Did you notice how different BTS‘s J-Hope sounded while rapping on “Blue & Grey”, one of the new tracks from BE? In a new interview, he explained why and how he decided to change his rap style for the group’s new album.
At its core, BTS’s new album is inspired by how life has changed in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the album was announced, the members expressed the deep emotional difficulties they’ve been through over the past year in a speech at the United Nations 75th General Assembly. During that speech, J-Hope revealed that the group decided to put those emotions into their music—which eventually culminated in BE.
We embraced all these emotions and the seven of us began to make music together. This is where the music came from, and this made us honest.
Naturally, the group’s emotions and experiences during the pandemic inspired the lyrics of their new songs, with each member appearing at least once in BE‘s songwriting credits. But on top of that, those emotional changes also affected the music in other ways—such as J-Hope’s rap style.
In a new interview with Weverse Magazine, J-Hope was asked about his rapping on “Blue & Grey” in particular. Co-written by J-Hope, Suga, RM, and V, the acoustic pop ballad is an expression of depression and anxiety through color. J-Hope explained that after making a lot of bright songs in the past, the members decided to focus on more emotional tracks like “Dis-ease” and “Blue & Grey” for BE.
I didn’t want to make an overly cheery song this time. I thought it would be best to do some softer songs about the way I was feeling this whole time.
And, along with changing focus to a softer sound, J-Hope also changed his rap style on “Blue & Grey”. In his verse, ARMYs noticed that J-Hope’s voice sounded completely different than usual, with some describing the tone as “rapping in whispers”. According to J-Hope, that was completely intentional: “I wanted [the rap] to sound like I was talking, actually“.
He explained that the tone and feel of his voice change completely depending on how he vocalizes his rap. Since “Blue & Grey” is a more raw and emotional song than many BTS tracks, it seems J-Hope wanted to create a more intimate feeling by talk-rapping in his verse.
Thankfully, he had his leader beside him to help him figure out the right style for “Blue & Grey”. J-Hope revealed that RM helped him “a ton”, giving him advice as he tried out a range of rap vocalizations.
On moving away from his typical style, J-Hope admitted that trying something new for “Blue & Grey” was refreshing, especially since it was a path he always wanted to try. That, he explained, is what BE is all about to him.
I thought it wouldn’t work but I think it did after all… BE is sort of like the first step down an unfamiliar path, so there were parts that were challenging, and also parts that were a welcome change.
Similarly, J-Hope tried something different in self-composed song “Dis-ease” too. The rapper said that his verse in the song was one of the longest he’s done in a long time, and it sounded “natural” because he “just matched the rhythm of the words as they left [his] mouth“.