Up to now 4 years, so much has modified for South Korean star Min Yoon-gi, recognized to thousands and thousands of followers because the idol Suga of Ok-pop group BTS, and to followers of his rap profession because the artist Agust D. In 2016, BTS have been making progress in the direction of superstardom, an upstart septet within the Ok-pop universe who have been simply starting to launch the record-breaking initiatives they’re now recognized for. That was additionally the yr Min launched his first solo mixtape, Agust D, a surprisingly uncooked and trustworthy set of tracks that noticed him going through down demons of psychological well being and embracing his rap bravado over uncooked hip-hop beats.
4 years later, he’s at it once more—this time surprise-releasing his second solo mixtape, D-2, on Could 22 after per week of cryptic teasers shared over social media. It’s an odd time all over the world, and the Ok-pop business and performers worldwide aren’t excluded; proper now, BTS ought to have been in the midst of a victory-lap world tour, reaping the rewards of the February launch of Map of the Soul: 7. (This weekend would have marked their performances at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.) As an alternative, Suga and his six groupmates are all caught in a single place, like many people—for maybe the longest constant stretch of their careers but.
TIME related with Suga forward of the discharge of D-2 to debate the advanced themes and inspirations of his new work, from the reflective lyrics of “Moonlight” to the essential eye of RM-assisted “Unusual.” His solutions, translated into English right here, supply a glimpse of an artist who has at all times been keenly conscious of his presence on the general public stage and reticent to over-explain himself, as an alternative letting the work speak for him. “What’s good is sweet,” the motto he expressed to TIME, is an ethos that has typically pushed his persona: a humble, easy-going star—with loads to say in the event you take the time to hear intently.
He’s not the one BTS member to launch a solo undertaking: RM and J-Hope have additionally shared their unbiased statements. However he’s the one one who adopts an alter ego when he goes it alone. “I can present a extra uncooked facet to myself,” he explains of his Agust D persona. And of his purpose: “It’s extra that I made the music I wished to make, reasonably than fixating on trying one thing new.” Even earlier than the D-2 launch, followers made positive his undertaking was trending on social media. That’s the story of BTS, and Agust D—low-key as he’s—is inevitably swept up in it.
TIME: You’ve now spent seven years as a part of BTS, and your final solo mixtape got here out again in 2016. Time, change, and development are in your thoughts on this mixtape, notably within the first monitor “Moonlight.” As you mirror over the previous few years, what’s modified to you?
MIN: My life is similar. My methods of labor and day-to-day patterns haven’t modified a lot. Maybe my place throughout the music business? From a musician’s perspective, a change might be that I’ve had fairly first rate final result with BTS albums or with different exterior works. Personally, I’ve grow to be extra mature in comparison with 2016.
Songs like “Daechwita” embody Korean traditions each in lyrics and in musical kind, utilizing pansori storytelling and Kkwaenggwari percussion. Why is it vital to you to proceed to incorporate Korean musical influences in your music?
The theme “Daechwita” was already on my thoughts after I first began engaged on this monitor, so I sampled the sound of an actual “Daechwita.” The primary thought I had was that I wished to pattern the music that’s performed in the course of the ceremonial stroll of the King, so naturally, Korean parts ended up being an integral part to the monitor in addition to the music video.
You’ve collaborated with a variety of artists this yr, showing on Halsey’s album, placing out a brand new single with IU, and now bringing in voices like MAX, NiiHWa, Kim Jong-wan and RM in your personal undertaking. What makes a collaboration work efficiently for you?
I’m grateful that everyone had good issues to say about my music, particularly Kim Jong-wan of NELL who informed me he loved listening to my first mixtape from 2016. My work philosophy is “what’s good is sweet,” so I believe I’m fairly good at leveling with every particular person’s requirements.
What’s the distinction between Agust D the solo rapper and Suga the BTS member? What stays the identical?
The distinction is that there’s a lot extra that I can overtly specific and that I can present a extra uncooked facet to myself [with Agust D]. What’s comparable is that each sing of desires and hope.
On “Unusual,” you specific issues about sure features of society, and the loneliness that may come from having a distinct opinion. Do you suppose it’s vital for public figures such as you to problem norms and lift questions on how we stay?
I simply throw the query mark; it’s as much as every particular person to determine. In my private opinion, it’s typically higher for many who have such affect on others to be cautious of loudly voicing their biased views.
Entice, hip-hop, rock, pop and R&B all seem on this mixtape, typically in the identical songs. This mixing of kinds is a signature of BTS, and was current in your first mixtape as nicely. It’s additionally grow to be regular throughout the worldwide pop panorama. As a producer, how have you ever tried to innovate or strive one thing new on this mixtape?
It’s extra that I made the music I wished to make, reasonably than fixating on trying one thing new. I’m not too choosy on style or crossovers between them. What’s good is sweet, and it’s as much as the listeners to evaluate. I simply do what I need to do.
Is there anything you’d like listeners to find out about this undertaking, your expertise creating it, and the way you’re managing with the sudden adjustments of this spring?
It’s good to know that it’s positive when issues go in an unintended course, as a result of you’ll be able to at all times begin over once more. Hold calm, take the next-best choice and transfer ahead.