Notes on j-hope
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Notes on j-hope

‘HOPE WORLD’: Numbers and Figures

Disclaimer: Created on 12 Oct 2021 and used in original Tumblr article

I love ‘HOPE WORLD’ (HW) so much I needed to put its basic stats together in one infosheet for a good glance like this. The fact that j-hope took three years (2015–2018) to record it shows how much thought and intent went into the whole process. The achievements HW made in its debut year alone prove that this mixtape is of quality and that j-hope has much talent, calibre and potential as an artist in writing, producing, recording and performing. His dance foundation and background make up the theoretical framework of this mixtape that gives it its cohesive structure, making it more of a mini concept album than a mixtape, in my humble opinion.

There are three things about HW the mixtape that are impressive. First, that j-hope had a hand in aspects of its production beyond just writing and performing; he played the keyboard and synthesizer, did vocal and rap arrangements and was also one of its recording engineers (see individual song credits). All this proves the extent of his personal endeavour to learn and be as fully involved as he possibly could in the entire experience of producing this work and how he did not leave it to privilege (since he had an experienced production team with him, he could have easily let them do the groundwork) or even chance.

Next is how the variety and range of genres — hip hop, jazz/bebop, reggae, rap (among others) — transition themselves smoothly within a single song (e.g. ‘P.O.P’, ‘Daydream’, ‘Hope World’) and across the album. HW is not quite a compilation of bits and pieces in isolation of one another because of how methodical it is in its concoction, evident in the smooth mix and transition of genres in the album. I believe this can be attributed to j-hope’s dance experience and expertise. His vast musical repertoire (proven by the personal playlists he has shared) is something not many people seem to speak of and it surprises me that they are surprised by his knowledge, taste, range and aptitude in genre exploration and experimentation. He is a dancer after all; music is thus second-nature to him. HW is therefore that curated collection of music meant for performance and the flow of tempo and beats from one track to another reflects what it would look like if j-hope were to do his HoTS sessions or even his solo concert to this album.

HW proves j-hope’s skillful versatility as an artist and a performer. He is not just jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none versatile either; with HW, he had a solid vision of what he wanted in the album and, what he wanted to put across, as a dancer, rapper and singer through the album. His MVs for ‘Daydream’ and ‘Airplane’ further prove this and though I really wish he had made MVs for the rest of his songs such as ‘P.O.P’ and ‘Hope World’, I understand where he’s coming from with not making them a dance-focused MV; we are asked to really listen to him, not so much watch him only. Having said that, in my opinion, dance-focused MVs for ‘Baseline’ and ‘HANGSANG’ would have been the icing and, a freestyle feature in each, would be the cherry on top because imagine the visual treat the entire album will be as a solo live stage, where we all know, j-hope is stellar and unmatched in.

Lastly, and certainly not the least, HW also shows that j-hope does not write and produce to be listened to only. With HW, he carefully thought about how the songs would sound, look and feel like in performance because songs are meant to be performed to an audience after all. This is why to me, he is reminiscent of the greats such as Freddie Mercury, MJ, David Bowie and Prince in their artistic and creative process when it comes to production and performance, with purposeful and intelligent experimentation of ideas, sounds and concepts but without compromise on quality and overall musical experience.

j-hope does not take his innate talent for granted and with his farsighted vision, unrelenting dedication, industry and tenacity, I truly believe that he will only further refine and finesse his artistry and his works to a highly polished and masterful level, just like the greats. I cannot wait for when that happens; in the meantime, I look forward to his upcoming works, especially his next solo album/mixtape.

‘HOPE WORLD’ by j-hope

Note to self: I will need to revisit this and do a slightly more in-depth analysis of HW with a set criteria perhaps with Lin Manuel Miranda’s list of basics i.e. flow, order and authenticity; it seems like a good point of beginning reference.

This write-up has been slightly edited; the original was first posted on Tumblr: on 10 October 2021



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