BTS‘s Suga is back as Agust D, and he’s bringing a musical mix of old-meets-new to 2020.
On May 22, Agust D released D-2, his first mixtape since 2016, and a new music video that’s full of surprises. Ahead of its release, Suga connected with TIME magazine to talk about his identity as Agust D, the changes he has experienced, and much more.
For his title track “Daechwita”, Agust D blends hard-hitting hip-hop with traditional Korean culture in both the song and its music video.
“Daechwita” implements pansori, a Korean genre of musical storytelling performed by a drummer and a singer. Pansori was originally a form of folk entertainment for the lower class, but in the 19th century it also became popular with the upper class. Kkwaenggwari percussion is also present in “Daechwita”. A kkwaenggwari is a small, brass gong used in traditional Korean folk music.
As a group, BTS has previously shown love for their country’s history through songs like “IDOL” that, like “Daechwita”, combine Korea’s present and past while looking to the future.
When Suga was asked why it’s important to him to feature Korean musical influences in his work, he explained how it played a key role in his title track’s storytelling and composition.
“The theme “Daechwita” was already on my mind when I first started working on this track,” he began. “so I sampled the sound of a real ‘Daechwita.'” Daechwita is a genre of traditional Korean music that consists of military music, usually performed while marching.
“The first thought I had was that I wanted to sample the music that is played during the ceremonial walk of the King,” he continued. “so naturally, Korean elements ended up being an essential component to the track as well as the music video.”
Check out Agust D’s new music video here: