For Yoongi’s birthday, I was going to do a bonus podcast episode all about Yoongi’s best verses/songs (to me). Think about something in the style of the MOTS7 or D-2 reviews but gushier – as the D-2 review did have some criticism that no longer applies. I’m feeling a bit ill and couldn’t do the podcast editing and recording in a timely manner, but I wanted to do this anyway.
So here are 11 of my favorite Yoongi verses, solo songs, or collabs so far in no particular order
(Lyric translations are from Wisha and Doolset and are linked for each song!)
Cypher Pt 2
I love a good diss track and BTS’s Cypher PT.2 Triptych is probably one of the best and most well-aimed weapons in BTS’s early arsenal of clapbacks. While all three verses from the group’s rapline shine like the blade of a knife, Yoongi’s verse is just so…. Delightfully mean. It’s smug, it’s sharp, it’s Yoongi thumbing his nose at rappers who do less but expect to get more because of embarrassing understandings of authenticity in hip hop. It also has a dig at B-free, who I loathe, so that’s nice. This is one of the songs I play when I’m in a fighting mood and Yoongi’s verse, his rough voice… that’s why.
For eighth year of running Stitch’s Media Mix (does this count as the seventh anniversary?) I’ll be giving two very lucky readers/followers a streaming ticket for a single day of a stream for Permission to Dance on Stage! Well Weverse shop doesn’t let you buy things for other people, so you’ll get a paypal, cashapp, or venmo transfer for the cost of the ticket in USD! But same diff!
This is a flash giveaway so we’re going to do this REAL quick. It’s ending Sunday March 6th at Midnight EST and I’ll announce the winners when I wake up that day.
So what do you have to do?
Your BTS Bias
Your favorite B-Side
Your Favorite Music video
Bonus: A favorite piece of BTS content (blog post, podcast quote, YouTube video or tweet) from me!
After all, this is a giveaway to celebrate my very hard, very stressful work here and thankfully, for the most part, ARMY and BTS have been a balm in trying times. I love them a lot and I want to share the love even though I don’t do as much BTS content these days as I work on other things – the concerts coming up will change that! I made really great friends through this fandom, people who challenge me, introduce me to good music, and have kept me going as I engage with other fandoms intent on tearing me down. I want to make this experience possible for them! So… here we are!
You can comment with your Twitter account or your WordPress account if you have one. (Or other social media? I’m not sure what the limitations are for wordpress comments…) I apologize for not opening this up to more people who follow me/my work, but because of harassment from random people, I can’t just open this up to more comments because hate will happen because people suck!
If you are a reader who’s interacted with me in some other way but don’t have a WordPress or Twitter account, send me an email through the contact form or my regular email and your name will be added to the spreadsheet Editor A or BTS Nieceling will run through for giveaway purposes!
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So I didn’t read a lot or consume content outside of pure relaxation or research purposes this month. I have been busy as hell. I keep looking at my emails and guiltily slinking away because I have so much to do and limited time to do it because it’s also birthmonth, the one month where I’m basically absolutely allowed to do nothing at all. (Or so I’m telling myself.) Which means that I basically read fan fiction, watched horror movies with BTS Nieceling… and restarted My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic from the beginning. That’s largely it.
Fans had begun to notice him calling his male friends “hubby,” “bae,” and “lover” on Twitter and Instagram, which rang off alarms with swathes of rap’s homophobic fans. Straight men of all ages still use “pause,” so his terms of affection caught a side-eye from many, as did a photo of him and a hospital-bed-bound male friend feeding each other from double cups, as well as a video of him doing a bumbling, twerk-adjace dance to his “Perk” song. A YouTube commenter on the dancing video noted, “For those who say he isn’t gay… explain this, don’t worry, I have time,” capturing the sentiment of many rap listeners at the time.
When asked about his “bae” comments, he clarified, “It’s the language. It’s nothing stupid and fruity going on. It’s the way we talk, it’s the way we live. Those are my baes, those are my lovers, my hubbies, whatever you want to call them.”
First of all, I love the concept of a “Young Thug Week” anywhere.
Seeing people recently kind of… gank “lil meow meow” for their fandom sexyman – almost always a white man with a background including somewhat horrific violence – has been wild. It’s a meme format that has recently picked up steam across the past few weeks on Tumblr and Twitter and has been used to “jokingly” refer to how people basically woobify a certain class of villains the way we do our cats.
The thing is? It actually has its roots in my primary fandom, BTS.
But you wouldn’t know that from all the people that insist on applying the meme to various Tumblr Sexymen like Loki and Kylo.
