BTS‘s RM recently opened up to Hypebeast about his solo album release and how he found his own musical identity.
Part of that journey was defining who he was outside of the group he’s spent the last decade with while maintaining his appreciation for his roots as the group’s leader.
RM released his long-awaited full-length album, Indigo, on December 2. Indigo marked his first official album release after previously recording two mixtapes.
The star-studded album chronicles the end of RM’s twenties, which were a whirlwind of emotional highs and lows.
Through his solo release, he also explores his identity as Kim Namjoon and the leader of one of the biggest musical groups in the world, BTS’s RM.
Releasing this album was an important step in his journey to discovering and establishing his identity as an individual.
[BTS], of course, is a crucial part of my life. But it does not entirely represent who I am as a person, and I had to release this album to stand on my own as an individual.
Although he’s seen massive success as the leader of BTS, he revealed that his decision to be a part of a boy band has, at times, haunted him.
His roots began as an underground rapper and hip-hop artist under the stage name Runch Randa. In his interview with Hypebeast, he reflects on the artists he began his underground career with and his fear that they looked at him differently after he, in his mind, became more like a pop idol and less like a hip-hop artist.
In my journey with BTS, I drifted further and further away from that world and was tormented by the thought that the people that I liked – and the people who enjoyed the same music as I – did not have any love for me. I often wondered whether I made the right decision by joining a boy band. At the time, BTS, was treated like a complete outsider in the Korean hip-hop community. That stressed me out.
Over time, RM has come to terms with the fact that “good music is good music” and named Western artists like Post Malone, Drake, and Lil Uzi Vert as artists who inspired him to think of music in a broader sense with their genre-bending chart-topping releases.
I decided to stop thinking about the road not traveled, and started thinking more on the inevitability of what I’ve become, as well as accepting the best version of myself, which allowed me to create this album where I am completely true to myself.
He further explores his identity with BTS in the lyrics and music video for RM’s song “Wild Flower,” featuring Youjeen.
He previously revealed that the gorgeous traditional Korean fireworks, Nakhwa Nori, were in the video to represent a flashy and quickly disappearing “firework,” which was meant to reflect BTS, while the flower field he stood in represented his desire to live a calm life like a wildflower.
RM clarified that although he compared the group to the “flashy and quickly disappearing firework,” he was not downplaying the group’s success.
I’m a member of BTS – I have no desire to downplay what we do. I’m extremely thankful for everything I gained and experienced as a part of this team. I would not have been able to work on my solo album in this privileged environment and materialize everything that I had planned if it weren’t for my activities with BTS.
RM has also made strides in his journey to define RM and Kim Namjoon, stating that he made the “greedy” decision to try and be both.
After tackling the deeper topics of his youth with Indigo, RM has begun to work on a new project. Learn more about that in the article below!