The BTS frontman and rapper speaks about pursuing timelessness and working with Erykah Badu as his debut solo album, “Indigo,” is released.
“Untitled.” Anywhere in the world, you go, there will undoubtedly be that word written on the wall of an art gallery. It’s a title that doesn’t intend to be one and invites the audience to read the art in whatever way they see fit. There are no right or incorrect answers when it comes to any “Untitled” artwork.
RM, the rapper, and frontman of BTS was confused when he first spotted this labeling. “I thought, ‘Why are these guys being so careless? What you see is what you get, you simply paint it and [label it] ‘Untitled,’ right? I was like, “OK! “,” he exclaims with a smile, his final word coming out in a snarl that drips with contempt like wet paint running down a painting.
Since then, however, he has grown to not only comprehend but also relate to those creators’ choices. As a result, he commands: “Gimme no name ’cause I’m untitled” on the gloriously upbeat, forward-looking hip-hop track “Still Life” on his first official solo album “Indigo,” which was released today (December 2).
He says from across a large table in a room high up in the Seoul office of his label, HYBE, “There are a lot of names that signify me, maybe largely RM or BTS or Kim Namjun for my friends. “However, I thought that if I created a piece of art in my 29th year, it should be titled “Untitled” because nothing is set in stone. I recently made an album of myself, and I’m not sure what to do at the moment. I’m still learning about it.
“Indigo” depicts snippets of navigating that shift and uncertainty, from relationships to a life that has developed in front of the public’s attention. He also raps, “The past’s gone, the future’s unclear / Catching my breath on a crossroads,” on the song “Still Life.”
This album, which RM describes as being like a chronicle of his life between 2019 and 2022, seems like that moment where you’re trying to figure out which direction to turn next while looking to the left and right, north and south.
Recently, RM has been considering his options for direction. He was open about feeling unsure of where the seven-piece should go next in BTS’s most recent Festa dinner party video, which was released in June as part of the group’s yearly celebrations honoring the anniversary of their debut. They declared in the same video that for the foreseeable future, they will concentrate more on solo projects.
BTS’s leader now admits, “I attempted to balance the team and myself for this entire decade, but it was incredibly hard because BTS demanded a lot of time, intellect, and heart.”However, despite having this load momentarily lifted, he still found it difficult to know how to proceed: “I feel like I was stuck at this giant stone and I couldn’t go because it was like, “OK, now I’ve got to concentrate on my stuff.”
To reorient his bearings, RM had to travel back to the beginning of his journey—to the little boy who wanted to be a poet and the adolescent who fell in love with hip-hop—and remind himself of why he had started down this route in the first place.