Smooth Like "Butter": How BTS' GRAMMY-Nominated Mega Hit Came To Be

PHOTO: The Chosunilbo JNS / Contributor


Smooth Like "Butter": How BTS' GRAMMY-Nominated Mega Hit Came To Be

"Butter" — the second English-language single from K-pop group BTS — is nominated for Best Pop/Duo/Performance at the 64th GRAMMY Awards. Co-writer Rob Grimaldi discusses creating the record-breaking hit for one of the world's biggest bands.

GRAMMYs/Mar 29, 2022 - 06:44 pm

What does it take to create a hit song? Musicians, songwriters and producers have attempted to answer this question since the inception of the music industry and the beginning of the pop star.

While some songwriters and producers feel hit records can be created through a precise science or formulaic approach, others claim that hit records are created based on feeling. Songwriter, producer and A&R Rob Grimaldi advocates for the latter, using BTS' "Butter" as his evidence. 

"Butter" is the second English-language single from BTS, the smooth, groove-heavy South Korean boy band. After forming in 2010, BTS burst onto the American scene in 2017 with “DNA” — their first song to chart on the Billboard 100. In 2018, the seven-member group became the first Korean band to play a U.S. stadium and, three years later, BTS' "Butter" surpassed 800 million streams on Spotify and spent a record-breaking 10 weeks at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"Butter" highlights the charming, infectious swagger that has become synonymous with the Bangtan septet of Jungkook, Park Ji-min, J-Hope, Jin, RM, Suga and V. It also illustrates the stellar song crafting abilities of Jenna Andrews, Stephen Kirk, Alex Bilowitz, Sebastian Garcia, Ron Perry, RM and Rob Grimaldi, who developed "Butter" over a three-month period. 

Grimaldi, a multi-instrumentalist from Bergen County, NJ, has a knack for mirroring the style of whatever artist he's working with at the moment. Using this gift, Grimaldi has helped create songs for and with stars such as BLACKPINK, Queen Naija, Jimmie, Tim McGraw, Noah Cyrus and JoJo. His BTS success is the result of years of attention to detail.

"Butter gave that feeling that we were trying to capture for BTS," Grimaldi told over Zoom. "It was nostalgic yet fresh; it incorporated what BTS has already done so well and took it to another level."

"Butter" is nominated for Best Pop/Duo/Performance at the 64th GRAMMY Awards. Grimaldi offers insight about creating this No. 1 hit, collaborating with a group of songwriters and producers, and what it was like working with one of the biggest groups in the world. 

This interview has been edited for clarity

When did you first get into producing/songwriting and what was your first chart-hitting single as a songwriter/producer?

Music has been a forever for me. I started playing piano before I could even read or write at about 3 years old. I also began playing drums around the same time, so I think music has always been something that I wanted to pursue. I did classical and jazz training in middle school from a writing perspective. 

Around 12 or 13, I began diving deeper into pop music, and I knew I wanted to start writing. I remember my parents taking me to a studio to cut my first instrumental mini-album around this same time; that was my first look into creating and recording. The first charter that I had was Queen Naija's "Karma" — it was the first record I made with Queen…on Capitol Records, and it went No. 1. 

And from that promising beginning, you eventually worked on BTS' "Butter." You, Jenna Andrews, Stephen Kirk, Alex Bilowitz, Sebastian Garcia and Ron Perry were involved with the songwriting, and  you, Kirk and Perry alone handled the production. How did you all come together to create what would be known as "Butter?"

I think one of the most remarkable aspects of "Butter's" story is the team aspect. And I'm a big team player who believes the team dynamic in music is underrated. For "Butter" specifically, every member of this project had a unique skill set. And that created such a special moment in crafting this song because we were able to shine in our way, using our strengths to come together and build a hit record.

Everybody had a job to do, but we never forced it; we knew what we did well. The experience of being together for three months straight was fantastic personally, but you really get to know each other professionally. And at the end of those "Butter" sessions, we left with a better understanding of each other and what we were capable of when we truly pushed ourselves. 

Did you all know each other before working on "Butter?"

