BTS’s Kim Namjoon, or rather RM (Rap Monster) as he’s better known as, turns 27 today. The rapper and frontman of the K-Pop global sensation, is cherished by ARMY for his stable leadership, compassionate nature towards his team members, and his evocative speeches about self-love, and fighting stereotypes. Of course, his impeccable rapping and dancing skills are just the icing on the cake. Going by the numerous videos and lives, it’s evident that the group worships their leader and hangs on to his every word. That doesn’t stop them from teasing him and calling him the ‘god of destruction’ as he tends to be very clumsy backstage.
Like his friends on the BTS journey, RM has been through the entire spectrum too, dealing with brutal trolling, hate, accusations of chartbeat manipulations as well as plagiarism, and even death threats at one point. However, he has managed to keep his cool when handling the negativity spewed against him. In fact, in an old video, RM reads out all the hurtful comments against him, where they attacked him for his lyrics, and said he can never be a K-Pop idol. RM reads the comments and then tells the trolls, “I will prove it to you.” Well, apart from the stupendous success of BTS, he has his own thriving solo career and has released his own mixtape.
The power of words is a sword that RM has wielded since his childhood. As a student, RM was always fond of writing poetry and even won several awards. At the age of 11, he found his passion for hip-hop after listening to Epik High’s ‘Fly’. Later, he discovered Eminem and grew interested in lyric-writing. By 2007, he started rapping in local amateur circles and even crafted his own self-composed recording for the first time.
He transitioned into becoming an underground rapper and went with the name ‘Runch Randa’, and released tracks and collections with other underground rappers. His parents did not approve of his passion for music and his subsequent sidelining of his academics. In order to convince his mother to allow him to be a rapper, he asked her if “she wanted to have a son who was a first-place rapper, or a 5000th-place student.”
Auditioning for Big Hit
RM’s path to BTS wasn’t entirely smooth, either. In 2009, he auditioned for Big Deal records, clearing the first round but failed the second, as he forgot all the lyrics. However, as luck would have it, a fellow rapper pushed him to audition for Big Hit (Now HYBE), and he was offered a spot by the record label. Without consulting his parents, he accepted the offer, and the production of the hip-hop group began, which is now BTS. He began as a trainee with Min Yoongi (now known as Suga) and dancer Jung Hoseok (Now J-Hope).
Why the name RM
During his time as an idol trainee, he decided to go with the name RM. While it is a common misunderstanding that it means ‘Rap like a monster’ it is actually derived from the lyrics of a song that he wrote, inspired by San E’s Rap Genius. He later mentioned that he had a love-hate relationship with the name.
He changed the name to RM formally in 2017 as it no longer described his personality. ‘Real Me’ was provided as the best meaning
Why the rest of the BTS members look up to him
From protecting Jin on stage, having adorable and encouraging group hugs to holding an exhausted V after a night of endless performances, RM is loved by BTS and ARMY for always looking out for his teammates and making sure that they’re not physically drained by the constant flurry of performances and interviews. And, they have his back too, as they know it gets tiring for him to keep translating everything into English for them, especially after a hard day.
The rest of the team have detailed their emotions for RM in several interviews, and expressed their gratitude for the way he helps them out with speaking in English, among many other virtues. In fact, After RM’s UN Speech, Jimin told J-Hope, “If we didn’t have RM, the thought of it just kills me. We didn’t do anything, it was all our leader. What would have happened if RM didn’t know English? We should just be thankful for his existence.”
The youngest member Jungkook, had once said, “RM is the starting point of the life that I lead today. He’s someone closest to me that I can learn a lot from. In addition to appearances and musicality, he also has a ‘sexy’ mindset. Rather than incorporate his style, I think I have found a certain potential within me, while talking with RM, or seeing the way he thinks acts, speaks or engages with music.”
RM is said to be grounded as well, as Jimin once said. “Although his position is a leader, I think he’s a member like everyone else. At the center, he makes us look back on our sense of responsibility and importance of the team. That side of him always amazes me, how great he is. It’s amazing how he looks and thinks deeply of himself as a singer.” His lyric-writing ability leaves his friends impressed, as Jin once said, “It makes me wonder how he could have such thoughts, such sensibility.”
Needless to say the Bangtan Boys have his back as well, be it J-Hope saving him from talking when drained in interviews, or just teaching him a game of pool, or just standing by him during difficult times.
Happy birthday Namjoon!