Somehow this is both short (only like 5 links this month) and very long (because I had a lot to say about them), but I will return for a BTS + Butter focused one before the end of the month so there will be more links… and more thoughts on them!
If we are asked to determine whether the Austen family was pro-slavery or anti-slavery, then the best answer to that question is both. We can’t take up one half of the facts and ignore the other. We ought to continue to engage directly with these matters as they arise in her writings and to investigate them further in the cataclysmic times in which she wrote. To respond to today’s conversations about Austen and race with dead silence is to join the rest of the Bertram cousins. Scrutinizing the past in these ways ought to prompt a reckoning in fandoms and readerships, as well as better museum labels.
My friend Amanda-Rae Prescott wrote an article about Sanditon that was… not necessarily well received by the Totally Not Racist (But Actually Deeply Racist) Fandom Karens there. I bring that up because the repeat complaints to her article claimed that she was playing the race card, trying to insert political correctness into everything, and that she was actually demanding historical inaccuracy from the future seasons of Sanditon. The thing about historical accuracy though, is that history is written first and foremost by the people who survived it.
Winding down 2020 with a HEFTY list of links to stuff that I found interesting between November’s second collection and now! Enjoy!
Edward Said on Orientalism
I first read Edward Said’s Orientalism in a class I took for my history degree on British cultural artefacts and colonialism. Edward Said’s views on the ways that culture was used as a tool of imperialism have helped me understand the ways in which literature – and later, fandom – is used to shape a dominant cultural narrative (that does shift depending on where the culture is coming from). I’m fascinated by Said’s work and I think it continues to have stellar applications across a wide range of fields because he’s still right!
Even as the number-one pop group in the world, even with their hard work day in and day out, even with tens of millions of adoring fans redefining the concept of “adoring fans” by literally healing the planet in their name, these guys still suffer from impostor syndrome. RM explains, “I’ve heard that there’s this mask complex. Seventy percent of so-called successful people have this, mentally. It’s basically this: There’s this mask on my face. And these people are afraid that someone is going to take off this mask. We have those fears as well. But I said 70 percent, so I think it’s very natural. Sometimes it’s a condition to be successful. Humans are imperfect, and we have these flaws and defects. And one way to deal with all this pressure and weight is to admit the shadows.”
I really freaking love BTS. You may have missed that… somehow. In case you have, this fascinating and well put together Esquire feature serves as a stunning first look at the group – but also works if it’s your fortieth. I chose this segment of the feature because RM’s words about the “mask complex” and while they have the fear that someone will unmask them… They’re going to keep going and admit to their shadows/flaws. Unless you’ve spent the past 2-ish years living under a very large rock (or you don’t follow me on social media, which is… plausible) while I love BTS a unit, I have extra adoration for RMbecause of how he carries himself and the way he expresses his hopes and fears. This was, overall, an incredible feature that gave us tons of brilliant moments that will either spark your interest in BTS or rekindle the embers of your interest!
There are a couple main settings for No More Dream. At points across the video they’re on a school bus. At others, they’re in an alley in front of it. At the start of the video, they get off the school bus into skatepark with a skatepark with a quaint neighborhood theme and then a skatepark with classroom… themes.
One thing I like noting within Music Video Anatomy is when a hip hop video doesn’t go with expected settings. With “No More Dream” you can tell that there’s a goal for there to be some clear hip hop connection but then, as you can see on the Behind the Screen site’s entry on the No More Dream music video, there are a lot of nods to what’s basically alt culture that isn’t related to hip hop in the US? Which is pretty cool.
0:01 So, we’re on episode 8B of Stitch Talks Ish. This is the second part of my virtual concert experience, recapping the second night of BTS’s Map of the Soul ON:E performance. If you were unsure, this is the concert that effectively takes the place of the concert I was supposed to see in May.
0:27 Heartbreaking, isn’t it? We’ve all lost lots of opportunities across this pandemic and not getting to see a concert sucks, but it’s not the worst thing that could have happened, or that even has actually happened, to me and my family— so far.
0:43 But, it was another really great night of paying attention to BTS, and kind of checking out of what was going on in the world around me. So, if you’re ready for another post concert recap, here’s the recording I made right after the concert ended on the 12th. I believe, no, the 11th of October.
0:03 I think this is officially episode eight. The episode looking back at BTS’s releases from Dynamite, their Japanese release Map of the Soul: The Journey, and anything else that I didn’t cover in my last two BTS album related episodes – that’s still in the pipe works. I’m lazy, so – and busy – so it is taking me a little bit longer than I expected to get to that.