We all had worked together and known each other separately, but we had never worked together on this level of intensity. People's relationships, both personal and professional, were established before, but you have to get after it when you're working on something like this. 

Everyone did such an incredible job of realizing that we have to work together as a squad if we want to make the best piece of art. Collaboration isn't always easy, but it felt natural to get right to work in this case. 

So, walk me through the "Butter" miracle [Laughs]: Could you describe how those studio sessions were? Why did it take three months? And just for clarification, the "Butter" sessions took place during the pandemic, correct?

Yes! And the fun part about it was that a lot of it was over Zoom — even if we were in the same place at times. Whether online or in-person, getting together became routine after a while. We would do our sessions throughout the day and fulfill our calendar, but after dinner, it almost felt like a daily thing of, Okay, it's time to work on 'Butter,' let's get everyone together.

Regarding the three months for the song's creation, the length of design and process depends on the project, and it varies constantly. If you and I were in the studio, some songs would be able to be finished in a day or maybe six to eight hours. At the same time, other songs take three months. "Butter" was a song where everyone was so passionate about getting it right. 

Now, don't get me wrong [laughs], I don't believe there is anything on earth that is perfect. I think that is a word we throw around, but we were all so incredibly motivated and diligent to get this song as close to perfect as possible for BTS. It was extra important for us. We knew what was on the line, and we also knew how talented and fabulous BTS is. The strategy for a record like this took longer than others because we wanted every piece to work correctly. Whether it was working on the track, tweaking a lyric or being competitive through our sonics, these things led to an excellent record, and we took our time to make sure it was ready to go!

What a process! How many drafts of "Butter" did the squad create through this three-month session before you got to the performance that the world fell in love with?

Marc, I can't even tell you the number; I have the session and all of the prints saved on an external hard drive to put in a case somewhere and look at 10 years from now. But there were countless edits both to production and lyrics; we made changes when cutting the demo, cutting the master, and I think there were so many stages of this process that made it magical. 

Looking back at this and saying, "This is where we started and look where we finished," is very rewarding, especially as a producer. I'm sure it's the same feeling as a songwriter, but watching that transformation is incredible. I have to tell you, the moment that we looked at the song from the beginning, we knew it was a hit. But it was in watching the art transform and take different forms was the most satisfying, I would say, about the three-month process. So many versions of the song exist, but I'm glad the one we loved is the one the world loves.

The Beatles have a litany of re-releases with different versions of their songs; maybe we get something like that for BTS' "Butter?" I would not be mad at that!

Hey, if you want to do it, I would be happy to help [Laughs]. 

I know that most producers/songwriters don't go into the studio to create a hit. But you mentioned that you knew this song was a hit from the beginning. Did you or any other songwriters/producers ever verbally say that this song was a hit during its creation?

I think it was immediate for me. As a producer, writer and A&R, you have that one folder on your computer of records that you genuinely believe in, and before this song became "Butter," this was one of those songs for me. It took one listen to understand it and know that there was something exceptional about it, and it's very rare to find those. 

This is [an idea] that the squad and I have had discussions about. When you're writing five songs a week or however many, capturing that undeniable ability and feeling is rare. It makes you even more grateful when you feel that way about something. It pushes you and motivates you to make sure you finish it and get it in the right hands because this one was special. 

This song was a feeling that you caught when you listened to it, but it had the formula to be great from a music perspective. The vibe of the song, the energy, that let me know we were on to something rare. 

"Butter" is a celebration of pop music, as it includes various references to other mega pop stars and chart topping songs. For example, the Michael Jackson and Usher references in the first verse. Was the idea of paying homage an intentional part of "Butter's" song creation, or did that happen more organically?

I think it originally began organically, but the squad had those discussions as the song evolved. We thought about it like, okay, BTS is the most significant group globally, and they're coming off a pretty big hit already. So it wasn't about one-upping; it was about creating something that checked all the boxes. 

The nostalgia and the feeling that merges a lot of our favorites before BTS was an important facet, at least to me, and I know Ron and Stephen on production felt the same about taking influence from records that we loved in the past. 

