“Interpretation is the listener’s fortune. Music is made to make people move. That’s why I started working on music.”
Min Yoon-Gi, otherwise known as by his stage names Suga and Agust D, is a South Korean rapper, singer, music producer, and songwriter. He is the lead rapper and also a main lyricist/writer for BTS. After auditioning for Big Hit entertainment at the age of 18, Suga was the second member to be chosen for BTS and is the second oldest member of the group after Kim Seok-Jin.
He’s D-Boy Because He’s From D
Suga was born on March 9, 1993 in Buk-Du, Daegu, South Korea to his mother and father. He has one other sibling, an older brother named Min Jun-Ki. Very little is known about him, along with most of the other BTS members’ families for security reasons. At one moment during the BTS 3rd Muster he mentioned that he did not have long conversations with his brother. However, they do have a good relationship.
Suga’s love for music began at an early age. In the song “First Love”, he wrote about a brown piano in the corner of his childhood home, describing how at first the piano looms over him and he desires to reach out and touch the “jade-like keyboard”. While in school he even took classical music composition classes to improve his songwriting skills. He attended Taejeon Elementary School, Gwaneum Middle School, and later Apgujeong High School.
*Fun side note: On an episode of the Korean TV show “Men on a Mission” that BTS guest-starred on, Suga shared that his high school was across the street from comedian Kan Ho Dong’s house and he would see him often!*
Although classically trained, it was hiphop that truly inspired him as it was so different from “mainstream” music (Suga, such a hipster.) In 5th grade he began listening to hiphop and reggae, and after hearing the song “Fly” By Epik High, he began delving more into writing music and rapping. Unfortunately he did not receive much support from his family, who would have rather seen him focus on his studies and go to university than pursue music. Thankfully for us, he chose not to listen.
“I knew how to work with MIDI since I was 13. By 17, I started working at a music studio. I composed, wrote lyrics, and arranged for the studio… At the studio, I’d work on arranging different songs or creating new beats for sale. That’s how I naturally got into rapping and performing as well.”
Before Becoming a Bangtan Boy
Suga first broke out in the underground rap scene in Daegu, where he was a part of the hip-hop/rap group called D-Town. His original stage name at the time was GLOSS, which is his name, Yoongi, translated into English. Not only did he rap with the group, but he also began producing as well. “518-062” is famously known for being one of his first (if not the first) songs that he fully wrote and produced. He also wrote the beat for the song “Who Am I” for the rapper Reflow, who specifically sought out Suga for his talents.
“So I talked to D-Town’s beat-maker Yoongi from Daegu’s NT’s crew. I asked him to make a beat for me. And then, about a month later, I received the beat. It was exactly the beat I had wanted, so I was thrilled. So I went straight to work on it.” – Reflow, October 1, 2011.
Reflow was not the only one to recognize Suga’s talent and potential. After moving to Seoul in 2010, Suga decided to audition with Big Hit Entertainment through a hip and rap competition called “Hit It” when turned 18 years old. He made it all the way through the contest and finished in 2nd place, enrapturing his judges and eventually catching the attention of Bang Si-Hyuk, CEO of Big Hit Entertainment. He was signed on to Big Hit as a trainee and producer, and eventually was coerced by “Hitman Bang” to join BTS. Bang Si-Hyuk apparently told Suga that BTS would primarily be a hip-hop group with little to no dancing (look how that turned out).
“I moved to Seoul when I was a high school junior. It was November 7th, 2010. I still remember. I didn’t want to become a rapper, I wanted to become a composer. That’s why I joined an agency. So I thought I’d never have to dance. I could have a good rapper rap my songs. I thought I could be a producer. But…it didn’t quite turn out that way, huh? The agency also wasn’t on planning on debuting an idol group. It was meant to be a hiphop group consisting of rappers. But it didn’t wok out that way. RM, J-Hope, and I would have been that group, with Supreme Boi, Eleven, and Iron. I think if I ended up debuting with that group, I would have gotten better at rapping, but the group would have failed.”
Where There Is Hope, There Are Hardships
Those familiar with K-Pop culture know that trainees and idols must work incredibly hard to achieve success, and many suffer doing so. All seven members of BTS are no exception. K-Pop trainees are often very poor and some take on second jobs to help them pay for food and other expenses, such as school tuition, and not to mention the strict rules and schedules they must adhere to. Much to Suga’s dismay, he and his fellow band members would train 12 hours a day with dance and vocal lessons. They had (and still have, in my opinion) some of the hardest choreography out of all the other groups at the time. And the pressure was on.
