Who said two legends can’t coexist? J. Cole and j-hope, two superstars in their respective music spaces, have linked up for hope’s new single “on the street” which marks a full-circle moment for the BTS singer.
Hope has idolized Cole since the beginning of his career, covering his track “Born Sinner” on his own song “Born Singer” in 2013, which was officially released on BTS’ project Proof last year after Cole cleared the sample. Suga of BTS explained how grateful the K-Pop group as a whole was for the rapper in an interview with WeVerse Magazine, saying, “I wasn’t even sure it would be possible, since the original song is so famous, but J. Cole gave us permission. I want to tell him how grateful I am.”
From paying homage to Cole’s stage name and early albums to name-dropping him on his own music and covering his songs, j-hope has consistently shown love to the North Carolina rapper, and that admiration has now manifested itself into an elite song.
Below, we outlined how j-hope has been paying homage to J. Cole since the very beginning of his career, illustrating how their special collaboration was fated from the start.
2013: Similarities in Stage Names
It’s no coincidence that j-hope and J. Cole have similar stage names. j-hope’s real name is Jung Ho-seok, but his stage name is very similar to Cole’s. Hope also pays homage to Cole in different ways across his discography, from naming his debut mixtape as a solo artist in 2018 Hope World after Cole’s debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story, to name-dropping him in his 2014 song “Hip Hop Phile.”
2013: BTS Pays Homage to Cole on Their Song “Born Singer”
One of the most notable ways j-hope and the rest of the BTS gang have shown their admiration to the Dreamville head honcho was on their song “Born Singer” which is basically a cover of Cole’s memorable title track off his sophomore album, Born Sinner. “Born Singer” is actually one of BTS’ earliest songs, with the group releasing the track a month after their official debut. The song was not available on DSPs until Cole cleared the sample in 2022 and BTS included it on their recent project Proof. The chorus for the song mimics “Born Sinner” as well, using clever play-on-words to illustrate the group’s rise to the top. “I’m a born singer, just a bit late to confess, I swear/There’s a mirage right here always far from me,” the English translation reads.
2022: J. Cole and j-hope Meet at Lollapalooza
The two superstars met for the first time backstage at Lollapalooza this past July. The footage of the fated encounter was included as a part of the promotional material for Hope’s latest album, Jack in the Box. The video shows Hope visibly excited to meet his idol, and Cole showing him the same love in return.
“I loved your mixtape Friday Night Lights,” Hope says, going on to express his admiration for Cole’s old song “Higher.” Immediately after meeting, Hope shared a picture of the two on Instagram, captioning it, “Hope World Meets Cole World.”
2023: j-hope Says J. Cole Inspired Him to Become an Artist
In an interview with WeVerse Magazine last month, Hope spoke about how Cole inspired him to want to pursue music. “I guess his music motivated me like, ‘I should make my music in a certain way,’” Hope said in the interview. “As I started making my music, he was my muse; and I still do respect him. He’s one of the artists I hope to work with.”
Hope named his 2018 mixtape Hope World after Cole’s debut studio album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, and also name-dropped the rapper on his 2014 song “Hip Hop Phile,” singing, “Hope hope world, before I built my own world, there was Cole world.” Now, Hope has fulfilled his own prophecy by working with one of his idols.
2023: hope and Cole Join Forces for “On The Street”
j-hope lived out every stan’s dream when he revealed that he and J. Cole had joined forces for his latest single, “On The Street.” The singer announced the collaboration on his Instagram. The new song is special because it feels authentic to both artists, with Hope delivering smooth melodies in a fusion of English and Korean, and before Cole unpacks his own impactful verse. “I’m deep in with this rappin’, it’s all a nigga know/I never did nothin’ better, it’s hard to let it go/But like a father watching his daughter/Walk down the altar with tears in his eyes/You gotta let her grow,” he raps, seemingly hinting at a possible retirement. Cole didn’t mail in these bars, and the accompanying music video demonstrates the newfound bond the two global superstars now share.