Origins is a recurring series that gives artists the opportunity to break down everything that went into their latest release. Today, Jung Kook from BTS is dedicated to his new single “3D” (feat. Jack Harlow).
In the world of BTS, it’s Jung Kook, the youngest of the septet, who is known these days for jumping on a livestream to hang out with ARMY. Fans have witnessed a range of activities over the past few months: Jung Kook making noodles, washing his dishes, enjoying a late-night noraebang session, or just chatting about his day.
When he logs on to Zoom for an interview with Consequence to talk about his new single “3D” with Jack Harlow, his energy isn’t much different. “So there I was, getting ready for my next single,” he remembers. “I was given a lot of songs to look at, but I didn’t really like any of them until I met this one. When I heard it, I naturally decided to go for it.”
“3D” feels like it was plucked from the ether a decade and a half ago, when Justin Timberlake dropped FutureSex/LoveSounds and everything Pharrell touched glittered brighter than gold. Jung Kook’s whispered refrains in the chorus and balanced harmonies underscore the nostalgic energy, but a feature from rapper Jack Harlow pulls the song firmly into the present.
While scheduling conflicts prevented Jung Kook and Harlow from being together for the actual recording of the track, they met on the set of the music video and quickly hit it off. “I loved his energy. It was really great,” says Jung Kook. “Just to introduce you to an interesting episode, there is a scene in the video where we are playing chess, so that is exactly where I learned to play for the first time. And you know what? I played with Jack and won!”
For fans who have been following the group for a while, it probably doesn’t sound that surprising that Jung Kook entered a competitive environment – even a casual, friendly one – and emerged victorious. He has a reputation for trying new things and nailing them almost immediately, but like his bandmates, he’s also extremely hardworking. Our conversation comes as he’s in the middle of rehearsals for a headlining set at New York’s Global Citizen Festival, for which he’s chosen a handful of solo tracks like “Euphoria” and “Still With You” as well as a medley of English-language BTS hits (“Dynamite,” “Butter,” and “Permission to Dance”).
So far in 2023, Jung Kook’s solo singles (“Seven” featuring Latto and now “3D”) have also been in English, and both have taken him into more explicit territory than ever before. Jung Kook, now 26, has been in the spotlight since he was 15 and seems to be giving himself the space to experiment with more mature themes in his solo chapter. He’s also not impressed by anyone who raises their eyebrows about this direction and trusts in the diversity of the fan base. “There are multiple generations in our ARMY,” he states. “I think the song will give them a fun, playful, light shock.”
While he’s certainly excited for fans to hear the song, he admits that the process is different when he’s alone than when he collaborates with his BTS brothers. “With BTS songs, it’s each member’s different colors that come together to make the final song – whereas for me it’s just me and my own unique color. I don’t think I could make something that has all the colors of BTS.”
When asked which of his bandmates was listening to “3D” at the time of our conversation, he blushes and reaches up to touch the tips of his red ears. “SUGA and RM,” he says. I ask them what they think of the song and he melts into the table, burying his face in his arms in theatrical, melodramatic fear. “They said I was a real pop star,” he groans.
See the true pop star in action and listen to “3D” (feat. Jack Harlow) below. Read on for Jung Kook’s breakdown of the title’s key points.
When you listen to “Seven” and watch the video, there’s something fresh about the whole thing. In “3D,” the choreography is a little sexier. Some parts are very intense, others are more relaxed; There are a lot of contrasts and dynamic movements in the video.
The choreography overall is very engaging and easy to follow. The fun atmosphere of the song adds to the feeling. I think there’s a lot to enjoy.
Music of the early 2000s:
So, as a trainee, I listened to a lot of songs to prepare for our work. When I started working on this song, I felt like it might appeal to people who are familiar with early 2000s music. There is a feeling of nostalgia. But I also felt that it could also appeal to younger people with its sophisticated atmosphere, and that direction felt right to me.
I also paid a lot of attention to the pronunciation, the feel of the lyrics and the overall content so that I could bring that feeling to life.
I want to test how far I can go with my voice and my skills. How far can I go all alone?
I also want to try out a lot of different genres and it’s important that I’m not stuck with one particular genre. I just want to be open. So when I’m working on a song, I focus on that moment. The stories of the songs can appeal to many people and can be relatable through different variations of them.
I imagine bluish tones and white. This is why I recently changed the color of my microphone to white!
BTS songs bring together the different colors of each member – but for me it’s just me and my own color. I don’t think I could create something that has all the colors of BTS, but being a part of BTS formed the basis for my solo project.
Read our review of Layover here. For more BTS-related content, listen to the Stanning BTS podcast and subscribe to Mary Siroky’s Fan Chant newsletter.