During the YouTube original series “Burn The Stage” (which was later extended into a feature film of the same name), Suga revealed to his bandmates some of the hardships he had as a trainee. During that time he felt obligated to buy lottery tickets every week because he felt so helpless about his life and of his future. He also admitted to his brothers* the truth about a shoulder injury he sustained. At the time he had lied, telling them that he had fallen down a flight of stairs. The truth was he was struck by an oncoming car and went partially under the vehicle. The accident left him with a dislocated and permanently injured shoulder, but he was too terrified to tell Big Hit what had happened out of fear of retribution.
“I had the accident when I was delivering on a motorcycle. When I opened my eyes, I could see the wheels right in front of me. I got dragged into the wheels and couldn’t move because my shoulder was dislocated. … I couldn’t tell the truth because I was afraid the company might fire me. But later when I told them, the company paid for my tuition.”Suga talking about his accident in a different interview
Although his shoulder did heal, Suga was never able to move it like he used to. It also was sadly one of many struggles he has had to endure. Depression, anxiety, OCD, and body image issues have unfortunately plagued the young man for years. In his opinion, when he was younger his body was “quite large” and he worked extremely hard at exercising. After his injury, he was unable to work out, which caused him even more stress. To offset his inability to exercise Suga has spoken about going on diets to help lose weight. Even though he already was quite thin, he has said the pressures of the entertainment industry to maintain a perfect appearance are incredibly intense.
Suga is very open about his life and insecurities in the music that he writes, especially in his individual projects. In 2017 he released his solo mixtape Agust D under the same name which he fully wrote himself. In the song “The Last” he raps about a moment where he went to a psychiatrist with his parents, and reveals the depths of his struggles with mental illness. To this day mental illness is a taboo topic in Korean culture, so the fact that he wrote about it so openly was extraordinary.
“It’ll make people say ‘Oh? Did he say that? Is it ok to write these lyrics?’. There’re strong and shocking parts. Anyway I wrote all the stories that’s inside of me, so I feel relieved.”Min Yoon-Gi regarding his mixtape Agust D– Interview with Grazia magazine, September 2016
Suga’s open and heartfelt lyrics are definitely a factor in the success of not only his personal music, but for the music of BTS as a whole. He is credited with over 70 songs with the Korea Music Copyright Association and was even given the honor as a full fledged member of KOMCA in 2018 (RM, Jin, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook are associate members of the organization). While there are still some struggles and darknesses that Suga may still battle (right there with you, Yoongi), he thankfully has his music, his family (who now support him fully), 6 brothers alongside him, and the entire ARMY to give him love and support.
“시작은 미약할지언정 끝은 창대하리”
“Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.” -Agust D, “So Far Away” (Translation by Genius)
Whether it’s writing music, hanging out with his brothers, performing, or showing off his signature gummy smile, Min Yoongi will always be in integral part of BTS, the music industry as a whole, and in the hearts of ARMYs all over the world. At the time of this article’s publication, the Love Yourself era is coming to a close, but a new era of music from Suga and BTS is close on the horizon. Suga’s latest work, a collaboration with the Epik High’s Tablo for the artist Lee So Ra titled “Song Request” has topped the singles charts in over 40 countries since tis release on January 22, 2019. This latest song from Suga is just the beginning of new and incredible music that we can expect from him. Suga’s rap verse especially is a lovely sentiment that gives hope and comfort to ARMYs and listeners all over the world.
Yes, to someone, I’m springExcerpt from Suga’s rap verse in “Song Request” by Lee So Ra. Translation by Genius
To another, winter
I’m the end to someone and the start to another
I’m happiness to someone and the soul to another
A lullaby to someone and at times a noise
I’Il be with you at your birth and your end
Remember we’re always together anywhere
I’ll always console your life
So just lean on me and rest sometimes
캡짱! Fun Facts about Lil Meow Meow
- Height: 175.2 cm/ 5’9″
- Weight: 59 kg/ 130 lbs
- Blood Type: O
- Astrological sign: Pisces
- Zodiac: Rooster
- BT21 Character: Shooky, a small, magical brown cookie who hates milk. Possibly the king of the cookie, but this is unconfirmed.
