After waiting two years, ARMYs can finally experience Sugas mixtape. And boy, was it worth the wait. From diss tracks, to deeply personal songs, Agust D covers ground that seasoned artists have a hard time covering.
Suga gets right to the intensity with Agust D and Give It to Me. These two arent the hardest hitting tracks on the mixtape, but they are the most definitely diss tracks. In Agust D, Suga brags about BTSs success, calling out his haters, and boasting that K-pop cant contain his skill. Its filled with clever wordplay and even samples Its a Mans Mans World by James Brown. In one specific call-out, he raps, The majority of weak-ass rappers should be thankful Im an idol. Hes being bold and confident and it shines through the most in this track. In a particularly wonderful bit of wordplay, the chorus spelling out his moniker goes:
A to the G to the U to the STD
my tongue technology sends you to Hong Kong
The reference to Hong Kong is about bringing his listeners to orgasm and also a direct reference one of his lyrics from Cypher prt 3: Killer. It also pairs nicely with the ending of the previous lines; spelling his name out so STD is next to each other is definitely intentional. Not only is he telling us how good he is with his tongue, hes also getting people to shout STD along to the music. My favorite section of the song, by far, is when he apologizes sarcastically about how great he is. Not only does he tell his competitors that their only asset is their health, he also tells them to switch careers. He pulls no punches in Agust D and keeps them coming in Give It to Me.
Give It to Me talks more about Sugas success and how it surprised everyone around him. He raps about how he cant explain how he became such a success except that, during that short time I slept less than you and moved more and grew. He talks about how he only wants whatever is good during the chorus, telling the listener to bring it on. He once again calls out those who doubt him or have negative things to say about his abilities by rapping:
You just fight all amongst yourselves
Yeah, like that, you fuckers, like that, you’re all idiots
Whether you’re a waste of space or a weakling
I don’t even have interest in your dick so please keep living like that
Its hard to not feel bad for whoever Suga is talking about during those lines. Its harsh and when you listen to it, its difficult to not cringe for them. On top of that, he talks about how he was born a tiger so hes not going to live like a dog and if that doesnt demonstrate how Suga really feels, theres not much else that will. Even the backing track for Give It to Me reinforces his harsh words. With heavy claps and an almost ever present sound that can only be described as chains clanging together, the backing beat is relentless. It sounds like a more aggressive version of E-40s hyphy hit Tell Me When to Go. They even share the same self-appraising attitude.
After a short skit featuring his older brother, Suga delves into more personal topics. Starting with 724148, a reference to the buses Suga rode as a trainee, he starts opening up to the listener about his trainee days, his struggles, and the anxiety and depression he suffered from. He talks about how his parents disapproved of his desire to pursue music, how he moved to Seoul to pursue his dream.
Suga goes into detail about his many part-time jobs just to make ends meet. He does not ask for pity or sympathy; these songs are his way of telling his story so people understand. Suga raps quickly in the style that hes known for, letting all his past pains come to light. All the doubt and uncertainty that he felt during those days are critically analyzed through Sugas blunt words. Reading the lyrics to both The Last and 140503 At Dawn feels like reading from his diary. Theyre both incredibly upfront about how he struggled (and maybe still struggles) with social anxiety and depression. He makes multiple references to how dealing with this affected him in his lyrics; in The Last he raps during one of the verses:
Sometimes I’m afraid of myself, thanks to my self-hatred
And the depression that came to play again
Min Yoongi is already dead (I killed him)
It’s been a long time since my everyday life became killing my passions and comparing myself with others
His pain and frustration comes through the lyrics; just like in his diss tracks, he doesnt pull any punches. Like Rap Monsters mixtape, hes open and honest about the mental illness he had to deal with. Suga lets us see a bit more behind the curtain of his idol image.
Suga talks frequently about his fear that his drive and ambition will turn him into a monster, that hes being too greedy and that will ultimately lead to his downfall. It fits perfectly with his openness about anxiety and depression. The Last and Tony Montana delve into those themes. While The Last has Suga rapping about his success and even makes a reference to suicide, Tony Montana uses the main character of Scarface to show parallels between Suga and that iconic character. Tony Montana is a ever present character in hip hop; Suga isnt the first rapper to draw comparisons between himself and the role. The American rapper Future also has a song called Tony Montana but its a completely different song. Suga focuses more on how Tony Montana had to work and was disrespected by some of the people he was working for. Yes, he had success and money, but its not happiness. Suga very clearly says this when he raps:
Success and happiness, same but different
My weakness is wanting more success
More riches and an even bigger honor
Money wants to chase me, I hope I won’t become a monster who chases money
He once again brings up his fear of his drive and ambition swallowing him. Its interesting to hear about Sugas feelings about his success. Hes proud of what hes accomplished, thats definitely clear, but to hear about his hesitance and worry over whether or not he is focused on the right things is interesting. He is allowing fans to see more of who he is and it humanizes him. It makes this mixtape even more incredible than it already is.
The music itself is pure hip hop. While Suga has not spoken about who and what influenced him while creating these songs, his respect and love of the genre is very clear. A lot of the tracks feel like southern and old school hip hop. Even when hes working with more contemporary styles like trap, it is uniquely his own. There is no doubt that Suga appreciates the artists who helped originate the genre which is refreshing when hip hop is so frequently just a concept for idols to try on and wear for a time. Each song was produced and composed by him; every little detail on the tracks are well thought out.
Suga has called himself a genius and his other members have mentioned that he is a perfectionist, and this mixtape is proof. Its hard to find any fault when its astonishingly well-crafted. If Im being nitpicky, my only criticism lies with the intro for the mixtape. Yes, its an interesting mix of Agust D, but it doesnt add anything new. It also is not the most interesting way to introduce the tracks, especially when Agust D begins in an almost identical fashion.
Sugas first mixtape Agust D is an excellent first solo album. While ARMYs already knew his talent, getting to hear a self-produced album with such meaningful lyrics only cements Sugas place as one of K-pops reigning rappers. His open and honest lyrics will surely touch his fans and his impactful wordplay will win him new fans.
What did you think of Sugas first mixtape? What was your favorite track?
(Sources: papercrowns; Images: BigHit)
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