A Map Of The Soul: Persona Syllabus To Help Wrap Your Brain Around BTS’ New Album

With the release of Map of the Soul: Persona fast approaching, now seems like a good time to remind the general public that BTS have more to offer than their colorful visuals, sharp performances, and charming personalities. In fact, ask any fan of the Korean septet and they’ll probably tell you how they’ve spent the weeks leading up to Persona‘s release on April 12 brushing up on the psychological theories of Carl Jung, Greek mythology, French, Singin’ in the Rain, and art history, all while combing through the dozens of cryptic clues and callbacks sprinkled throughout the Bangtan Universe. (Yes, they even have their own fictional narrative.)

If you’re wondering what all of this has to do with BTS, then you clearly haven’t been paying attention to what really draws people from all over the world — of all different ages, genders, and ethnicities — to their diverse discography. More specifically, the deeper themes, subjects, and messages within their music. Because when you become an ARMY, you practically enroll in higher education. And you don’t need to understand Korean to see how RM invokes the spirit of American actor Gene Kelly in the latest “Boy With Luv” teaser, or the parallel between their fruitful concept photos and the Greek god Dionysus.

Still, there’s a lot to unpack with this comeback (or, new release). Whether you’re a new ARMY looking for a crash course in Bangtan or a longtime fan who simply needs help wrapping your brain around the difference between persona and shadow, this primer is for you.

What does Map of the Soul: Persona even mean?

As artists, BTS are extremely calculated and detail-oriented. (Leader RM and vocalist Jungkook are both Virgos, so there’s a lot of Type A energy in this group.) So it should come as no surprise that they’ve been constructing a meticulously-plotted visual narrative since 2015 — the threads of which are sewn throughout their music videos. The story follows seven young men whose devastating fates are intertwined, and the one who’s given a chance to save his friends by going back in time.

Now, what does this have to do with Map of the Soul: Persona? We’ll get to that in a bit, but for now it’s important to know just how far ahead BTS plan their releases. Because Persona was actually teased on a shirt during a live performance of “DNA” back in 2017. BTS dropped even more clues in the music video for vocalist Jin’s 2018 solo number “Epiphany” — “in the end,” the ending script reads in Korean, “what I have to find is that which is the beginning of all things, the milestone: the map of the soul” — and during the group’s performance at the Mnet Asian Music Awards last December with a brief vignette that read: “You gave me power. You gave me love. So now I’m a hero, so now I’m a boy with love. I’ll show you the map of the soul. I’ll show you the dream.”

So, what is this map of the soul referring to? Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. (Again, BTS are more than seven handsome faces!) It’s specifically referring to a book by Murray Stein, titled Jung’s Map Of The Soul, which is even being sold in their Korean management company’s online store. In the video for “Intro: Persona,” RM is confronted with many different versions of himself, while words like “persona,” “shadow,” and “ego” are seen scribbled on a classroom chalkboard behind him. This is a direct reference to Jung’s theories.

According to Jung, persona is how we present ourselves to the world; it’s our public image, or the mask we wear to conceal our true nature. “The persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is,” Jung wrote. Masks have played a crucial part in BTS’ artistic vision, from the “Fake Love” music video to vocalist V’s solo single “Singularity” to their 2019 Golden Disc Awards performance, in which they all removed physical masks in dramatic fashion.

Ultimately, Persona will find BTS, now all in their early and mid-20s, grappling with questions of identity and self. As RM boldly asks in his scorching intro track, “Who the hell am I?” Of course, it’s only the first part in a larger journey of self-discovery, as BTS could explore Shadow and Ego in future releases — the “shadow” representing the dark side of your personality and “ego” representing the center of your consciousness. These parts of the psyche make up your identity, or Self.

But before BTS can move forward, they have to look back.

“Boy With Luv”

For fans, the group’s forthcoming single with singer Halsey, titled “Boy With Luv,” is nostalgic. Not only does the title nod to their 2014 single “Boy In Luv” but the point choreography seen in the teasers is also similar.

Then there’s the fact that “Intro: Persona” samples the group’s 2014 song, “Intro: Skool Luv Affair.” When BTS debuted as a group of teens in 2013, they made music that spoke to their generation; their “School Trilogy” examined the societal pressures and anxieties young people endure at the hands of an apathetic government and their own confusing emotions. Now, nearly six years later, BTS are still asking Big Questions — but they have the advantage of hindsight.

Back then, they were boys in love who acted out, sometimes aggressively, when their feelings were not reciprocated; now, they’re boys with love, whose love comes from within.

By revisiting this very distinct place in their past, BTS are reflecting on an uncertain time others in their position would probably want to forget, or at least ignore. In doing so, they’re acknowledging that they can’t change the past — but they can learn from it.

At the end of the Love Yourself highlight reel (released in 2017), Jin seems to hint at this: “If we could turn back the clock, where should we go back to? Once we reach that place, can all our mistakes and errors be undone? Will happiness be ours to stay? Though many seasons pass, there are places that cannot be reached. Yet another storm to be faced and to be weathered head-on. Living without fear, hesitating and parting. Merely living as the person I am.” Interestingly enough, RM refers to his shadow as “hesitation” in “Intro: Persona.”

