Mixtape Review: J-Hope's "Hope World"

It's been weeks now since BTS's J-Hope released his mixtape, Hope World, on March 1, 2018. On the same day, the YouTube channel ibighit also released the first music video for his single, "Daydream." Both J-Hope's album and music video were met with positive reception and millions of streams, purchases, and views online. As of writing, the "Daydream" music video has 41,463,524 views on YouTube, and Hope World has peaked at number 38 on the Billboard 200. Even John Cena has admitted that he is a J-Hope fan.

Of course, the release of Hope World was on my mind for weeks before its debut. It was rumored among BTS fans long before the release date was announced because the other members from BTS's rap line had already released their own mixtapes. It was time for J-Hope to formally release his own solo rap mixtape.

Considering the short tracklist, it's hard to choose just a few favorite songs. Instead, I'm going to rank the tracks from the ones I like the most to songs that I don't necessarily consider to be my favorites, but still enjoy.

  1. "Daydream" - This was the first track I heard from Hope World. The music video is colorful and lively. J-Hope expresses many sides of himself in it, appearing to genuinely enjoy filming the video. The song itself is upbeat and catchy. It's a feel-good song with relatable lyrics, while the video reminds viewers what J-Hope's all about: being energetic and hopeful.
  2. "Airplane" - When I listened through the album the first time, this is one of the few that immediately stuck with me. "Airplane" has a relaxing vibe. It's a song you can listen to while cruising around a city or while cleaning your home. The song is about J-Hope dreaming of making it as an artist and about how his haters can't reach him in his airplane now that he has made it.
  3. "Blue Side (Outro)" - When I first heard this song, I wasn't in the best of moods. I was sad and wanted to vent, and this song offered some sort of comfort during this time. The song seems sad, but I don't know the full story behind its lyrics. J-Hope has said that he mixed his interests in "the blue sky and breeze" when writing "Blue Side," and that it reminds him of good memories.
  4. "항상 (HANGSANG)" - J-Hope raps about his time with his fellow BTS members and about their interactions with other celebrities. The beat is easy to enjoy and it's cool to hear what J-Hope thinks about his stardom. It also features Supreme Boi, a rapper and producer whom J-Hope has worked with in the past.
  5. "P.O.P (Piece of Peace) pt. 1" - This is another chill-sounding song from Hope World. The chorus is catchy. The lyrics are wonderful and genuine considering J-Hope's passion for making people happy. The fact that "pt. 1" is tacked on at the end is a reminder to everyone that J-Hope wants to continue discussing peace using music in the future. I just love songs with good messages from passionate artists.
  6. "Hope World" - Another song about who J-Hope is as a person and an artist, "Hope World" is a great introduction for listeners who want to get to know J-Hope. It reminds me a lot of "Daydream," the other upbeat and honest Hope World track. I think it's a great opener for the mixtape overall.
  7. "Base Line" - This track is more rap-heavy than tracks like "Hope World" and "Airplane." It's short, but its beat is enticing and the lyrics explain the "base line" of J-Hope's success. He raps about his success as a dancer and that he's worked harder than most to make his dreams come true.

Initially, after I heard "Daydream," I thought that Hope World would be very '90s-sounding, like Bruno Mars's "Finesse." I knew that J-Hope was a rapper, of course, so I wasn't necessarily surprised by songs like "Base Line" and "Hangsang." Instead, I was surprised by the diversity of sound present on Hope World. He's an honest lyricist who hasn't been afraid to discuss his background or afraid to praise the other BTS members with whom he shares some of his success. While J-Hope is indeed a member of K-pop group BTS, I think that even non-K-pop fans can enjoy the styles behind "Base Line" and "Hangsang."

Now ARMYs just have to wait for RM's rumored upcoming second mixtape . . .