘Hope’. But a dazzling artist with an infectious spirit. World’.

In more than an hour after J-Hope lights up the stage, he speaks briefly with the audience, welcoming ARMYs and non-fans alike and sharing his thoughts (“What the fuck. .. I think I’m going to die,” he announces after an energetic ‘Hope World’). Before saying goodbye, he takes some time to speak in Korean, discussing his reflections on his album and the honor of headlining Lollapalooza.

J-Hope Credit: Michael Hickey / Getty Images

“For myself who was able to overcome this moment,” he begins at one point, referring to the insecurities he felt in the way, “I’m a little shy but I want to tell myself that I really don’t have to. I’m proud of you.” As the opening notes of the final track ‘Future’ begin and the rapper robs the applause for one last time, it’s a sentiment you can’t help but agree with. In Lollapalooza, J-Hope makes history once again, but more than that, he proves exactly what he’s capable of doing—with or without him—true greatness.

J-Hope played:

‘Pandora’s Box’
‘ground line’
‘Cipher Pt 1’
‘POP (Piece of Peace)’
‘= (equal sign)’
‘Blue Side’
‘safety zone’
‘what if…’
“Dynamite (Tropical Remix)”
‘dream Day’
‘Other: Ego’
‘Hope World’
‘Trivia: Just Dance’
‘chicken noodle soup’

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