JAY B Reflects On His 1st Solo EP, GOT7’s Promotions, His Love For Hip Hop, And More

GOT7’s JAY B has described his love of hip hop and his recent solo ventures in Vogue Korea’s new issue!

In addition to being GOT7’s leader and main vocal, JAY B is also known as as Def. (or Defsoul), his alternate musical persona. The name is derived from the music label Def Jam, one of the best-known hip hop labels in the world, as its soul/R&B counterpart.

Last spring, JAY B signed with H1GHR MUSIC to kick off his activities as a solo artist. JAY B commented, “At that time, I think I was thinking this. ‘I’m not a hip hop artist or an R&B artist. I’ll just be an idol who enjoys that culture.’ I wanted those to carefully merge.”

He further explained this disconnect, sharing, “When I was younger, I was a b-boy. I listened to a lot of hip hop music while dancing and I looked up and listened to a lot of funk music like James Brown. I also learned that hip hop was not just music, but a culture. I got started with music after I started liking D’Angelo. That’s why there was a period of confusion after I began my life as an idol.”

Laughing, JAY B elaborated, “If hip hop clashed with being an idol, there was even a time when I thought I was more on the hip hop side. Of course, this was in the past. Now, I don’t think there’s a reason to separate the two or pick one over the other. Instead, I think the fact that I like that culture is important, and living my own life is important. More than anything, I came to think that making ‘good music’ is most important.”

A few months after signing with H1GHR Music, JAY B released his first solo EP “SOMO:FUME,” on which he commented, “Honestly, I think it was a bit sluggish. After releasing ‘SOMO:FUME,’ I wanted to feature on various songs and release another album. But production wasn’t working out that well. Obviously if you look at it a different way, I do believe I was living busily. Because I released an album and featured [in other songs] not just as JAY B but also as Def. However, I don’t feel satisfied. I think I could’ve done more.”

When asked if his standards might be a little too high, JAY B agreed and remarked, “When I debuted as GOT7, [JYP Entertainment’s founder Park] Jin Young once said, ‘It’s most important to be long-lasting, but that’s the hardest.’ As time goes by, I keep thinking of those words. If I want to last a long time, I have to work hard and be consistent. In order not to disappoint people, I have to work hard. I have to be consistent for people to continue seeing my work.”

Reflecting on his group promotions with GOT7, JAY B commented, “It was a time when I tried to responsibly and diligently do what I had to do from my position, while simultaneously trying to do well at things I wanted to do from time to time. Because while I was promoting as GOT7, I also released multiple mixtapes as Def. If anything, it might’ve been a time where I had to more diligently do the work I had to do in order to be able to do the work I wanted to do.”

“For starters, I’m going to continue with GOT7 promotions in the future too,” JAY B added. “Because we have not disbanded. Also, I’ve decided to work with CDNZA Records for my future solo promotions. Regardless of genre, I want to make good music. I will show you projects that both me and my agency think is good music!”

Earlier this week, JAY B made a comeback with his digital single “Rocking Chair.” JAY B’s full feature will be available in the September issue of Vogue Korea.

Watch JAY B in “Dream High 2” with subtitles here!

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