BTS Defies Expectations With J-Hope’s ‘Outro: Ego’

Based on the first two songs from BTS’s upcoming album Map of the Soul: 7, many assumed the album would have a dark concept. On Feb. 3, BTS released the album’s newest comeback trailer featuring J-Hope. “Outro: Ego” definitively proved that BTS’s Map of the Soul: 7 is not a dark album, it’s an introspective one. The album will cover all of BTS’s challenges and triumphs from the past seven years.

BTS Outro: Ego J-Hope
J-Hope of BTS | Rich Fury/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

The comeback trailer is the outro for ‘Map of the Soul: 7’

Map of the Soul: Persona did not have an official outro, making Map of the Soul: 7 a continuation of the messages from the first album of the series.  For Map of the Soul: Persona, RM had “Intro: Persona.” The first song released from Map of the Soul: 7 was Suga’s “Interlude: Shadow.” J-Hope’s “Outro: Ego” completes the journey of Carl Jung’s teachings.

According to Jung, the Persona is a person’s outward mask that they present to the world. With the Persona, one often hides their true self or conforms to a public image. RM explored this concept in “Intro: Persona” as did the members of BTS with Map of the Soul: Persona.

The Shadow is the animal side of a person’s personality, and it contains both “creative and destructive energies.” In “Interlude: Shadow” Suga grappled with the destructive side his Shadow brings, but acknowledged that he must coexist with it.

To Jung, the Ego represents someone’s conscious mind and helps one discover who they are. The Ego centers around identity, and that is the concept J-Hope tackled with “Outro: Ego” in the comeback trailer.

Because each rapper covered a different concept in an intro, interlude, and outro, Map of the Soul: 7 could be in a sort of chronological order. As the members of BTS explore Jung’s concepts about discovering one’s true Self, they will also reflect on their own journey as artists.

BTS references their past with ‘Outro: Ego’

“Outro: Ego” is filled with multiple references to BTS’s past. A sample from BTS’s first ever comeback trailer played at the beginning. This once again reinforced the idea that BTS is revisiting their past with Map of the Soul: 7.

“Intro: Persona” sampled “Intro: Skool Luv Affair” from BTS’s 2014 EP SKOOL LUV AFFAIR. “Interlude: Shadow” sampled “Intro: O!RUL8,2?” from BTS’s 2013 EP of the same name. “Outro: Ego” referenced BTS’s debut album 2 COOL 4 SKOOL

As J-Hope drove a car in the comeback trailer, the license plate read “BTS 13613.” This references BTS’s debut date from 2013. At the beginning of the trailer, short clips of BTS’s previous music videos played.

J-Hope references his own past in BTS’s ‘Outro: Ego’

The comeback trailer references J-Hope’s past in addition to referencing BTS’s past. During one part of the music video, J-Hope recreates poses from his childhood photos as the photos play behind him.

“Life not of J-Hope but Jeong Ho-seok flashes by,” he says as the childhood pictures appear.

The song also features J-Hope’s quintessential style, and “Outro: Ego” sounds like it could fit with his 2018 mixtape, Hope World. With the song’s lyrics, J-Hope reflects on his journey as a dancer and with BTS.

“Seven years of anguish come out finally / Oppressions all resolved / Into my heart come answers from my most trusted,” he says.

The song also features a blatant reference to the Kingsman film franchise. The members of BTS have been fans of the franchise for years. In 2019, they performed a Kingsman-themed set of “Dionysus” at the 2019 KBS Song Festival, meaning the performance was a comeback hint all along.

The song is an upbeat culmination of J-Hope’s journey

Given that “Outro: Ego” is the finale of Map of the Soul: 7, it seems the album could become more optimistic as the tracklist continues. While “Outro: Ego” differs in visuals and tone, it’s still just as introspective as “Interlude: Shadow” and “Black Swan.”

“That way, way, way / Wherever my way / Only Ego, Ego, Ego / Just trust myself / Way I trust / Became my fate / Became my core / Hard it was / And sad it was / Still reassured and / Made me know myself,” the official lyric translation reads.

“Outro: Ego” references the sadness and hardships it took to get to this point. As J-Hope revisits his past memories and reflects on his personal and professional journey, he acknowledges in “Outro: Ego” that he is more assured of himself.

With “Outro: Ego,” J-Hope makes a choice. Instead of following the road signs, he chooses his own fate. This culminates with the final shot of the music video showing J-Hope overlooking a sparkling city. He’s reached his destination, and “My Way,” “ARMY,” “Trust Myself,” and “Hope” are projected all over the city. If “Outro: Ego” is the culmination of the journey, Map of the Soul: 7 will be the road that takes BTS there.