In a recent interview with Rolling Stone Korea, BTS‘s J-Hope was surprised to learn that the interviewer knew “1 Verse”, a song he put out in 2015, sampling The Game & Skrillex‘s song “El Chapo.” This song is still not officially available on any streaming platform except for BTS’s SoundCloud. So, J-Hope’s reaction is understandable. But if you dig deeper into BTS’s discography, you can find many other underrated gems that even some purple-blooded ARMYs might not know of!
Here are 10 of those lesser-known BTS songs that you might want to check out:
1. “Adult Child”
Also known as “어른아이” (literally meaning adult child), this is an unofficial promo song by RM, Suga, and Jin. Released on March 13, 2013, this track is sampled from Common‘s song “Celebrate”. The lyrics are probably the most notable part of this track as it talks about the different joys, fears, and pains of stepping into your 20s. Like all of their unofficial releases, BTS put this song out only on their SoundCloud and YouTube channel.
This song was created as a part of the same promotional project as “Adult Child.” It is an adaptation of Mariah Carey’s song with the same title. Performed by members J-Hope, Jimin, Jungkook, and V, the song tells the story of young innocent love. The track was released on BTS’s SoundCloud and YouTube channel on October 1, 2013.
This a 2012 track by Jo Kwon where J-Hope featured under his real name Jung Hoseok. J-Hope also partcipated in the songwriting, along with BigHit producers Pdogg and Bang Shi Hyuk (aka “Hitman” Bang). To all those surprised by J-Hope’s high heel boots in his recent W Korea photoshoot, this live performance will tell you that him and heeled boots go way back!
4. “싸이하누월” (“It Doesn’t Matter”)
Released in 2013, this track by Suga sampled Ahn Sook-sun‘s song “단가 적벽가”. Ahn Sook-sun is a revered Pansori singer in South Korea. Suga made a powerful track out of the Pansori that not only showcased his flair as a rapper but also touched upon the topic of authenticity and his struggle to fit into the idol industry.
This 2014 track is another unofficial BTS release. RM covered “Interlude” from their debut single album 2 Cool 4 Skool and turned it into a cute love song called “Monterlude.” The track showcases RM’s impressive singing voice.
This is an iconic single by RM that he worked on with the legendary hip hop producer Warren G, that too back in 2015! Sonically, the song has the typical West-Coast soft beat. But the message that RM sends to his haters through the lyrics is pretty brutal.
7. “Wake Up”
This is an original track from BTS’s first Japanese studio album Wake Up. With just 306K views on the official video, this is probably one of the most underrated BTS tracks to exist. Interestingly, the song’s lyric compliments the 2020 BTS track “Zero O’Clock” to a great extent.
“Zero O’Clock” has a soothing message that basically says no matter how hard your day was, as soon as the clock hits 12 at night, you can always restart. “Wake Up” on the other hand, talks about the regrets you wake up with in the morning and the passion that makes you want to keep going regardless.
8. “The Stars”
This song also belongs to the album Wake Up. Despite being a 2014 release, years before BTS started the Love Yourself series, this track has a very strong message of self-love. The lyrics talk about choosing life despite its pains and failure, with an encouraging chorus that says, “So, we’ll be alriight/Be Alright/… / Just like that shining star/ Light up as if you’re going to disappear.”
This older release stands witness of the fact that BTS have always advocated for self-appreciation, love, and gentle support, way before they became famous.
9. “알아요” (“I Know”)
This is an original song by RM and Jungkook that was released as part of BTS Festa (their annual debut anniversary celebration) in June 2016. RM also participated in the song’s production with Pdogg. The lyrics thank BTS’s fans for sticking with the group through 3 years of their career.
However, due to the timing of the song’s release and its gender-inclusive lyrics, some fans believe that the track was created to show support to the LGBTQ+ community. In May 2016, a South Korean district court rejected a lawsuit filed by a prominent gay film director and his partner seeking legal status for their same-sex marriage. The issue got a lot of attention in the media and sparked conversations around LGBTQ+ rights in the country.
Namjoon and Jungkook releasing ‘I Know’ the day after a gay marriage was rejected in SK pic.twitter.com/ZdJp8zKgg3
— ⁷ (@YOONSJAM) May 31, 2021
10. “Too Much”
RM released this track in 2013 on BTS’s SoundCloud. “Too Much” offers a raw reflection of the pain and confusion he felt after debuting as an idol. It reveals his struggles with hate from his fans in the underground hip hop scene and the backlash from his former friends after BTS’s debut, as well as his own turmoil as to whether this is the right path for him.
The song was so impactful that an Mnet producer got inspired by it to create 4 Things, a show that revealed the hidden sides of people in the entertainment industry.
The song caught the attention of an Mnet producer and inspired them to create the 4 Things Show, a program that revealed the hidden sides of people in the entertainment industry.
There’s someone called ‘Rap Monster [RM]’ in BTS. He uploaded emotional lyrics to his blog about not being respected because he was an idol. I cried after reading that. I wanted to produce a truthful show for hip hop idols.
-The producer of the 4 Things show
BTS also featured on the third episode of this show.
Whether underrated or hyped, BTS’s songs have undeniably carried their impeccable musicality and artistic skills since day 1.