BTS has shaken the music industry in the past few years, building from South Korea success to international phenomenon that can sell out stadiums in a matter of minutes. Which makes the release of “D-2,” a new mixtape by BTS’ Suga — under the name Agust D, his solo moniker — all the more welcome during the great pause of 2020.
Suga tends to keep a low-profile and frequently mentions that if he weren’t in the spotlight, he would still want to pursue music as a producer. “D-2” allows Suga that creative outlet without the pressure that comes with a BTS project.
That goes for its rollout, too. Following a week of teasers on Big Hit Entertainment’s Twitter account, keen fans noticed a profile photo update on Apple Music for Agust D, which prompted #AGUSTD2ISCOMING to climb to the top trending topic on Twitter worldwide.
It’s a welcome return for Agust D. Here are four reasons why.
A surprisingly wild ride
About 20 days prior to the mixtape drop, Suga stated on a V Live that fans should not wait for “Agust D 2” and “that the music will not be released anytime soon.” Fans were then given countdown images as teasers, which is commonplace in the K-Pop world. The artist typically starts from D-X and counts down to D-2, D-1 all the way to D-Day, which would be the day of the release. Rather than releasing his second mixtape on D-Day, it dropped worldwide on D-2 instead as a play on words of “Agust D 2.” In an interview with Billboard, Suga revealed that he came up with this idea himself. “I didn’t want to release it on D-DAY, and also wasn’t satisfied with just ‘Agust D 2.’ So I wanted to release it on D-2 to surprise the people who were waiting for it to drop on D-DAY,” he said.
In addition, there was a profile photo mixup on Apple Music ahead of the mixtape drop. The photo for Agust D’s profile was swapped with an unseen image of Suga that matched the silhouette in the countdown teasers, which is what prompted the worldwide Twitter trend and fan anticipation. The rumors were covered by Korean media, to which Big Hit Entertainment responded, “The official content will be released according to the official schedule. Please understand that we cannot confirm anything.”
Track number 2 on the mixtape, “Daechwita,” includes traditional Korean themes with a sample from a pre-existing daechwita, a genre of traditional Korean military music and is typically used in guard changing ceremony re-enactments. This is not the first time BTS tapped into traditional themes, as “Idol” also features classical Korean instrumentation. Suga noted in an interview with TIME that he wanted to incorporate the theme of “daechwita” — “the music that is played during the ceremonial walk of the King.”
Features from fellow BTS members
About half-way through the mixtape is a track titled “Strange,” which fans immediately noted, features BTS leader RM’s voice. The duo had also collaborated on “Respect” from BTS’ last album, as well as on a track with Juice WRLD titled “All Night.”
And RM is not the only BTS member featured on “D-2.” In the music video for “Daechwita,” fans will recognize BTS members Jin and Jungkook playing sparring villagers fight as Suga walks into them. Considering BTS would have been completing its US tour were it not for the coronavirus, seeing three members of the group together is a welcome surprise.
Collaborations with a variety of artists
Three other artists lend their talents to “D-2” — MAX, NiiHWa, and Kim Jong-wan. MAX is an American artist whose one hit into a budding career with “Lights Down Low.” NiiHWa is a smaller name in South Korea with several albums under his belt, and has collaborated as a writer for other K-pop acts like GOT7. Kim Jong Wan, who Suga cites as someone he admires, is the frontman of Korean alternative rock band Nell and closes out the mixtape with “Dear my friend.”