As the leader of BTS, as a rapper, songwriter, and artist, RM’s influence is widely acknowledged across the globe. But the increasing exposure has also often made him the subject of intense criticism.
In recent years, RM has shown a more unfiltered version of himself to fans, whether it be criticizing the Western world for its lack of perspective on K-Pop, admitting his own ignorance, or breaking the implicit rules of the idol world. But none of these moves have been free of backlash, whether from the K-Pop community or people outside of it.
Though the rapper has often directly addressed his controversies, his recent interview with 032c offered his perspective on the issue as a whole. Regarding managing his position as a global superstar, RM said that he has learned how to juggle “the stress of always being in view [and] the benefits of becoming super famous.” But at the same time, he expressed his regret at the lack of space in the K-Pop industry for artists to be more honest and welcomed the gradual change in this attitude.
I also try to let [stuff] out, and I’m getting better at it but the hardest part is the K-Pop industry’s atmosphere. It’s kind of sad to admit this, but people are so conscious of others, and many see only what they want. But I’ve done this for 10-11 years now. I think it’s the right direction to move, where people like me, with some power, are a bit more honest. It’s a time where more honesty is celebrated.
RM said his way of revealing his honest self, apart from albums or content, is through his Instagram. Since the launch of all the BTS members’ individual accounts on the platform in 2022, the group’s leader has shown increasing comfort in letting fans into his personal space, sharing tidbits of his daily life, even though unrelated to his music or artistic identity. But his Instagram has also brought him controversies, whether for recommending a particular song or showing himself smoking.
But the rapper said, despite the backlash, he considers it an honest effort to communicate with fans on a personal level.
I’m showing a kind of vulnerability. I get attacked because some people react that it’s too much for an idol to show. But for me, it’s a way of saying ‘I love you’ to people.
He added, “How long can I just keep my mouth shut and only talk about good stuff in interviews? If you keep pressing it, it’s bound to burst.”
RM, however, clarified that his increased honesty, be it in interviews or his direct communication with fans, does not mean he was “living a lie for the last ten years.” “It’s just that I lived so intensely that there was little time to consider anything other than what I should do immediately next,” he explained.