Even more than influence, though, ["Butter" was informed by] a feeling [of] let's try and create something that makes you feel a certain way, but feels new and fresh. Lyrically, it's the same idea as an Usher song and an MJ song…but when you dive into it, it all points to the same place of outstanding classic records. And that's really what the goal was. 

Do you know how BTS felt when they initially heard the song? You can't speak for them, obviously, but did you get a chance to listen to them speak their piece about "Butter?" And how did that drive you guys from that point forward?

Through the grapevine, I know they were excited when they heard it, but I don't have the specifics to tell you what was said and what wasn't. But I can tell you that the song needed to be immediate for them, which was the goal of lyric, melody and production. The song had great bones. If you just played the music on a piano, you would still be able to understand and sing it back constantly, and there was just a lot to work with. 

So the process of working the song out and making the song what they heard was crucial because they needed something that sounded like a hit as soon as they heard it. So from the beginning to the end, every moment of the song had to give you that feeling. Any sign of weakness on that front, and we may not have gotten the reaction of Wow, this is it. 

There is so much to think about when describing the "making of" in that way. What were some of the best strategies and skills you learned from the other songwriters/producers present for "Butter's" creation?

There was a bunch that I learned, and first and foremost, I want to thank the squad because everyone's antennas were up on this song. The attention to detail throughout this track's creation was incredible. When you share that passion with a group you're working with, everyone holds each other accountable and wants what's best for the song and the group. So it was meaningful to me to share that with the squad of producers/songwriters that I was a part of. 

From an A&R perspective, so much was learned. But, of course, the first thing had to be knowing your talent. In this case, it was studying BTS and getting to know them as a whole. We had to figure out what they stand for and what they believe in, what they say, how they like their records to sound, and what we can do to bring out the best in each member of BTS. Talking about it is not something you discuss when working on a hit record, but in this case, it served us incredibly well. Having that knowledge of who we were writing for dictated the decision-making in the record. 

With the number of details that went into this song, it is genuinely no wonder "Butter" has had the global reach and success it did. Recently, I saw on your Instagram story that "Butter" surpassed 800 million streams on Spotify. With that success still coming in, have any artists come to ask you to replicate the magic that went into BTS' hit song?

The industry is always aware of successful moments. We've seen this in the past with a million other things; when you're going to create for someone and the A&R, producer, songwriter generally says, "I would love a song that sounds like this." "Butter" has become that. 

Yes, I have been asked by many people since — and I know the "Butter" squad has as well — not to recreate "Butter" but a hit that feels like that. As mentioned earlier, these are such rare moments in finding the one. Still, it is satisfying knowing that people are watching this and really appreciate the art, the group and want to find that success in themselves.

"Butter" has become a moment that other people are trying to replicate not only because of the commercial success of the song but the fact because the song has lived this long at the top. BTS will be BTS with or without us; they do that greatness regardless because they're great. But the song's longevity has been proof to me that this worked. 

Have you or the squad contacted BTS since the release of Butter? If so, have you all flirted with the idea of getting the gang back together for another single?

There has been communication with all members of the squad and BTS. Obviously, there is a want to continue the work we did after having so much success with them. However, one of the biggest reasons for wanting to work with them again is how much they learned about them. 

Now moving forward…we understand the formula that worked before, it's certainly not easy recreating that magic. Still, there is so much experience attached there that can move with a clear mind from the beginning. So yeah, lines of communication have definitely been open. Working on "Butter," we got a chance to live in their world creatively, and doing that with BTS was special. 

When you saw that "Butter" had been nominated for a GRAMMY this year, how did that make you feel?

I was so excited for BTS. Obviously, there is a personal side of this where each of us who worked on the record is a big moment, and I would never downplay that. But there was a deep sense of satisfaction for BTS as well; they are making their way into the American market, and the GRAMMYs are a big deal. 

It's in my hopes and prayers that they take this one home because I think they are on the top of the world right now, and winning a GRAMMY would be another huge moment of growth for them. But, my feelings are pretty simple on it: I was elated, and this is the end goal — a chance to be on that stage. 

