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20 songs from BTS Suga’s mixtapes

We delve into BTS rapper’s Agust D persona, through which he relays his most candid, personal, raw stories

Suga (Big Hit Entertainment)
Suga (Big Hit Entertainment)

1. Moonlight


Suga chronicles his music career from working in a small music studio located in his hometown of Daegu, releasing his first mixtape album to yielding success as BTS in the self-reflective track. The only thing that hasn’t changed throughout the roller coaster of years is the bright moonlight up in the sky.



2. Daechwita

Incorporating Korean military traditional instruments and hip-hop sounds, this swaggering song identifies the rapper as a domineering king who comes from the lower class and revels in fame and wealth.

“I’m a king, I’m a boss,” declares Suga sitting atop a throne. Suga said he was inspired by the beat of Daechwita, the music played during the military march, which led him to shoot the music video at Korean historical filming sites.




3. What Do You Think


Showing a more aggressive side to the rapper, Suga claps back at his haters in crude language and asks them what they think about his hard-won success. Then the musician shrugs it off and walks away, saying he really does not care.



4. Strange

Suga teamed up with his dearest bandmate RM in this critical track that evokes BTS’ early underdog nature.

Addressing all kinds of societal woes, from polarization to the vices of capitalism, the two rappers raise questions as to the ironies and contradictions in this crazy world covered in “dust” and “lust.” The song ends in a rather depressive rumination, “If there is a god, let me know if life is happiness.”



5. 28

The 28-year-old singer ponders aging and adulthood in this appropriately titled track. Featuring Korean singer-songwriter NiiHWA, the song shows that the global superstar, who seems to have achieved everything, also wonders whether he has grown into the adult he used to dream to be.



6. Burn It

This hauntingly beautiful track blends Suga’s passionate rapping and pop singer MAX’s lush vocals in the chorus.

Spooky and eerie, it talks about wanting to burn down one’s past regrets and dark shadows until they become ashes. “I see ashes falling out your window/There’s someone in the mirror that you don’t know/So burn it till it’s all gone,” they sing.



7. People

Suga offers some deep insight into human nature in this much toned-down track. He calmly addresses that there’s no right or wrong answers to a multifaceted life, as one person’s ordinary could be another’s extraordinary. The song was originally written for bandmate Jimin’s solo effort about four years ago.



8. Honsool

Referring to the term for “drinking alone” in Korean, the world superstar candidly opens up about his own fears and burdens when he strips away the glitz.

Confessing that trophies and stadiums sometimes scare him, Suga hopes to drink away the loneliness. The depressing instruments and slowed-down mechanical vocal sample sound like a drunken state of mind.



9. Set Me Free

Suga serves as an amazing vocalist in this slow-tempo dreamy song that is devoid of any rapping. This soothing song talks about one’s hopes to be set free from whirlwind of emotions that are most of them time uncontrollable with one’s will.



10. Dear My Friend

This emotional song sounds like an unsent letter to Suga’s long-lost friend.

He tells the hurtful story of how the two shared the same dreams together before their debut, but he had to see his friend stray as he fell down to a dark place and went to jail. Although they are out of touch, Suga still misses him even years later. Kim Jong-wan of Nell lent his soulful vocals in the chorus.



11. Intro: DT sugA

The very first track from his first 2016 mixtape, the short intro track clearly spells out his name as if debuting Suga’s new identity as Agust D and sets the tone for the album.



12. Agust D

Overflowing with passion and confidence, the spitfire rapping of Agust D truly shines in this intense track. The rapper fires back at his haters who downgrade him for being an idol rapper back in the days. After all these years, it might also be interesting to hear him ambitiously stating Billboard as the group’s next goal in the song.





13. Give it to Me


Agust D makes use of some offbeat and quirky sounds to deliver his swaggering message. He talks about his strong dedication to success and his confidence in it, saying, “give it to me, whatever that is.”



14. Skit

This short audio clip is a special shoutout to his older brother who is known to have supported his music career since early days. It captures the conversation between the Min brothers in a restaurant, where Suga says that he could have made his first mixtape since his brother believed in him.



15. 724148

Perhaps the most autobiographical track from Agust D, the track features lyrics in chronological order.

Starting from the time when he decides to make music at the age of 13, the story tells about leaving his hometown, auditions for Big Hit Entertainment in Seoul and struggles to obtain success working day and night. The numerical title refers to the bus numbers he used to ride: No. 724 running through Daegu and No. 148 in Seoul.



16. 140503 at dawn

Reminiscing on another dawn on May 3, 2014 in his studio, the song starts with a groan, probably from Suga being tired from working late and with hectic schedule.

Then he opens up about his abated ability to interact with people, which has led him to develop social phobia. Still, he pleads, “Don’t abandon me, I’m an island in this wide ocean.”



17. The Last

This powerful brain-freezing track may give one mixed feelings, as it narrates the darkest moments of the BTS rapper, such as battling social phobia, visiting a psychiatrist for depression and even calling himself a monster. Toward the end, Suga’s rap almost sounds like a scream, as if trying to pour out his pain.



18. Tony Montana (featuring Yankie)

Suga likens his situation and himself to Tony Montana from 1983 film “Scarface.” Like the fictional character, Suga pursues greater wealth and success as time goes on and confronts his haters who wish to see him to fail.

But if there’s a difference between them, Suga hopes not to be consumed by money, putting his fans and family as his top priorities.



19. Interlude: Dream, Reality

This piano-led track solely consists of six lyrics repeated in one word, “Dream.” As if casting a spell, Suga calmly spits out the magic word on top of the dreamy chord, making listens wonder about their own dreams.



20. So Far Away

Agust D elaborates on his thoughts in a dream in this emotional track featuring vocalist Suran. The lyricist writes about pain a lot, but he doesn’t forget to scoop some hope into the song, telling people that their dreams, which may seem so far away, will bloom at the end of their trials.



By Hong Dam-young (lotus@heraldcorp.com)
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