When J-Hope joined the Lollapalooza lineup as a new headliner, the BTS member had already made history as the first Korean artist to headline a major U.S. music festival. But the star didn’t rest on those historic laurels when putting together his 70-minute set.
J-Hope’s headlining set for the famous Chicago festival — nicknamed #HOBIPALOOZA by Twitter fans since its announcement — was a more extensive representation of different aspects that make up the star. Viewers got to see J-Hope’s electrifying onstage persona, his respect for hip-hop, the social messages he believes in, his humility, and much more.
“I pour my heart and my soul into my music,” J-Hope told the crowd early into his set. “Even if we speak different languages, I hope you listen to my story.”
Get a sense of that larger story with 10 standout moments from J-Hope’s history-making set.
1. The literal Jack in the Box introduction
In J-Hope’s first major performance for Jack in the Box, the BTS star kicked off by bringing his solo album to life. After the lyrics of the album “Intro” played across the massive LED screens, fireworks shot into the Chicago night sky, and J-Hope jumped out of his own box to take centerstage of the gigantic Bud Light stage.
2. The live band opening with “More”
Already heavy on the percussion and guitar elements, the opening track “More” was uplifted with the live band backing J-Hope on his Lolla debut. With a bassist, drummer, guitarist and keyboardist behind him, #HOBIPALOOZA was that much more musically special.
3. The cursing!
J-Hope wasn’t just wiling out with his performance, but we got multiple moments where the K-pop star got playful and let his mouth run wild too. Something was so cool but cute, as the star told the crowd, “You guys are f—ing crazy” with a huge smile on his face. The affirming screams all pointed to the crowd loving it as well.
18 seconds of Hoseok cursing — a compilation because it’s so sexy pic.twitter.com/xU38EpjT89
— j-hope daily™ (@thehobiprint) August 1, 2022
4. A BTS “Cypher” moment
Some of the best moments in a BTS concert are when the group performs one of their “Cypher” tracks, which they’ve recorded since their earliest releases in 2013. J-Hope took it back to the group’s O!RUL8,2? album by performing “BTS Cypher Pt.1” for, as J-Hope said, “the older A.R.M.Y. out there.” But the crowd’s electric reaction as he began showed that everyone enjoyed the inclusion.
5. Paying respect to hip-hop greats
Throughout their careers, BTS has done a great job at showing love to the hip-hop artists that have inspired them. One of the standout tracks on Jack in the Box, “What If…,” samples the classic Ol’ Dirty Bastard single “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” and J-Hope included a tribute to the late Wu-Tang Clan rapper by showing his picture on stage as the song began.
Later in the set, after performing his solo single “Chicken Noodle Soup,” the K-pop star also shouted out DJ Webstar and Young B, the artists who originally released the song this track samples. J-Hope didn’t just make the night about himself, but about the artists that helped allow him to be on that stage.
6. The social messages in “Equal Sign”
Another standout on Jack in the Box is the anthem “=(Equal Sign)” which includes lyrics like, “Hate’ll paralyze your mind/ Gotta see the other side/ It costs ya nothin’ to be kind.” J-Hope took a mic stand to sing the song centerstage as powerful statements were shown like “All Our Bodies Deserve Respect,” “Why’s It a Crime to Be Different?” and “Let’s Come Together.”
BTS has stood apart from their peers by never shying away from important social messages. It was powerful to see J-Hope sing this track with pertinent messages for the thousands (if not millions, including the live streams) watching him live.
7. His remixed “Dynamite” return
After a quick outfit change, J-Hope popped back on stage (through his onstage jack in the box, once again) with a troupe of dancers for a choreography-heavy performance of the tropical remix to BTS’ Hot 100 No. 1 “Dynamite.” With his backup dancers and during solo moments, J-Hope got to spotlight his dance skills and reset the mood.
8. Becky G‘s surprise appearance
Becky G made a surprise appearance for J-Hope to give the first-ever live performance of their collaboration “Chicken Noodle Soup.” Becky didn’t miss a beat of the trilingual track’s playful choreography and showed why this set was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
we speak the same language, MUSIC. 💖 pic.twitter.com/xDSyhPsmnP
— Becky G. (@iambeckyg) August 2, 2022
9. Becky’s sweet speech
After their “CNS” performance, Becky G took a moment to show her appreciation for her collaborator. “As an artist, this moment right here means so much to me,” she told the crowd. “So much to me because I’m not only so honored to be here, but also so proud. I’m so proud of you, [J-Hope]; I’m so thankful for our friendship and for this opportunity.”
The tender moment culminated with a big hug between the two, who undoubtedly recognized the importance of this major festival moment as artists who don’t operate in the traditional musical mainstream.
10. Shoutouts to the band, dancers and A.R.M.Y
No one would hold it against J-Hope if he was overwhelmed with emotions or excitement by the end of his set. Still, the star showed his professionalism and humility by making sure to introduce and thank all the members of his band and his dancers, giving them a moment in the spotlight on stage. And, of course, he couldn’t end without thanking his A.R.M.Y. fans, who lit up Chicago’s Grant Park with their lightstick bongs.
Bonus: J-Hope and Jimin’s live stream afterward
After #HOBIPALOOZA and the rest of Lollapalooza officially ended, J-Hope hopped on the group’s V Live account to hold a live stream with fans and BTS member Jimin, who was in attendance in Chicago. Jimin showered his band mate with praise — including pointing out how cool he was for swearing — and the two celebrated the milestone with their fans.