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Breaking Down Every Solo Act From BTS: Singles, Debut Albums & What's Next For The Septet
BTS (from left): V, Suga, Jin, Jung Kook, RM, Jimin and J-Hope



Breaking Down Every Solo Act From BTS: Singles, Debut Albums & What's Next For The Septet

In 2022, BTS announced that the group would take a break as they enlist in South Korea's mandatory military service. The solo careers of Jin, Suga, j-hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jung Kook have launched a new era for the K-pop superstars.

GRAMMYs/May 10, 2023 - 02:14 pm

No one can deny that South Korean boy group BTS is a phenomenon. Since their debut in 2013, the septet formed by Jin, Suga, j-hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jung Kook have broken barriers and prejudices against Asian artists, reached notable milestones, and brought together one of the world’s most devoted fandoms — known as ARMY.

Their relatable lyrics discuss societal issues and the pressures of growing up, while their intricate storytelling blends art classics, pop culture, and Korean heritage into something entirely new. BTS also offer a wide-range of musical genres — from hip-hop disses like "Mic Drop," to heartfelt ballads like "Spring Day" and feel-good bubblegum pop like "Butter." Regardless of any opinions, it’s impossible not to be in awe of their oeuvre.

Taking all that in consideration, it’s not surprising that BTS have broken numerous album and tour sales records throughout their career — they sold out Wembley Stadium and the Rose Bowl in 2019, becoming the first non-English-speaking, Asian artists to do so, for example. BTS also won a slew of trophies in South Korean and American award shows, including five GRAMMY nominations. For all of their contributions to South Korea’s culture, they also became the youngest recipients of the country’s Order of Cultural Merit in 2018.

BTS is, in some ways, a symbol of something bigger than themselves. An entity capable of uniting people all over the world and transmitting much-needed messages in their music. However, that wouldn’t be possible if the seven humans behind it weren’t as interesting as the whole. Since the beginning, BTS always encouraged its members to develop their own artistry, and all of them released several solos that spotlight their unique talents.

While 2022 brought in the news that BTS would take a break from group activities as they enlist in the South Korean mandatory military service, that meant their solo careers would take on the spotlight, launching in a new era. From Jin’s "The Astronaut" to Jung Kook’s "Dreamers," breaks down all of BTS’s solo releases so far.


Jin isn’t just "Mr. Worldwide Handsome," as he became known for his good looks. The eldest member of BTS is also a competent vocalist, whose soothing voice gave life to three solo songs under the group’s roster: 2016’s "Awake," 2018’s "Epiphany" and 2020’s "Moon."

The Anyang-born singer also contributed to the band’s SoundCloud with the co-written and co-composed tracks "Tonight" and "Abyss." The former, released in 2019, was inspired by the deaths of Jin’s dog and two sugar glider pets. Released in 2020, "Abyss" dealt with his fears and anxieties. "I want to find you and tell you/Today, I want to get to know you even more, yeah," he sings.

In 2021, Jin was chosen to sing "Yours," the main theme of TvN’s drama "Jirisan." However, the real highlight of that year was "Super Tuna," a short song made for kicks and giggles that wemt viral on YouTube and TikTok.

As the eldest of the group, Jin was also the first to enlist in the military in December of 2022. Shortly before that, he graced fans with his official solo debut single, October’s "The Astronaut." Co-written alongside Coldplay, the track placed No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100; Jin performed the song in Buenos Aires, during the British band’s Music of the Spheres World Tour. 


One of BTS’ main songwriters, producers, and rappers, Suga is a prolific artist with a keen view about the world that we live in. Born in the city of Daegu, he began as an underground rapper and initially joined Big Hit Entertainment as a producer. Eventually, Suga became a trainee along with the other members.

Since BTS' debut in 2013, he contributed as a songwriter to the majority of their material, as well as producing and featuring in tracks by other artists such as Halsey’s "Suga’s Interlude," PSY’s "That That," and IU’s "Eight." He released five solo tracks as part of the group’s discography: 2015’s "Intro: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life" and "Intro: Never Mind," 2016’s "First Love," 2018’s "Trivia: Seesaw," and 2019’s "Interlude: Shadow." Each release revealed his talent as a poignant storyteller on the ups and downs of growing up, dealing with fame, and remaining hopeful amid storms.

