BTS: The Story Of J-Hope, From A Street Dancer To A KPop Idol

From being a part of a small street dancing group to being part of the biggest K-pop band. Here is the story of our sunshine "J-Hope"

· 6 min read
J-Hope photo for Weverse magazine

Jung Ho-Seok (정호석) better known by his stage name J-Hope (제이홉), is a South-Korean rapper-songwriter and record producer under Big Hit Entertainment. He is a rapper and the main dancer of the Idol group BTS, also notable for his large input in Songwriting and production in the discography of the group.

Early Life

Alternate pics of J-hope's birthday holding a cake

Jung Ho Seok was born on February 18, 1994, in Gwangju, South Korea, where he lived with his parents and older sister. Before debuting with BTS, he was part of the underground dance team Neuron. J-Hope had been relatively well known for his skills in dance prior to his debut; he won various local prizes for dance, including placing first in a national competition in 2008. His skills in dance eventually led him to gain an interest in singing and rapping, helping motivate him to audition as an idol trainee. As a trainee, J-Hope was featured as a rapper in Jo Kwon's song "Animals", which was released in 2012.

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Why Did He Choose The Name J-Hope?

Jung Hoseok decided to go with J-Hope (제이홉) as his stage name, which comes from his desire to represent hope for fans, as well as the "Hope Of BTS". It also has some reference to Pandora's box, as after the box was opened and all the evils inside were released to the world, the only thing that was left was Hope.

J-Hope's Debut And Solo Career

On June 13, 2013, J-Hope made his debut as a member of BTS on Mnet's M!  Countdown with the track "No More Dream" from their debut single album "2 cool 4 Skool". He was the third member to join the group as a trainee after RM and Suga. J-Hope has since been involved in the creation process of every album in BTS's discography.

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On June 14, 2019, J-Hope together with fellow BTS member V, collaborated with Zara Larsson on a soundtrack called "A Brand New Day" for a mobile game BTS World.

J-Hope's first mixtape "Daydream"

On March 1, 2018, J-Hope released his first solo mixtape, Hope World, worldwide along with a music video for the title track "Daydream". A music video for the B-side "Airplane" was later released on March 6. The EP debuted at number 63 and peaked at number 38 on the Billboard 200, making him the highest-charting K-Pop solo act on the chart. Hope World also peaked at number 35 on the Canadian Albums Chart and number 19 on the US Top Rap Albums chart.

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Three mixtape tracks, "Daydream", "Hope World" and "Hangsang", are charted on the World Digital Songs Chart, ranking third, 16th, and 24th respectively. The following week, the tracks grew to first, sixth, and 11th, with three additional tracks off of Hope World, "Airplane", "Base Line" and "P.O.P (Piece Of Peace) Pt1" arriving on the chart at number five, eight, and twelve respectively. "Daydream" peaking atop the chart made J-Hope one of only ten K-pop groups, including his band BTS, to reach number one.

The success of his solo debut leads him to rank third on the emerging charts, 97th on the Artist 100 chart for the week of 10 March and 91st for the week of 17 March. He is the fifth Korean artist, the second Korean soloist after Psy, to place on the Artist 100. The mixtape charted in ten countries worldwide, with "Daydream" charting at three, eventually placed at number five on Billboard Magazine's year-end world album charts.

Chicken Noodle Soup 

In 2019, J-Hope released a free collaboration single, "Chicken Noodle Soup", on September 27, featuring American singer, Becky G. The track debuted at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100, with 9.7 million streams and 11,000 downloads for the week ending October 4, making J-hope the first member of BTS to chart on the Hot 100 as a solo artist outside the group, third Korean solo artist to rank on the charts after PSY and CL, the sixth Korean artist to do so. "Chicken Noodle Soup" also debuted at number 1 on the World Digital Songs Chart and is J-Hope's second song to achieve this after 2018's "Daydream".

Blue Side Full Version 

For three year anniversary of his mixtape, J-Hope released the full version of his track "Blue Side(Outro)". It was a full three-minute-long version of the previous track which was uploaded on March 1, 2021, it was uploaded on the Soundcloud page for free.

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J-Hope's Artistry and Philanthropy

J-Hope is someone who can literally light up anyone's day with just a smile. He is an upbeat artist who creates happiness not just in the group but also for people around the world. His mixtape, Hope World, was described as having a fun nature and various music genres including synth-pop, trap, funk-soul, and hip-hop. The lyrical elements of the main song "Daydream" were even praised by Billboard for having a magazine for discussing the difficulties that Idol faces while forming a career.

J-hope in a black sweater with yellow print on it
J-Hope Weverse Magazine 

In January 2020, J-Hope was promoted along with fellow BTS members RM to join Suga as a full member of the Korean Music Copyright Association. J-Hope has been a member of the "Green Noble Club" which recognizes high-value donors of Child Fund Korea, since 2018. On February 18, 2019, he donated  ₩100 million to the organization in support of these attending high school alma mater in Gwangju.

He had previously donated ₩150 million in December 2018 but requested to be kept private at that time. In December 2019, he donated another ₩100 million. On November 17, 2020, he donated ₩100 million in support of children experiencing economic difficulties amid the COVID-19  pandemic. On February 18, 2021, he donated ₩150 million to support children with visual and hearing experiments. On May 4, 2021, for Children's Day, he donated ₩100 million to Children affected by violence in Tanzania, Africa.

Interesting Facts About J-Hope

1) He is the third oldest member of BTS.

2) He is 27 years old in the US age and 28 years old in Korean age.

3)  His zodiac sign is Aquarius.

4) He is referred to as the "sunshine" of the group due to his bright and energetic personality.

5) He hates exercising/working out.

6) He speaks Korean, Japanese, English, and Chinese.  

7) Before his debut with BTS, he was part of a street dancer group called "Neuron".

8) His solo song "MAMA" is a song dedicated to his mom. She came to a BTS concert where J-Hope sang the song live and after listening to the song she cried. He says the song was written as a means to show that he has finally become the son she can be proud of.

9) His favourite drink is sprite.

10) He is the only member who does not have any piercings.

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