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Welcome to Fan Chant, a weekly column for K-pop fans, stans, and newbies alike. Each week, I’ll be rolling out interviews, lists, and all kinds of content to keep you in the loop on the latest and greatest from our friends in Seoul and beyond. Also make sure to subscribe to my companion newsletter!
It’s been a week and a half now since j-hope absolutely burned the stage at Lollapalooza 2022, making history as the first South Korean artist to headline a major U.S. festival. According to HYBE, I was one of almost 15 million people who tuned into Hulu’s livestream to catch j-hope’s hour-long set, which is an absolutely bonkers statistic for what turned out to be an absolutely bonkers set.
Later in the week, a report from New York-based tech intelligence firm Maven Road rolled out some detailed data about the weekend, specifically focusing on how j-hope shaped the social conversation and dominated Lollapalooza as a whole. According to their report, the 2022 festival experienced a 344% increase in mentions on Twitter, with 2.2 million of the 3.4 million tweets referencing j-hope’s time on the main stage.
A 344% increase! His power. It’s a shocking number, until I think about his set (which was expertly and thoughtfully recapped by our own Wren Graves, who was on the ground at the festival). I don’t know a lot about math or statistics, but I do know that j-hope played “HANGSANG” live for the very first time, and that it was perfect.
Wren already broke down details of the set that I could happily spend at least a few more weeks reveling in, so let’s refocus. What’s so exciting about that report from Maven Road is that BTS’s Chapter 2 is now officially in full swing, and it’s off to an incredible start thanks to j-hope. This week, when asked about the possibility of an entire solo tour in an interview with Audacy, he shared, “I want to try many different things, but right now, I need to focus on the upcoming BTS concert in October.”
While the septet will be performing all together in October as part of a bid for the South Korean city of Busan to host the 2030 World Expo, we have only just begun this time designed for the members of the group to explore more individual projects alongside team activities. By any metric — now that we have plenty of numbers to choose from — j-hope’s solo festival debut was a smash. Here’s hoping he’s enjoying the post-Lolla glow, and that we all have a second to catch our breath before we begin to ask ourselves: who’s next?
This had me thinking back on my conversation with j-hope, which took place just days before Jack In The Box‘s release and a few weeks prior to Lollapalooza. I wanted to share with you all a column-exclusive look at some of his full answers below that didn’t find their way into the original interview. To make sure you don’t miss updates like this one, subscribe to make sure Fan Chant lands in your inbox each week! Thanks for reading, and long live Hobipalooza.
— Mary Siroky
j-hope: Extended Version
I’m so curious about how it felt for you to work on a full-length project —- obviously you had your mixtape, Hope World, previously -— but then, what it was like to work on a full-length project with your own vision and your own direction, as opposed to what I’m sure you’re used to working on things as a team with BTS.
j-hope: Actually, since our team’s debut, I’ve thought about this topic for a long time. I’ve been inspired by my members, the kind of music they produce, and the kind of visuals they can showcase to the world. I’ve always thought that our members have very peculiar personalities and characters, and that has been a good source of inspiration for me. I always thought about what side of myself and what aspects I could show to the world.
I think that this upcoming album is the culmination of all the things I can show to the world. Honestly, since the beginning of the pandemic, I was able to focus more on my solo project production. I always had a very clear message that I wanted to convey through this album.
Is there anything in particular that’s been inspiring you lately?
j-hope: [in English] People! [via translator] I think by working on this album I got to meet more people and interact with people; I’m not just talking about artists but also staff members and all the people around me as j-hope. As I interact with and communicate with people, I could also hear about the thoughts and feelings they have as they interact with the people around them. Usually, I don’t interact with a lot of people, but producing this album gave me the chance to. Going forward, I would like to collaborate more and communicate more with people to create a synergistic effect.
I feel like this album, Jack in the Box, is a business card that I present to the world. I want to introduce myself and the type of music I do. Going forward, I look forward to collaborating and interacting with other artists and our fans, ARMY, to give me inspiration. I look forward to all the inspiration I’ll get from people.
The Legacy of Girls’ Generation
Girls’ Generation, photo courtesy of SM Entertainment
With their FOREVER 1 comeback in full swing, I took a look at the legacy of Girls’ Generation, the seminal eight–piece girl group. After a five year hiatus, the group is back with new music, which feels like an optimistic beacon for anyone worried about the implications of a long-term hiatus for their faves.
Coexisting as a group of eight amid so much pressure for a few years is a wondrous feat; coming back together fifteen years into their career means something truly special is going on. Read the dive into Girls’ Generation’s story here.
BLACKPINK, In My Area?
BLACKPINK, photo courtesy of artist
It’s true: the ladies of BLACKPINK are finally releasing new music and heading out on tour. While their sophomore album is still waiting in the wings, we assembled a dream setlist based on their discography so far. Find the list here.
Song Rec of the Week:
If you haven’t immersed yourself in DPR IAN’s fantastic new album Moodswings In To Order, I strongly recommend doing so. “Ribbon” has stayed on repeat in this household.