Concomitantly, he formulated the alter ego Agust D and released two solo mixtapes — 2016’s Agust D and 2020’s D-2. His first studio album under the alias, April’s D-Day, was said to conclude the explosive, evocative trilogy that dealt with themes like anger, vengeance, and pain. Suga is also the first BTS member to headline his own tour, which is happening throughout May and June in the U.S. and Asia.


Rapper j-hope was born in the metropolis of Gwangju, where he became known for his dancing skills. His interest in rapping, though, only came once he moved to Seoul and became a trainee under Big Hit Entertainment, where felt inspired by teammates Suga, RM, and producer Supreme Boi.

J-hope gradually developed his skills and became one of BTS' main songwriters, releasing three solo songs: 2016’s "Intro: Boy Meets Evil" and "Mama" and 2018’s "Trivia 起: Just Dance." Also in 2018, j-hope released his buoyant solo debut mixtape, Hope World. The album peaked at No. 38 on Billboard’s 200 chart, turning him into the highest charting Korean soloist at the time. In 2019, he collaborated with Becky G on the hip hop track "Chicken Noodle Soup."

Following the announcement that BTS would be taking a break from group activities in 2022, j-hope was the first member to begin solo promotions. Jack in the Box, his first solo album, came out on July 15, and just 16 days later he became the first South Korean artist to headline Lollapalooza.

As of April, j-hope is currently enlisted in the military, but he left fans a special single to savor while they wait for his return: March’s "On the Street," featuring rapper J. Cole.


RM has often been the group’s main spokesperson and producer. Through his work, he earned a stellar reputation both inside and outside of South Korea, collaborating with artists such as Fall Out Boy, Lil Nas X, Younha, Tiger JK, and Erykah Badu.

Born in Seoul, RM was a trainee under Big Hit Entertainment for three years before debuting, where he honed his songwriting skills in pre-debut tracks and cuts for other K-pop groups. As part of BTS, the gifted singer and rapper released a few solos: 2013’s "Intro: O!RUL8,2?," 2014’s "Intro: What Am I to You?," 2016’s "Reflection," and 2019’s "Trivia: Love" and "Persona." 

He was also the first member of the group to release a solo mixtape, 2015’s RM, which showcased his distinct flow and honest self-reflections about rage and the contradictions of fame. In 2018 came his introspective, minimalistic second mixtape, Mono. Although just as honest about his emotions as the first one, Mono showcased a more pensive, or rather matured, side of RM. 

In December 2022, he released his much-awaited debut studio album, Indigo. Described as "the last archive of my 20s," RM continues his thoughtful reflections on what it means to make art and to be human, settling himself as one of today’s most intelligent minds.


Jimin always made an impression through his elegant dance moves and distinct falsettos, giving an aesthetic flair to all of BTS’ releases. The Busan-born artist also showcased more of his talents through three solo tracks under the group’s name: 2016’s "Lie," 2017’s "Serendipity" and 2020’s "Filter."

In 2018, he released his first credited solo song, "Promise," followed by "Christmas Love" in 2020. That same year, Jimin collaborated with close friend and singer Ha Sung-woon on "With You," the soundtrack to TvN’s 2022 drama "Our Blues," and in January 2023, he co-wrote and featured on Big Bang member Taeyang’s single, "Vibe."

In March, Jimin released his long-awaited debut EP, Face. Its single, the synth-pop tune "Like Crazy," topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Jimin the highest-charting Korean soloist of all time.


V’s baritone, husky voice is one of BTS’ most prominent elements, giving depth and texture to their songs. Like Suga, he was born in Daegu and dreamed of becoming a singer. After debuting with BTS, he released three solos under their name: 2016’s "Stigma," 2018’s "Singularity" and 2020’s "Inner Child."

On the group’s SoundCloud, he has slowly developed his own tracks. In 2019, he issued the self-composed ballad "Scenery," and later the all-English "Winter Bear." He also contributed to a few drama soundtracks along the years, most notably 2020’s "Sweet Night," off JTBC’s Itaewon Class, and 2021’s "Christmas Tree," off Studio N’s Our Beloved Summer.

