Rapper, producer, songwriter, dancer and BTS member J-Hope made his official solo debut earlier today with his first studio album, Jack In The Box. The record is led by the single “Arson” and follows the grunge-heavy, Nineties hip-hop pre-release track, “More.”
Similar as its ancestor “More,” “Pyro-crime” inclines towards old-school creation, plunging into coarse Nineties electronica and hip-bounce mixes, weighty with droning bass with an emphasis on percussion as dim synth runs generally through like an alarm behind the scenes. The track fills in as a contemplative number where J-Hope glances back at his worldwide achievement and chooses where to go straightaway: “In the event that anybody asks me/”Right, I lit the fire”/Now I ask myself, pick what/Do I extinguish the fire, or consume considerably more splendid?”
The music video sees J-Hope walking casually through a fiery landscape, surrounded by flaming cars and smoke. At first he seems unaffected by it all as his white jumpsuit remains pristine, but as the sky darkens and the fire goes out, the clip transitions to show that he was on fire as well and his jumpsuit is as scorched as his surroundings. A slightly unsettling zoom into his chest reveals his heart glowing like an ember and the following zoom-out unveils his burnt, but glowing visage – insinuating that the fire that consumed the earth around him originated from him. The flaming word ‘Arson’ surrounds him as he falls to the ground.
Jack In The Box comprises a total of 10 tracks including “Arson” and “More,” the others being “Intro,” “Pandora’s Box,” “Stop,” “=” (Equal Sign), “Music Box: Reflection,” “What If…,” “Safety Zone” and “Future.” The album is darker than anything the rapper has released before and he presents a completely different side of himself as compared to the 2018 mixtape Hope World and 2019’s “Chicken Noodle Soup.” According to a press release, with Jack In The Box, J-Hope aims to show audiences his “own musical personality and vision as an artist” and his “aspirations to break the mold and grow further.”
J-Hope is the first BTS member to officially kick off solo activities after the group announced they would be taking a short break from making music together to focus on individual releases. In addition to dropping his debut studio album, J-Hope will also be headlining Lollapalooza on July 31st where he will likely be performing the entirety of Jack In The Box, Hope World and more.