Editors' Notes So much can change in four years. In 2016, BTS rapper and producer SUGA watched his group make the leap from emerging K-pop stars to global supernova. As one of the group’s most lyrical MCs, and a hip-hop head at heart, he released a confessional mixtape under the alias Agust D (“Agus” = “SUGA” spelled backwards, and “TD” is a shout to his Daegu hometown) in August of that year. An amalgam of trap and moody rap, he tackled topics like depression and the pitfalls of success. But where SUGA ends and Agust D begins, he himself isn’t quite sure. “I think it depends on the perspective, but is it possible to view these separately?” he tells Apple Music. “Regardless of who I am, whether it be SUGA or Agust D, I’ll keep moving towards the essence of life.”
Such a Zen attitude is necessary in 2020, a year when BTS released its most popular album to date (MAP OF THE SOUL : 7) and were about to embark on a victory lap/world tour before COVID-19 shut everything down. But instead of showing off his sourdough-bread-baking skills on IG, SUGA used quarantine to revive his Agust D alias and put out a mixtape follow-up, D-2. It’s a collection of emotions, ideas and sounds he’s absorbed from the past four years. “It’s a documentation of myself as a 28-year-old,” he says. “This is the output of my time in quarantine. In a way, it was a creative silver lining. It was a time during which I was able to learn, again, the meaning of the phrase ‘due to’.”
D-2 shows off his love of hip-hop. The lead single “Daechwita” is a cross-cultural mosh pit of traditional Korean music and trap, highlighted by Agust D’s nimble rhymes and explosive chants. The project’s collaborators include BTS ace RM (“Strange”), K-pop artist NiiHWA (“28”), American R&B singer MAX (“Burn It”) and Kim Jong Wan of Korean rock band NELL (“Dear my friend”). The latter is especially meaningful. “Kim Jong Wan of NELL was my idol when I was young,” he says. Despite everything going on in the world, Agust D, aka SUGA, aka Min Yoon-gi, is specific about the energy he wants to put out into the world. “Serenity,” he says. “In general, I’ve loosened up, and it’s not a bad feeling.”
What do you think?
Strange (feat. RM)
28 (feat. NiiHWA)
Burn It (feat. MAX)
Interlude : Set me free
Dear my friend (feat. Kim Jong Wan)
10 Songs, 32 Minutes
May 22, 2020
℗ 2020 Bighit Entertainment
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