Although V has been teasing an official mixtape for some time now, there is still no indication of when it will be released.

Jung Kook

At 25 years old, Jung Kook is the youngest member of BTS. Like Jimin, he was born in the coastal city of Busan, but moved to Seoul as a teenager to pursue his dreams of becoming a singer. In "Begin," his first solo song released on BTS’ 2016 album Wings, he sings about how the group was largely his introduction to life: "When I was 15 years old, I had nothing/The world was too big and I was small."

Later came 2018’s "Euphoria" and 2020’s "My Time," off BTS’ Love Yourself: Answer and Map of the Soul: 7, respectively. Also in 2020, he released "Stay Alive," the main soundtrack to BTS-based webtoon 7Fates: Chakho. He also publishes occasional solo work via Twitter, including the fan-loved "Decalcomanie," or SoundCloud, where he released "My You" and "Still With You" — the platform’s Most-Streamed Pop Song in 2022, despite being released in 2020.

Last year, Jung Kook explored international collaborations. He participated in Charlie Puth’s pop hit "Left and Right," and released "Dreamers" for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, later performing it at the opening ceremony of the event. With that, he became the first South Korean artist to release an official FIFA World Cup song.

While Jung Kook has mentioned that he intends to release a mixtape one day, it’s still a mystery whether it will happen anytime soon. But judging through his output so far, he has proven to be more than ready to let the world get to know his artistic colors in full — just as all his bandmates have.

Celebrate AAPI Month 2023 With A Genre-Spanning Playlist Featuring BLACKPINK, Yaeji, Olivia Rodrigo & More

Celebrate AAPI Month 2023 With A Genre-Spanning Playlist Featuring BLACKPINK, Yaeji, Olivia Rodrigo & More
(L-R, clockwise) Yaeji, Dominic Fike, NIKI, Keshi, beabadoobee, NewJeans

Photos (L-R): Dasom Han, Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images, Gabriel Chiu, Rick Kern/Getty Images, Ethan Miller/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management, Han Myung-Gu/WireImage


Celebrate AAPI Month 2023 With A Genre-Spanning Playlist Featuring BLACKPINK, Yaeji, Olivia Rodrigo & More

Spotlighting artists of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, honors AAPI Heritage Month this May with 44 songs by Japanese Breakfast, NewJeans, Keshi and many more.

GRAMMYs/May 1, 2023 - 04:28 pm

As spring blossoms and May rolls around, AAPI Heritage Month reminds us to recognize and reflect on the talents of Asian American and Pacific Islander artists — across the music industry and beyond.

It's vital to celebrate diversity year-round, and May sparks additional dialogue about reshaping spaces to be more inclusive, especially within industries that are traditionally difficult to break into. Today, the music community views difference not as an obstacle, but an opportunity to celebrate individual and collective identity.

While 2023 marks 60 years since the first Asian American GRAMMY winner, AAPI creatives have been making waves in the music community for centuries. Whether you're raging to Rina Sawayama's enterprising electropop or vibing out with NIKI's soulful indie musings, AAPI artists are continuing to shape contemporary genres like never before.

In celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, compiled an original playlist to honor AAPI musicians' creativity and novelty. Take a listen to the playlist featuring more than 40 trailblazing creatives on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.

5 Takeaways From Suga's New Album, 'D-Day'

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images


5 Takeaways From Suga's New Album, 'D-Day'

Ahead of his international solo tour — a first for any member of BTS — Suga unveils his debut studio album as Agust D. Read on for five takeaways from the intricate, intimate 'D-Day.'

GRAMMYs/Apr 24, 2023 - 02:02 pm

As each member of juggernauts BTS unveil solo projects while the group activities take a backseat, April 21 marks the release of rapper, songwriter, and producer Suga’s first full album, D-Day.

Under the alter-ego Agust D — a combination of the initials of his birthplace, Daegu Town, and "Suga" written backwards — Suga previously released two acclaimed mixtapes, 2016’s Agust D and 2020’s D-2. As Suga, he also produced and featured on a slew of tracks by artists like PSY ("That That") and Halsey ("Suga Interlude"), as well as several solo songs within BTS’ discography ("Trivia: Seesaw" and "Interlude: Shadow," for example).

