8 Lyrics From J-Hope’s “Jack In The Box” That Embody His Core Message

Following the release of the “Hope World” mixtape in 2018, fans have been eagerly awaiting J-Hope’s official solo debut, and their wait has been generously rewarded as his first full album “Jack In The Box” saw the light of day on July 15. The album was preceded by the pre-release single “MORE” and contains nine other tracks including “Arson,” which serves as the title track. According to Big Hit Music, this album is very personal as it represents the rapper’s aspirations to “break the mold and grow further” and encapsulate his vision as an artist.

With the artist being heavily involved in writing his songs, here are eight lyrics from “Jack In The Box” that embody J-Hope’s core message.

Credits to Genius for English translations. 

1. “Pandora’s Box”

“Someone’s light, someone’s smile
Someone’s hope, my activities are someone’s life
Time flows as the name says, someone’s star
The motto and vibes generated from my soul being refined
So I submitted my resume, finally
The first leap, hope world, the inevitability that was necessary
Keep dreaming of progress
‘What’s my path?’
‘What do I have to say?’
Just keep on doing my thang”

The track’s title refers to the Greek myth about a box that Pandora opened, which released all evil unto the world and left behind hope at the very bottom of the box. J-Hope is hinting at his monicker in this track and continues to describe himself, highlighting how his presence and music can affect others in a positive light. All of this encourages him to keep making music that brings hope to the world. It seems that the rapper is further embracing his essence as an artist who brings hope to the world in many ways, which is definitely something that fans can connect with as they themselves would feel immense hope through these lyrics.

2. “MORE”

“Self-learning for eleven years
My highlighting’s my art of learning
Endless studying
I crash and fall to make my art
Still make it move from where I stand
Make it mine, make it right
Somebody’s favorite song again
That’s half my life, the reason for living, the joy of life
Motivated to carry on (Skrrt!)”

J-Hope narrates the process of crafting his art, which started long before his debut, and it is currently still a work in progress. He mentions the struggles he encountered as he works hard to make music that represents him, all while appealing to the general public. Furthermore, he emphasizes on the fact that making the right music is what he lives for and keeps fighting for. Our fresh soloist clearly cares deeply for his art and works hard to make more throughout his musical journey without losing sight of his ambitions nor the audience’s expectations. J-Hope surely knows what it takes to make music that would outlive him.

3. “STOP”

“It’s hateful and wild, but think about it one more time
How are they all alike, and how are they all the same?
The core essence can’t be changed, so realize it, and be myself
A single belief dominates me
‘There are no bad people in the world'”

Being his hopeful self, J-Hope points out all the bad in the world while questioning how people can all show the same negative behaviors. He interrupts his question with the realization that one’s core remains unchanged, thus calming his roaming thoughts. The rapper is full of hope indeed as he believes that despite all the bad in the world, there are no bad people in it.

4. “= (Equal Sign)”

“Thе world is wide
But people have a very narrow mind
It doesn’t have to be the same
Why is being different a sin?
Beyond age
Beyond gender
Across the borders
Maybe it’s like homework for everyone
Awaken them that it is just a difference
Not something to discriminate against
Starting with myself
You must know that the victims of prejudice
Are none other than ourselves”

Spreading hope also means spreading peace, and equality contributes heavily to it. The rapper is fully aware of the discrimination that sadly still infiltrates our daily lives from racism all the way to ageism and homophobia, and he strongly condemns it. He also calls for a self-assessment against all sorts of prejudice, which can be understood as an invitation to eliminate the stigmas that make others subconsciously contribute to something that they should instead stand united against.

5. “What if…”

“I asked myself dozens of times
Am I really like that?
Hopeful, optimistic, always with a smile on my face
I just thought that was just something I could do
So my music, my speech, my feel
I made it myself
But, I wonder
I ask J-Hope
‘if you were me, can you keep on doing those things you said?'”

J-Hope has a heart-to-heart with his persona, wondering whether his character truly embodies hope or if it was something that he acquired as a brand and eventually embraced as his own. By wondering “What if?” the artist also questions whether his music would be affected if he is no longer the beam of sunshine he is always known as. These lyrics indicate an existential crisis that can impact one’s fate both as an individual and as a musician.

6. “Safety Zone”

“Where is the ray of light for relief in the dark?
A peaceful home? Or is it a distant blue?
Where’s my safe zone?
Left, right, go straight?
What’s my safe zone?
Here? Over there? or X?”

As a symbol of hope, one can consider J-Hope as a safety zone. However, the artist himself is looking for his own safety zone in the midst of darkness. Being the giver in the narrative, his lyrics communicate the need to get his comfort and hope from an external source. The fact that he incessantly wonders in the chorus tells us that he is still looking for his own relief, all while incessantly providing his surroundings with all sorts of solace.

7. “Future”

“I can just decide on my own
Something that cannot be decided (Future)
The closer you get, the scarier it gets
It’s hard to endure alone (Future)
Man, you must go with the flow
Let’s just go with the flow (Future)
Looks like I need it too
Betting on courage, faith, and hope”

The future is scary, and while J-Hope’s future is secured now, it wasn’t always the case. Between his rhymes, he walks us through the hardship he encountered when making decisions that could impact his life in the long term. Arming himself with courage, faith, and hope, the artist perseveres in the present in order to create a viable future. This is yet again a message that lines up with J-Hope’s outlook on life as a person and a musician, and it brings his listeners the needed boost to carry out their own futures.

8. “Arson”

“I shower in petrol (Oh)
To set a fire (Oh)
On my feet, on my legs (Oh)
Even hotter, run my way (Oh)
Records heating up (Oh)
My popularity at the top (Ayy)
And up goes my born haters (Ayy)
Horns that ring every time (Woo)
But even this, I like (Woo)
‘Cause with my fans
With my label
With my fellaz
We burn bright together
All day”

In this track, J-Hope literally brings the expression “Being on fire” to life. Using well-thought-out wordplay, he puts his passion on display as he gives homage to his dancing, singing, and popularity being the fruit of his burning passion. He serves a blazing one-liner as an ode to his friends, label, and fans for shining bright alongside him.

Which lyric from “Jack In The Box” do you think represents J-Hope the most? Let us know in the comments below!

Esmee L. is a Moroccan lively dreamer, writer, and Hallyu enthusiast.

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