Happy birthday to Suga of BTS! On this day, a star was born, and it’s time to celebrate Min Yoongi/Agust D/Gloss/the primary resident of the Genius Lab. The rapper, writer, and producer turns 28 today — grab some tangerines and join us by streaming our 10 favorite tracks.
He’s the king, he’s the boss, he’s Agust D, the edgy, no holds-barred alter ego under which Suga releases solo work. “Daechwita” was the lead single off 2020’s D-2, an audacious album in which Agust D addresses everything from existential crises, a bittersweet relationship with fame, and, of course, the haters. “Daechwita” is four and a half minutes of controlled chaos that makes me feel like I could run through a wall. “Off with their heads?” Whatever you say, King Min.
“Blueberry Eyes” (MAX feat. Suga)
Sharp transition: soft hours are now in session. This endearing collaboration reunited Suga with MAX, who opened up a handful of tracks off his 2020 album, Colour Vision, and invited Suga to select one for a feature. Suga surprised everyone (including MAX) by choosing the sweet, up-tempo “Blueberry Eyes”, an anniversary love letter from MAX to his wife. MAX, forever a faithful member of the BTS ARMY, used a cat as a stand-in for Yoongi in the music video.
Do you have a quick 45 minutes to talk about “Seesaw”? If not, that’s cool, but it’s hard to quickly summarize the joy of the bouncy, jazzy track in which Suga muses on the ups and downs of falling in love. At the time of the 2018 release, melodic vocals like those in the chorus were unheard of from everyone’s favorite Daegu rap star (sorry Taehyung), but the welcome surprise has stood the test of time as a favorite.
Map of the Soul: 7 is such a great album that choosing standout tracks can be a pleasantly losing game, but Suga’s interlude is undoubtedly a thrill. The tempo change? The callback to the “big house, big car, and big rings” he dreamed of in their debut song? The bracing honesty? It doesn’t make sense for a song so personal to also slap like this, but Suga has never been one to play by the rules.
“Cypher Pt.3: Killer”
Not sure how to discuss this song during business hours, but let’s give it a go. This Cypher (a term designated for tracks in which the BTS rap line, for all intents and purposes, completely loses it) is off one of the group’s earliest albums, Dark & Wild, an apt name for this track in particular. “Even if I’m whack or if I’m fake if I’m this or that/ I’m the new standard of the music industry,” he said all the way back in 2014 (among other things).
Ah, yes, “Ddaeng”, the elusive Bangtan Soundcloud exclusive. Written for a special performance, this song also features BTS’ three main rappers spouting off wordplay in what can only be described as a diss track. J-Hope, RM, and Suga all commit to the bit, injecting their verses with their trademark styles (with the third verse ending with a bit of a mic drop moment from RM, but it’s not his birthday; it’s Suga’s, so let’s stay focused here).
Celebrate “Telepathy” a bit extra today, either by streaming or with the song’s recent live debut on MTV Unplugged — this song was stashed away on one of Suga’s hard drives, finished over the summer, and (thankfully) added to November’s BE album. It’s a glittery, warm hug written by the birthday boy himself, perfect for a March morning like this one.
“Best of Me”
Another slight throwback, this upbeat 2018 bop featured another verse from Suga showing off those aforementioned unexpected vocals. (The range!) “So take my hand right now/ Please don’t leave me” — you don’t have to ask twice, Min Yoongi.
If catharsis were a song, it might be “UGH!”. Once again, there are so many treasures tucked into Map of the Soul: 7, and this gem from the three rappers is certainly one of them. Put on your boxing gloves, running shoes, or just your headphones; with “UGH!” playing in the background, whatever it is you’re doing, you can’t lose.
“Burning Up (Fire)”
Yes to choreography, yes to Suga’s faux-drunken swagger, yes to whichever stuntman actually set himself on fire for this music video! What better way to close out Suga’s birthday bash than with the literally explosive 2016 track? The remnants of bad boy BTS are a joy to behold now, and while their evolution as a group has taken them in a different direction, sometimes it’s okay to just want to burn it all down, bow wow wow. Cyclical moments can be deeply satisfying — turn it up for Suga’s lower register murmur of “bultaoreune”, which starts and ends the song.
If you’ve been enjoying our coverage of bands like BTS and want to help a good cause, pick up one of our #K-Pop Stans t-shirts. We will be donating 50% of all net proceeds from this shirt to BTS and UNICEF’s ongoing LOVE MYSELF campaign, which aims at ensuring children and teens in the world lead safe and healthy lives without the fear of violence.