Following the same pattern of his previous mixtapes, D-Day's 10 tracks display Suga’s acute perceptions about the world and his lethal, self-proclaimed "tongue technology." However, D-Day also shows a more mature side to Agust D’s standard anger, pairing his explosions with gentler sounds and features from bandmate j-hope, late composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, and singers IU and The Rose’s Woosung.

Throughout its multi-layered glory, here are five takeaways from Suga’s debut studio album D-Day.

Suga Reveals More Of Himself 

Although known for never sugarcoating the truth, D-Day sees Suga dive even deeper into his personal struggles and pains. "Really, what is it exactly that’s been restricting us? / Maybe we do it to ourselves," he wonders about the state of the world on the title track "Haegeum," later affirming that we’re all "slaves to YouTube, slaves to flexin’."

In the poignant "Amygdala," on the other hand, he revisits his mother’s heart surgery, an accident he suffered and had to remain silent about, and his father’s liver cancer — all "Those things I never asked for / Those things that are out of my hands," but that ultimately led him to bloom "like a lotus flower now."

It Concludes The Agust D Trilogy

Agust D has always served as Suga’s gateway to express himself without commercial or conceptual constraints, veering away from his output in BTS and other solo productions. But like any good character arc, a moment of conclusion must eventually come. 

D-Day is the last installment of the Agust D trilogy, wrapping up a journey of highs and lows through the human experience. If and when we’ll meet Agust D again is unknown, but his legacy will remain timeless.

Throwbacks & Wordplay Form An Intricate Puzzle

As with any BTS-related content, an encyclopedia is necessary to catch all the references, symbolisms, and double entendres spread along their work. D-Day is no different, and deserves to be explored in detail, and assembled together like a puzzle.

The music video for "Haegeum," for example, parallels the music video for his 2020 single "Daechwita," as well as referencing movies like Scarface (1983) and Oldboy (2003).

In the album, "People Pt. 2 (feat. IU)" works as the sequel to fan-favorite "People," out of his second mixtape D-2. "Interlude : Dawn" alludes to the previous interludes in his mixtapes, but also to his 2020 BTS contribution "Interlude : Shadow."  "SDL" brings over a nod to one of BTS’ biggest hits, "Spring Day," while "Life Goes On" presents his solo take on the homonym BTS song. 

Collabs Deepen The Soundscape

D-Day is considerably mellow when compared to Agust D and D-2, and part of that aura is due to Suga’s invitees for this album. IU’s airy tone adds lightness to the loneliness of "People Pt. 2," while The Rose’s Woosung, in his characteristic husky tone, makes the chorus of "Snooze" feel warm like a blanket. The soothing atmosphere is aided by Ryuichi Sakamoto’s piano lines, which add a centering, regal element to the track.

But that doesn’t mean Agust D forgot his origins — in the fiery diss-track "HUH?! (feat. j-hope)", he duets with his bandmate and recalls some early-BTS moments, passion and rage equally split through their bars. 

Expectations Are Even Higher For His First Solo Tour

It’s the first time a BTS member will headline his own international solo tour, making this a significant event on its own, but D-Day also served to raise expectations even higher. 

From the namesake opener to the hopeful closer "Life Goes On," the album reminds the audience why Suga is a master of his craft — never obvious, always incisive — and provides an exploration through his growth that deserves to be celebrated live.

Suga kicks off his first solo tour in Belmont Park, New York on April 26. Following a string of American dates, he will also play shows in Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and South Korea. 

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Everything We Know About Suga's Debut Solo Album, 'D-Day'
Suga attends a screening of 'The Devil's Deal' in Seoul, South Korea in February 2023.

Photo: Han Myung-Gu/WireImage


Everything We Know About Suga's Debut Solo Album, 'D-Day'

Continuing BTS' solo endeavors in the group's second chapter, Suga takes the wheel with the announcement of his debut studio album under his alias Agust D. Here's all the details we know about 'D-Day.'

