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Hope on the Street Is BTS' j-hope's Ode to His First Love: Dance

The rapper and choreographer chronicles a rekindled passion for dance via a six-part docu series and accompanying mini album

“I used to love dancing so much, but I had forgotten all about it.” 


This quiet, sobering admission in the first episode of the Hope on the Street docuseries sets the tone for Jung Hoseok’s—aka j-hope of BTS—quest in furthering his craft as a performer. It’s odd to hear such a thing from an artist, especially one who’s been dominating the stage with his bold, fearless moves and strong presence since Bangtan Sonyeondan’s debut. But when you’ve been choreographing and dancing because your job demands it for years and years on end, you can lose a bit of who you are in the whirlwind of fame. This is the dilemma that j-hope finds himself facing throughout this documentary, and we join him on his journey as he travels around to refine and learn new techniques in dance, hoping to get that spark back.




j-hope has always placed immense value in staying true to his roots. Early works under the BTS banner such as “Mama,” “Ma City,” and “ Outro: Ego” are tributes to his mother, his hometown of Gwangju, and the dichotomy between his idol persona and birth identity, respectively. As an artist, his roots are in dance. Before he joined BTS, j-hope took six years of dancing lessons at Gwangju Music Academy and was part of an underground dance group called Neuron, which plays a prominent role in the documentary. Well-known among his industry peers for his expertise in hip-hop and street dance, he has consistently received praise for his ability to stay in control while making every move seem effortless. Hope on the Street shows us a Jung Hoseok who is on a quest to learn, exploring Gwangju, Seoul, Osaka, Paris, and New York, connecting with fellow dancers, each one specializing in a particular style. Along for the ride is World Fame Us dance crew member popping legend Boogaloo Kin, his former instructor and longtime mentor.


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And because this is j-hope, where there’s dance, there’s also music. The docuseries is accompanied by a special album with six tracks, each one a testament to just how largely the art of dance looms over Hoseok’s life. It’s not a groundbreaking release, but that’s not the artist’s goal this time around. While not exactly an antithesis to its predecessor, Jack in the Box, which was unapologetically j-hope with its potent hip-hop flavor, Hope on the Street Vol. 1 is a thoughtful, stripped down record. It adds a layer of authenticity and vulnerability to j-hope’s artistry, giving us a better glimpse of who Jung Hoseok is behind his ebullient firecracker stage persona. There’s a story to it, and it is deeply personal.

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The album opens with a J.Cole-less version of “on the street,” followed by the funk-inspired “i wonder…”, a collaboration with fellow BTS member Jungkook. Fittingly enough, it’s a song the rapper wrote for their fanbase ARMY, and having Jungkook with him gives it a sincerer feel, especially now that all seven boys are serving in the military. Huh Yunjin of LE SSERAFIM lends her vocals to the house track “i don’t know,” while Nile Rodgers and Benny Blanco join in on the electro funk beats of “lock / unlock.” The high point is, of course, the title song, which closes the album. “NEURON” is pure old school hip-hip, and the cleverly repeated runs of “NEURON, NEW RUN” signify j-hope connecting his past with his future. Dynamic Duo’s Gaeko and Yoon Mirae’s presence on the track tie everything together perfectly. 

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Still very much a part of j-hope’s chapter two solo journey, Hope on the Street marks the turning of a page, or a checkpoint in his story. What’s remarkable about this output is that it is showcasing a version of j-hope that will always exist. The trainee that once popped and locked his way through the underground scene of Gwangju has resurfaced, slowly and steadily grooving into the next phase of his life as both Jung Hoseok and j-hope.


Stream 'Hope on the Street' on Prime Video now


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