0:39 But one thing I have gotten to do in October is watch a BTS concert.
0:46 Like everyone around the world in 2020, all live music entertainment has kind of ground to a halt unless the artist you’re interested in is doing virtual, digital – on tact, I believe is the term many Korean artists are using – performances where it attempts to forge digital intimacy with a global audience.
1:14 So I’ve seen four concerts so far: Wonho’s kind of debut concert, his solo concert after exiting Monsta X-, A.C.E.’s virtual concert which is my second A.C.E. concert, because I saw them live in December 2019, and again two BTS concerts, both nights of the Map of the Soul ON:E concert.
“I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race,” he says, holding my gaze. “Let’s just leave it like that. It makes you angry with a process like that. It makes you much more militant; it changes you. Because you realise, ‘I got given this opportunity but I’m in an industry that wasn’t even ready for me.’ Nobody else in the cast had people saying they were going to boycott the movie because [they were in it]. Nobody else had the uproar and death threats sent to their Instagram DMs and social media, saying, ‘Black this and black that and you shouldn’t be a Stormtrooper.’ Nobody else had that experience. But yet people are surprised that I’m this way. That’s my frustration.”
2020 has been a year where I have consistently been proven correct about things. Case in point? I knew that the Star Wars fandom’s unending racism absolutely was impacting how John moved throughout the world. I knew it was taking a toll on him across his time as Finn. And I mean, he confirmed it. He also talked about how antiblackness in the industry – from the people working around him and from casual oversights – left him essentially wounded. Star Wars should’ve been a positive and affirming nerd experience for John, but it really was not.
If you haven’t checked out my essay series on Antiblackness in the K-pop Industry and its Fandom Spaces, you should! Because it’s a good way to get a grasp on my complicated and always in-flux feelings about Korean pop and hip hop music (and its stars) as well as my feelings about Korean hip hop as an art form.
I went into Yoongi’s sophomore outing as Agust D knowing that I would probably find a ton to love about the album. After all, I literally love Yoongi’s voice. I’m talking about from the literal raspy sound of it and how he delivers his fierce verses to the way that he uses his Voice to unload sharp, intricate, and interesting commentary that often seems to revolve plainly around his past, present, and future as a rapper.
Mind you though, I was primed to like Yoongi’s return to the stage as Agust D.
For one thing, I am and will probably always be, fully fucking feral for every member of BTS’ brilliant rapline. (You may remember this from my review of BTS’ February release Map of the Soul: 7 because I couldn’t shut up about it then.)
During that time, fans of the group would respond to any person with a BTS-related icon that commented on that particular instance of cultural appropriation with comments dismissing their comments because “Don’t you stan BTS”.
Many of the comments were like “But Namjoon [had attempted an afro, had whatever this style is supposed to be, covered that one Shinhwa song, etc] so how can you be critical of anyone else if you like him”.
If this was strictly an attempt at calling out hypocrisy that acknowledged that our faves in this industry are all (largely) similarly problematic when it comes to respecting Black culture(s), maybe I could’ve gotten it. Maybe I could’ve even managed to gloss over it.
But this is not a fandom where that sort of thing happens – most fandoms aren’t.
Back when BTS was a baby group, they were subject to what seems (to me, as a fan coming later on to the group) like a really disproportionate amount of criticism. One theme that got the group loads of criticism?
Their relationship with and attempts at embodying hip-hop culture.
When you watch their m net -hosted series American Hustle Life, the first episode has a selection of headlines revolving around BTS’ debut as a group under BigHit Entertainment (around the 1:05 mark). These headlines, when translated, say things like “BTS challenging real gangster”, “BTS debut, opening up with 90’s gangster”, and “BTS, strengthening the industry with gangster rap”.
As an act, BTs was marketed and developed as a hip-hop idol group.
In the time period that they trained and debuted, a ton of idol groups were also debuting. Exo (2012), Block B (2011), B.A.P (2012), Winner (2014) and Got7 (2014) are just a handful of male idol groups that debuted roughly within the same era as BTS. But as far as I can tell through research, while all idol rappers are met with the same sort of disdain and suspicion from “mainstream” and underground rappers alike –
Some of the documented nonsense that BTS – and more specifically, their rapline – has been hit with by some of these dudes and, most likely, their fans has been… wild.
Case in point?
Rapper B-free’s on-again, off-again beef with BTS following a 2013 KBH Hiphop Radio interview that swiftly went sour.