- He has 5 piercings: 3 on the left ear, 2 on the right
- His stage name “Suga” came from the syllables for “shooting guard”, which was his position in basketball.
- “Suga” is also derived from the word “sugar”. CEO of Big Hit Entertainment “Hitman Bang” gave him this nickname because he is pale and his smile is sweet. Suga has said on the subject, “I got the name Suga because my skin is pale, I’m pretty when I smile, and because I’m sweet. I chose this name because I want to promote sweetly.”
- His solo stage name “Agust D” is a mix of his BTS stage name Suga and DT, spelled backwards. DT stands for for “Daegu Town” or “D-Town”, his hometown in Korea and the name of the underground rap group he started with.
- If you listen closely you can hear him say or whisper “Suga” before the beginning of his verses in many BTS songs
- Arguably the quietest and shyest member of BTS
- Has better toned legs than most girl groups (and me)
- Also is a prettier girl than me
- Many ARMY believe he is secretly fluent in English because of his facial reactions and sometimes quick responses when in interviews
- His nickname in school was 민달팽이(min dalpaeng-i) or “snail min”
- He has no tattoos and doesn’t like the idea of them, but enjoys getting henna done while on vacation
- Often wears face masks while in public, especially when traveling, but can also be seen with one tucked under his chin even in casual settings
- His “catchphrase” is “캡짱” (kaep-jjang), a compound word of “captain” (or capital) & another Korean slang “jjang” meaning “superb”. kaep(cap) + jjang = ultimately superb.
- He can do a belly wave
- He is known to wear the colognes Paco Rabanne Invictus and Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay
For all the yummy scents of the BTS men, click HERE -> https://bangtan.online/__trashed-9/
- Pets: An adorable dog named Min Holly
- Wants to be reincarnated as a rock in his next life
- Has adorable eating habits, such as sometimes making a low “nom” sound when eating lettuce wraps and scrunching his face when cracking lobster shells
- Once spent an entire day alone in his hotel room sleeping and ordering food service in Saipan
- Is extremely good at basketball, and can spin a basketball on his finger very well. He once spun a ball for 5 minutes straight!
- Wrote the song “Give it to Me” during the first season of “Bon Voyage” in Sweden
- Wrote the song “좋아요”/”I Like It” in 30 minutes
- Owns his own recording studio called “The Genius Lab”
- Is part of the BTS sub-group “Sope” with J-Hope. They are especially famous for the adorable Japanese song “Otsukare”, which they perform to lucky audiences in Japan
- Tends to wear black clothing
- Changes his hair color often, but his favorite color is black since it’s his natural color.
- Tends to yell/scream when he’s embarrassed
- Cares deeply about his brothers/band members, but doesn’t openly show it. J-Hope once teased him about his method of passing water bottles without looking at the person he’s handing it to. Suga replied by saying it was a habit he got from his father, who acted in a similar way.
- Sleeps a lot during his downtime on set and on vacation, probably due to his tendency to stay up late in his studio. He actually fell asleep while on the set for “I Need U” when their characters were supposed to be sleeping by a fire
- won his first solo award for the song “Wine” he wrote and produced for the artist Suran in 2017
- Affectionately known as “Lil Meow Meow” by ARMY because of his adorable cat-like nature and facial expressions
- Coffee drink of choice: Iced Americano
- Has a wonderful baritone singing voice, but can do a killer rendition of “Awake” and “I Need U”
- Has an extensive knowledge of different kinds of liquor, which he taught Jungkook about while on vacation in Malta
- Has a slight fear of heights, amusement park rides, and rollercoasters, but will do them anyway
- Admitted to Jungkook that took his underwear without asking, and lied to him about it. He eventually came clean about it though!
- Is EXTREMELY good at “aegyo” or acting cute. He says even though aegyo has no place in hip-hop, he’s allowed to do it.
*By “brothers” I am referring to the other members of BTS. They have lived together and worked together for so long they are more like brothers than friends! Also, in Korean culture young people to refer to friends who are older/younger than them as “older brother/sister” (hyung/noona for boys and oppa/unnie for girls) and “younger brother/sister” (dongsaeng). Friends who are the same age are the only ones who call their friends “friend”, which is “chingu”. There are specific honorifics also involved when they call each other by name, but that’s a lesson for another day.
written by Emily Stinson