RM, the leader of BTS, has released his first official solo album, Indigo, and it's every bit as thoughtful, layered, and moving as his fans have come to expect from him, while also being fresh and surprising.
The track "Wild Flower," featuring vocals from Korean rock star Youjeen, explores RM's musings on living like a firework (burning brightly but dying quickly) versus his yearning to be like a wildflower (calm, resilient, grounded).
The whole album, which RM describes as the "last archive of my 20s," spans various genres and includes featured artists on eight of its 10 tracks, each offering their own unique flavor to offset RM's own artistry.
With RM's trademark multilingual wordplay and vivid imagery inspired by art and nature — two of his driving passions — Indigo explores the themes that make up so many of our 20s: identity, life, death, creativity, burnout, loneliness, change, forgetfulness, friendship, love, and the loss of it.
RM has been creating music for half of his life, and his growth and maturation as an artist is evident on Indigo. It's the culmination of everything he's done before (and he's done a lot) — indeed, in a letter to fans on Weverse the night before the album's release, RM said, "All the pieces of my work, including my previous releases, were for me to put out this one album."
In order to understand RM and the context within which he's releasing Indigo, let's take a look back at his journey so far...
With an early interest in poetry and literature, RM (real name Kim Nam-joon) was drawn to hip-hop and rap, and began writing his own music in his early teens. He shared some of his music online and became increasingly known in underground hip-hop circles, primarily under the stage name Runch Randa.
His activities caught the attention of Big Hit Entertainment, and RM was offered a deal with the company in 2010, aged just 16. CEO Bang Si-hyuk intended to form a hip-hop crew around RM, which went through several iterations before being finalized as the hip-hop influenced idol group BTS.
During his three years as a trainee with Big Hit, RM — then known as Rap Monster — released several unofficial songs.
RM is also a prolific collaborator, bringing his own fierce style and poetic lyricism to his work with other rappers and artists.
RM has also worked on several songs with BTS's vocalists, including the unofficial songs "I Know" with Jungkook and "4 O'Clock" with V, as well as the BTS song "Stay" off the group's pandemic-era album BE.
Of course, the best way to get to know RM and his music is through his extended solo works — starting with the 2015 mixtape RM.
RM followed RM with another mixtape — which he calls a playlist — called Mono., an album that he describes as a diary of his early to mid 20s.
Which brings us back to Indigo — and its track "Wild Flower" — RM's first official album as a solo artist and the record of his life from the release of Mono. to now.
You can check out a playlist of all of RM's solo work and collaborations here:
What is your fave RM track? Let us know in the comments!