Bobby (YG Entertainment)
IKON’s Bobby dropped his second solo studio album Monday. In “Lucky Man,” he sings of the diverse emotions he experienced in his youth.
“The key was threading the tracks into an agreeable story. I worked on arranging the order of the songs and the lyrics so that they could make listeners want to listen to the next song when they finish the previous song on the track list,” Bobby said during a press conference held in Seoul on Monday ahead of the album’s release.
Three years and four months since his solo debut album, “Love and Fall,” came out in 2017, Bobby said the essence of the 17-track album is the expression of the diverse emotions he experienced in his 20s.
“The main theme is the portrayal of all the bliss and sorrows people go through in youth -- falling in love with someone, enduring the agony of a breakup, overcoming the deep sorrow and making a recovery,” the 26-year-old rapper-singer said.
The album’s title reflects his appreciation, Bobby said, adding that he was “lucky to be able to feel so many different emotions” in his 20s. When asked when in his life he’d felt the luckiest, Bobby said, “My best luck in life was to be born to my parents.”
While his first full-length album as a solo artist “Love and Fall,” stressed the softer side of Bobby -- then better known for his fierceness as a rapper -- “Lucky Man” delves into the singer’s two extremes. Sometimes he’s more delicate than he appears in his first album, and at other times he’s even bolder than fans expect.
According to Bobby, while he chose “U MAD” as the album’s lead track as it best represents his charismatic side, he had considered “In THE DaRk” for the title until the very last moment.
Bobby (YG Entertainment)
“‘U MAD’ well illustrates the energy and strong charisma I show on the stage. There’s a lot of shouting and the rapping is also quite rough at times,” Bobby said. “But ‘In THE DaRk’ had been on my mind until the last stage. As implied in the title, the song had made my heart become all soft and indulge myself in my emotions when I heard it in the early morning. I couldn’t decide easily between the two songs.”
Taking part in the overall production of the album, Bobby singlehandedly wrote and produced all four skits and 13 songs on the list. He also took part in the making of the music video for the title track to make sure that it best embodied his message.
“As the key to the album was the story, the overall visuals, including my style, had to go in line with the story. I wanted to make the album as ‘Bobby-ish’ as it could be because it embraces all my emotions. I incorporated the fashion styles and hair that I usually pursue, and even the CGs used in the music video were inspired from the shapes and colors I like.”
The track list itself is also a portrayal of the album’s message, Bobby said. For instance, he placed the skits in between the tracks to convey five emotional states, while he purposefully used both capital and lowercase letters in the song titles to make people more curious about the songs.
“For example, for ‘Ur SOUL Ur BodY,’ I wanted to stress that the soul was more important than the body. They all have their meanings.”
Bobby poses for picture following "Lucky Man" press conference conducted in Seoul on Jan. 25. (YG Entertainment)
DK of iKON is featured in “Ur SOUL Ur BodY,” and Ju-ne appears in “RaiNinG.”
“The members monitored my songs often, and I felt the greatest when they empathized with him without any special explanations. For example, I was going through a hard time when I was working on ‘RaiNinG,’ which Ju-ne featured in, and he really sympathized with my feelings. Listening to the song still reminds me of the emotions I felt back then,” Bobby said. Collaborating with DK, one of his closest partners, was great as always, he added.
Ahead of his debut as a member of YG Entertainment’s hip-hop sextet iKON in 2015, Bobby had already shot to fame on Mnet’s hip-hop survival program “Show Me the Money,” ultimately becoming the final winner of the third season of 2014.
“Winning the show at a young age, I could start off my career with the confidence that I could achieve anything if I had the courage. But as I went through different stages in life and endured the time, I came to acknowledge the importance of staying humble. This realization and the confidence are, I think, what sustain me until now.”
In closing the event, Bobby said he wants to influence more people with his music.
“I hope that the emotions melted into the album can help the listeners feel closer to their own emotions, whether it be happiness or sorrow.”
With that in his heart, Bobby said his final goal with the album is to just keep striving for his best.
“Although I hope that more listeners come to enjoy my music, I also want to make music that can better deliver my thoughts to the listeners. So I’m never completely satisfied with any of my work,” he said. “I just want to live my daily life fully, trying my best, because your efforts never betray you.”
By Choi Ji-won (email@example.com