J-hope Dominates as First South Korean Soloist at 'Hobipalooza'


After the success and record breaker that was “Jack In the Box” it was time for Jung Hoseok to break another record by being the first South Korean act to headline Lollapalooza. The event held on the 31st of July was one for BTS and Hoseok’s history books. Of course, let’s not forget that TXT debuted on Saturday with a fantastic set and was the first Korean band to headline a major US festival, with over 1 million tuning on weverse live. 

The lead-up to the event had been hyped with armies decked in their JITB attire, decorating their army bombs in the iconic Jack in the box decor. Army's queued since 5 am to get the atmosphere going for the day. Records were broken even before J-hope appeared, for the first time in 31 years tickets were the fastest selling for a Sunday, with organizers explaining Sunday is usually the lowest attended.

Merchandise tents set up purely for J-Hope led to the stock sold out in just 30 minutes, organizers announced an additional ten minutes was to be added to his one-hour set to the delight of fans. 

Chapter two started as a record breaker with the album ‘Jack In The Box' breaking records left and right, with over 150 million streams on Spotify and the biggest solo debut by a South Korean act. The stage was set for more records to smash. A giant Box took center stage, and the show began with ‘Intro’, all that remained was Hope. Out with a bang out pops J-Hope or shall we say his alter ego ready to play with the crowd, jumping out and smashing into hit single ‘More.’ 

The energy emitted from Hope was a pure rockstar and his new side army has watched the past month, and we were all eating out the palm of his hand. Giving an intro to those who perhaps are new to Hope world, speaking in English during the entire set, he humbly introduced himself as J-hope from BTS, but you can call him Jay. 

During the first half, we’re treated to Jack in the box discography, with a deep dive into ‘Pandoras Box’ with consistently high energy. One can tell J-Hope was meant for the stage and what he was born to do. ‘Safety Zone’ cemented that as the stage lighting was a concoction of arteries, and veins, and placed in the middle was J-hope himself, the stage and his fans being his safety zone. 

J-Hope is known for his bright and fashionable aesthetics, but we saw simple and stripped-back outfits sticking to dressed-down black for his Jack the box segment as seen in the ‘More’ video. As previously stated he wanted the focus on his words, the music, and his story he's encouraged us all to support and listen. Well, those unable to attend did that with 14.9 million people tuning in on Weverse, with Hulu as the official streaming service for the US audience.

‘Music box: Reflection’ transitions nicely with Hope free from the box providing it in the shape of 2018’s mixtape Hope World. Singing ‘Daydream’ Hope is startled by the sheer volume of the crowd singing back to him with a glimmer of emotion threatening to leave his face, yet the sunshine smile that appears is heartwarming. A sea of purple lit up Chicago with army bombs and fan chants encouraging and rooting for Hope. 

He threw it back to a ‘Dynamite’ tropical mix to get the crowd frenzied even more, lighting up the stage with a group of incredible dancers. Thus moving onto the final segment of the show and it was a tasty treat in the shape of some good ole ‘Chicken Noodle Soup.’ A special guest appearance from icon Becky G, this was the live debut of CNS with them both dueting since its release in 2019. Alongside Hopeworld we were treated to his BTS Solos ‘Outro: Ego’ and ‘Just Dance’ the fan chants' energy never died down from start to finish. 

After speaking in English for 60 mins (of which his English was so crisp and well-spoken.) Hope gave his endment in Korean for fans watching back home.

“Im speaking in Korean for the first time in the 1 hour. Hello guys, it's J-Hope this is a very meaningful time for me. The process of this album began from desire and childish ambitiousness, and we're moving magnificently towards the finale of one of the processes. Through this album, all the schedules became my blood and flesh (part of me) and while looking at you all and our ARMY & the public while (performing in) Lollapalooza today, once again I think another determination and definite faith has formed. I don't know what to say. It's really, really such an honor & I want to say thank you so much to all ARMYs who came (to see me). To be honest, I think all these schedules were a series of fears/worries for me but nevertheless, it's a very, very meaningful moment for me. Also, feel a little abashed to say this to myself but I want to tell myself that I'm proud of overcoming this moment! Ah, I talk for too long. So then (the next song) is a quite special and meaningful song to me. I present this to all of us' future.”

Rounding off perfectly with ‘Future’ in an ode to his career and support with armies moving forward, declaring his biggest fear as his future. Through the stage, the promotion, and ending with this song, it’s clear that he’s accepted the future path, which looks very bright.

A true artist tests themselves with new challenges yet being a global superstar J-Hope still took on a challenge many wouldn't. His album went in a direction no one expected, open and vulnerable, his lyrics acting as a diary for the fans to see his fears and thoughts. To debut at a major festival in another country, performing solo for 60 mins without his fellow members, is incredibly brave and admirable.

What he proved is not only are armies going anywhere but that he is truly capable of anything and is a natural performer, a humble person who wants to showcase his best for himself and his fans. Nows the time for him to take some much-deserved rest and that 'break' after working tirelessly on what has more than kickstarted chapter two with one hell of a bang.

J-hope played: 

‘Pandora’s Box’
‘Base Line’
‘Cypher Pt. 1’
‘P.O.P. (Piece Of Peace)’
‘= (Equal Sign)’
‘Blue Side’
‘Safety Zone’
‘What If…’
‘Dynamite (Tropical Remix)’
‘Outro: Ego’
‘Hope World’
‘Trivia: Just Dance’
‘Chicken Noodle Soup’

What did you think of J-hope's performance? Be sure to stick around @KpopWise for more updates on all of your favorite Kpop artists and idols!



Kirsty Bright

A UK freelance writer, who stumbled into the land of Kpop while studying Korean. Her bias groups are BTS and Seventeen, but she loves a range of groups and finding new artists to listen to! Contact on Insta: @kirstybright_ Portfolio: kirstybright.journoportfolio.com

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