GRAMMYs/Apr 6, 2023 - 08:11 pm

It's almost hard to believe that it has already been almost 10 months since BTS rocked the world with the announcement of their hiatus. But that's mostly because the K-pop powerhouses haven't gone completely quiet — and now, it's Suga's turn on the mic.

As BTS' label, Big Hit Music, announced on April 21, Suga will release his first solo album, D-Day, on April 21. The album will arrive just weeks after his BTS bandmate Jimin released his debut EP, and follows solo projects and performances from j-hope, Jung Kook, Jin and RM

Although D-Day marks the first studio album from Suga, his solo discography sees two mixtapes, a feature on MAX's 2020 hit "Blueberry Eyes," and an interlude of Halsey's double-platinum album Manic. Suga has shown his solo chops within BTS, too, taking lead on "Intro: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life," "First Love," "Trivia: Seesaw," and "Interlude: Shadow."

Fans will get a first taste of what Suga is cooking up with his first studio LP with "People Pt. 2" on April 7. As fans get ready for the latest BTS solo venture, has compiled a list of everything we know about Suga's album D-Day.

D-Day Arrives April 21

Big Hit Music revealed on April 2 that Suga's debut studio album will be released on April 21. In an announcement post on BTS' Weverse page, D-Day was described as "an intimate portrayal of his life as an artist."

Agust D Makes A Comeback

Working on endeavors outside BTS, Suga commonly uses the alias "Agust D," which was used for his self-titled debut and second mixtape, D-2. The moniker is an homage to Suga's stage name and his hometown of Daegu, South Korea — also known as "D-Town." Spelled backward, Agust D becomes "D-T Suga." 

Unfortunately for fans of Suga's alter ego, D-Day will be the closing chapter of the rapper's trilogy as Agust D, as Big Hit declared in the Weverse album announcement.

Suga Took Part In Both Songwriting And Producing

Suga has long been one of the masterminds behind BTS' record-breaking songs, first songwriting and producing on the group's first studio album, Dark & Wild. In 2017, Suga expanded his skills outside of BTS, working with Korean vocalist Suran on her track "Wine." In the years since, he has co-written and produced tracks with Juice WRLD, and Psy, as well as his interlude with Halsey and the BTS collab with Coldplay, "My Universe."

With such extensive and impressive credits under his belt, it was no surprise when Big Hit confirmed Suga participated in the songwriting and producing for D-Day.

He Reunites With A Previous Collaborator On The Pre-Release Single

Though the full tracklist for D-Day has yet to surface, Big Hit has revealed the first song from Suga's debut is "People Pt. 2" featuring K-pop superstar IU. The track is the second collaboration between the pair, who initially worked together in 2020 on IU's single, "Eight."

"People Pt. 2," out April 7, is a continuation of Suga's "People" from his 2020 mixtape, D-2, that discusses the "endless relationships between people and the emotions felt in an Agust D way."

Suga Will Premiere The Music On A Solo Tour

Following the release of D-Day, Suga will embark on an international solo tour beginning April 26 in Belmont Park, New York, credited as both Suga and Agust D. Beyond the United States, Suga will also hit Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, and Korea.

The tour marks a first within BTS: Though bandmates j-hope, Jung Kook, and Jin performed at Lollapalooza, FIFA World Cup Qatar, and Coldplay's Music of Spheres stop in Argentina, respectively, Suga is the first BTS member to complete a headlining solo tour.

Disney+ Has Plans To Release A Documentary On Suga's Musical Journey

The day before "People Pt. 2" arrived, Disney+ dropped a trailer for a documentary special, SUGA: Road to D-Day, which will hit the streaming platform the same day the album is released. 

According to a press statement, the documentary follows Suga's musical journey across Korea, Japan, and the United States "in search of inspiration in the form of new sounds and experiences." The film also offers a behind-the-scenes look at Suga's lifestyle as a global phenom on tour as a member of one of the most successful musical groups in history.

D-Day Is Available For Pre-Order Now

If you want to be among the first to hear D-Day on April 21, you can pre-order the album now on the BTS Weverse Shop.

Customers who pre-order the album before April 20 will receive one of the special gifts listed on the Weverse website and will be entered into a raffle for an autographed poster or a video call with Suga.

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