BTS Open Up About The Personal Significance Of Their Historic No. 1 Hit “Dynamite”

In case you haven't heard, the No. 1 song in the country right now, "Dynamite," is sung by group that hails from South Korea. And not just any group — BTS, the seven-member boyband whose charisma and talent has captivated the globe and who eat world records for breakfast.
On September 2, the group held a global press conference in Seoul to commemorate this historic milestone. The disco-pop "Dynamite" is the first song by an Asian act to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart since Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto did so with his 1963 song, "Sukiyaki," nearly 60 years ago. Furthermore, BTS is the only Asian act to debut at No. 1 (joining the Jonas Brothers and Aerosmith), and the first all-South Korean group to hold the title.
Jin, RM, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook (who celebrated his 23rd birthday just the day before), gathered to answer questions from journalists around the world, including Refinery29, about the achievement. It's one that the group had always dreamed of — a mark of true crossover success, and one of the many goals that Suga has famously manifested into existence. Via interpreter, the members shared their elation and bewilderment. “I’m still shaking,” the sunny J-Hope admitted. Rapper Suga, usually more reserved with his emotions, said that he was actually the most excited of the group. “I actually pinched myself to see if this was real. The Billboard chart was something that was really familiar to me – the songs I listened to and loved when I was little were on the chart, so I have to thank all of our fans that made all of this possible.”
When the news broke, the members expressed their elation on social media (a few were even moved to tears) and immense gratitude toward their fans, called ARMY. Thanks to the powerhouse fanbase, "Dynamite," released August 21, sold 300,000 units and 33.9 million U.S. streams in its first week according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. It's the biggest since Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" in 2017.
Vocalist and lithe dancer Jimin admitted that he stayed up crying alongside youngest Jungkook from 3 to 7 a.m., “staring at the chart and caressing our phones in our hands,” he said, laughing. Leader RM humbly called his contribution to this accomplishment “very small,” and credited the group effort by “ARMY, the other members here, all our staff, the songwriters, and members of the press.”
RM as well as soulful vocalist V both shared that this celebratory moment has caused them to feel nostalgic and reflect on the seven years of joy and struggle it took to get to where they are now. V shared a story in which his father and he traveled from their rural town of Gochang to Seoul to pursue his dream of becoming an idol, and had his first brush with big-city life: getting scammed by a taxi driver. "All the difficulties we had to go through, training...all these are now pleasant memories," he said.
When asked by a Korean journalist from OSEN why they thought “Dynamite” resonated with an American audience, RM turned contemplative, saying it’s a difficult thing to put one’s finger on. “The language and disco pop were familiar to the American public. It’s a song that’s easy to hum-along to. It doesn’t have an overarching macro-level message. Sometimes, simpler messages get across.”
Now that the band have achieved this goal, however, Suga has already set his sights on the next one. "I have to be careful with what I say…This is a lot of pressure for me,” he joked. The dynamic rapper has already gotten his wishes of a stadium tour, attending and performing at the Grammys, winning a BBMA, and more, granted. “We went to the Grammys at the beginning of the year and we did a collaboration performance [with Lil Nas X]," he said. "Now, I would like to do a single performance, just BTS on the Grammy Awards stage. It would be great to receive an award, but that’s not going to just become a reality just because we want it to. We need help from a lot of people. But just performing on the Grammy’s stage is our goal.”
In the meantime, the group is planning on releasing a new album that they each have an even bigger hand in making before the end of the year ("we really like this song, but we really like our next songs too," Jimin said), and also putting together a streamed concert. Many other plans, including a world tour, were canceled because of the pandemic.
However, the group underscored safety and health as priorities, as well as making music that brings joy to those who listen. “I would like to say in the future, ‘That was a tough year, but we did all we could, we tried our best,’” said RM. “To remember this year as that kind of year we are working hard, we are recording our performances, we are trying to do what we can do in the positions that we are in. That’s what we would like to keep doing.”

More from Music

R29 Original Series