Priyanka Sangolkar, Nagpur, Maharashtra
World-Star International K-Pop boy band BTS’ producer, song-writer, rapper, and singer Suga’s (Min Yoon-gi, alias Agust D) second hard-hitting mixtape, titled ‘D-2’ released on May 22, 2020 through Big Hit Entertainment (now Big Hit Music) along with its lead single ‘Daechwita’ (Korean: 대취타). The first Agust D mixtape was released in 2016, focused on the tough times Suga faced as a teenager and young adult. Suga as a member of BTS is at a very different place now, he’s much older, wiser and he’s much more successful, and this mixtape focuses on the changes in his feelings after becoming one of the renowned names in the K-Pop and global music industry.
The song “Daechwita” acts as the lead single from his mixtape released for free for the listeners and fans. Suga’s persona while releasing solo works outside BTS goes by the name Agust D, where he is often seen making a commentary on several sensitive topics that are not usually touched upon in mainstream music, from mental health stigmas to societal issues, or are addressed towards the haters. The music video of critically acclaimed and publically loved Daechwita is in line with this theme of setting a trap for haters by portraying a sageuk storyline and was filmed at MBC Yongin Daejanggeum Park. Many South Korean dramas have been shot at the location as well.
About the Music Video
Daechwita is a Korean traditional marching music that was played when kings or royalty were moving about, or important guests would visit, as well as when the army would be marching. Set in a province that blends the historic with the modern, the video for “Daechwita” is a showdown between two Agust Ds–one a king and one a rebel gang leader. ‘King’ Agust D is a tyrant; He has everyone kneeling down, with their faces down on the ground, and he beheads people who have complaints in this scene. You can see the ‘sinmungo’ (drum) here. People in the Joseon dynasty would hit this drum if they had something that they’ve been wronged [for]. They’d hit this drum and the king or someone up in the hierarchy would come and sort out their problems. Except here, ‘King’ Agust D is killing the people who have such complaints and issues. But the ‘bottom class’ Agust D, with the help of BTS and ARMY, represented by the six other men and a woman in the scene, starts a coup. He drives up a car with the men representing BTS and also a cute painting of Bang PD (Bang Si-hyuk). By the way, this painting is taken with reference to Jung-kook’s drawing of Bang PD, which is quite hilarious.
The ‘King’ Agust D sees this and gives a thumbs down, and captures the ‘bottom class’ Agust D. The ‘King’ Agust D wants to kill him and does this graceful sword dance, which apparently Suga learned in two days. Meanwhile, ‘bottom class’ Agust D, blindfolded, and tied down, starts headbanging, singing ‘Daechwita. The ‘bottom class’ Agust D singing this, is an announcement, that he is actually the real king. The people under the King, the very ones that were kneeling to him in the beginning are now joining Agust D, head-banging with him. At the end, the executioner who was supposed to take down the ‘bottom class’ Agust D, frees him and gives him a gun. ‘Bottom class’ Agust D grabs this and shoots his shot.
Thought process behind the song
During his VLive radio show DJ Suga’s Honey FM 06.13, a day after song’s release, he added: “I usually make beats first, “Daechwita” as well. My music starts from a vague, interesting imagination. It’s played for King’s visit or army marching. Just like BTS and ARMY. This is it! Should I make a track with this? That was the start of “Daechwita.”
Hidden and Implied Meanings
The ‘King’ Agust D represents the system, the existing system, and the few powerful that had control over the industry before BTS came to the scene. ‘Bottom class’ Agust D is Suga himself with basically having nothing, as if he was born into a bottom class and winning the people over, eventually taking down the king with BTS and ARMYs. Alternatively, it can also imply raising voices and rebelling against a corrupt system everywhere. I think with this song, Suga picked the perfect motif to convey his message.
The line ‘Berserk tiger, Gwanghae flow’ is a reference to Gwanghaegun, the King of Joseon dynasty, in the 17th century who developed paranoia while in power and notoriously became violent and reckless. Suga mentions putting his past in the rice chest. For many Koreans, the word ‘dwi-ju’, or ‘rice chest’, is strongly connected to the tragic story of Sadoseja which involves him dying in a rice chest. It’s a declaration that he’s putting the old, troubled Yoon-gi, the ‘Sadoseja’ Yoon-gi behind. You can watch the video here:
BTS has been on the top for the past few years, absolutely dominating the world with their music that conveys more than just a message, hope! With a level of global popularity that has never been seen in K-Pop scene before, sometimes it’s even easy to forget that they had such humble beginnings. Daechwita is a reminder. A reminder that this was where they started and they took that system down with their challenging and thought-provoking music. It’s also a warning that they had the resilience, and the force to go through all of this to go from being a slave to the system and basically emerging as the kings.
Do let us know in the comment section about your views on this song!