AGUST D (SUGA) – 'D-2'
3. What do you think?
4. Strange (Ft. RM)
5. 28 (Ft. NiiHWA)
6. Burn It (Ft. MAX)
9. Interlude: Set me free
10. Dear my friend (feat. Kim Jong Wan of NELL)
SUGA of BTS is back, and has released a new mixtape, 'D-2,' under the nom de guerre "Agust D." He assumed that pseudonym in 2016, to go with his first mixtape 'D-1.' Agust D is formed from the initials DT, short for his birthplace, Daegu Town, and "SUGA" spelled backwards.
Each of the songs has an overall theme running through it -- I used to be broke, now I'm rich. So he gets no points for originality there. That's been a thing in K-hip-hop since forever. However, I can say that all the songs on the album were fun to listen to. "Interlude" dragged on a bit, but you got 9 other songs to rock out to.
The title track "Daechwita" probably needs a little explanation. The non-rap parts in there are traditional music they used to play for monarchs, or when the army was marching. The song even talks about being a king, so there you have it. Regardless of what it's about, it's definitely a kickin' tune.
What's interesting about the mixtape is that most of the time when he has a guest artist, their job is to sing the hooks. It presents an interesting contrast with SUGA's rapping. I wasn't sure how I felt about that at first, but it provides a softer, more melodic side and breaks things up some.
The exception to that is "Strange." Here we have bandmates RM and SUGA doing the raps. They go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Unless you're averse to one or the other. Even if my analogy breaks down, you still have an awesome track.
It's also interesting to see how he's evolved as an artist. Take the first mixtape, 'D-1.' On that one he's much less confident, struggling with being a new artist at a small company, and all the things young people struggle with. On 'D-2,' he's loud, proud, and in your face. This mixtape is a thing of beauty, but it's up to you guys to figure out which SUGA you prefer.
SUGA went all-out period drama in the MV for "Daechwita."
This elaborate stage set looks like it was set up for a sageuk. We're not told which era this is -- I'm inclined to think it's part of the Joseon period. Regardless, the palace is visually stunning. And authentic, to boot. They even have the complaint drum set up there at the top.
There are two SUGAs here. There's peasant SUGA, and the Emperor SUGA. They're pitted against each other. Peasant SUGA roars up in his car about halfway through the video. With that anachronism, the idea of a period piece is shattered.
Indeed, his whole crew is dressed in modern clothing. But that doesn't save him from being blindfolded and marched through the palace, defeated. Defiant to the end, he bangs his head, and the other oppressed peasants follow suit. As for the ending... I won't spoil it for you.
But I think the deeper meaning behind the video has something to do with old SUGA versus new SUGA, who he was and who he is now. Which is the same theme running through the album.
Fan theories aside, there's one constant:
This is brilliant.
MV SCORE: 10.0
ALBUM SCORE: 9.3