“Dionysus”

The Persona track list also features a few clues, including one track that was seemingly inspired by Greek mythology. The god Dionysus is often associated with wine and theater. (Depending on who you ask, he’s also responsible for bringing wine to Asia.) As a potential nod to the god of wine, some of the album’s concept photos feature certain members posing with grapes. While the grapes are obvious, there’s also a connection between Dionysus and Jung.

Given his interests, Dionysus was known to free people from their inhibitions, and in Greek theater this earned him the reputation of being called the “masked god.” Essentially, you’re not yourself when you drink, so the “mask” in this case symbolizes another (more inebriated) extension of yourself. Because of Dionysus’s passion for drink and art — and his unconventional upbringing — it made him a bit of an outsider among the gods. Do BTS view themselves as outsiders? We’ll have to wait and see.

“Jamais Vu”

In addition to a Korean-language song named after a Greek god, one of the cuts on the album is titled after a French saying: “Jamais Vu.” (BTS truly transcend all cultures.) It translates to “never seen” and the phrase describes the eerie phenomenon in which you react to something as though you’ve never experienced it before, despite the fact that you have. For example: There will be times when I type the word “lent” and thoroughly convince myself that it is not a real word, when, in fact, it is.

What does this have to do with BTS? Honestly, I have no idea. Of course astute ARMYs already have theories, and once again it all goes back to the group’s Skool Luv Affair era. If “Intro: Persona” and “Boy With Luv” are directly linked to songs on their 2014 album, then it’s possible “Jamais Vu” is, too.

Singin’ in the Rain

Hidden in plain sight in the first teaser for “Boy With Luv” is a movie poster for the 1952 movie musical Singin’ in the Rain. The second teaser reveals even more nods to the classic film, including an entire set piece, dance sequence, and RM’s homage to Gene Kelly.

Maybe BTS are just big fans of Singin’ in the Rain. That’s certainly possible. But remember the time travel narrative I promised we’d revisit? Well, here we are. Without going too much into detail — in addition to the music videos, there’s an entire BTS webtoon you can read to catch up — we know that Jin is the one who’s been given a chance to save his friends with the ability to travel back in time, but he mysteriously keeps going back to one day in particular: April 11.

And for those of you without encyclopedic knowledge of movie musicals from the 1950s, Singin’ in the Rain was originally released on April 11, 1952. Pure coincidence or masterfully designed? That’s for you to decide, or for BTS to reveal.

Then again, part of the fun is how little the group does reveal about their own fictional universe. It’s a Choose Your Own Adventure novel of sorts, open to interpretation — not unlike the group’s music. BTS never tell the listener what to think or how they should go about thinking it; instead, they share their own coming-of-age stories with those who need to hear it most. You don’t need a psych degree to understand that.

P!nk Swims In The Perilous Rivers Of Relationship Nostalgia In ‘Can We Pretend’

Nostalgia is quite a phenomenon. It’s why we prefer older sitcoms and cartoons to current ones. Aside from being probably funnier, we unconsciously soak in the atmosphere surrounding them so we’re not just thinking of our favorite actors and trademark catchphrases. We’re obsessed with the pop culture environment and that sense of freedom that eludes us because, let’s face it, being younger, no matter what age, often amounts to more freedom. P!nk‘s new single is “Can We Pretend” and its all about this kind of nostalgia. But in this instance, it’s for a decomposed relationship. By living in a nostalgic world removed from reality, can it be brought back to life?

Can you pretend? Because if you can, I will. P!nk’s upbeat record is airy and cheery, even if its a bit darker than what it sounds like as she asks the question. It also has a tambourine that doesn’t quit. Her opening verse is heartwarming and a vivid picture of her past. Dancing on tables and taking meaningless pictures are images that become plastered in the skull. Her chorus yanks those memories out of her brain and slaps them on the table in front of her partner. “So can we pretend that I’m twenty-two today?” she asks. “Can we pretend that we all end up okay?” she sings lovingly to the backdrop of the energetic, saccharine beat. There’s even a slight nod to how she feels about the commander-in-chief. “Can we pretend that we both like the president?” she pleads, a hint of a grin in her voice.

“Can We Pretend” is the third single released ahead of her forthcoming studio album Hurts 2B Human that drops on April 26. The first two songs released from it were “Walk Me Home” and “Hustle.”

Listen to the upbeat tune up above.

Maggie Rogers On Giving Yourself Permission To Still Be Processing

By Sara Radin

Maggie Rogers was not prepared nor planning for fame. In fact, one could say it’s something that happened to her, all thanks to a viral video from 2016 of Pharrell Williams delightfully listening to her song “Alaska.” At that time, Rogers was a senior attending New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, but found herself struggling with a period of writer’s block. In January 2019, she explained to The New York Times, “All my teachers were really frustrated with me.” Having spent time working for music journalist Lizzy Goodman and interning at publications such as Elle and Spin, Rogers contemplated a career in music journalism as a last resort.

“I’ve never heard anyone like you before,” Pharrell, then an NYU artist-in-residence, tells Rogers in the video. “That’s a drug for me.” The song she played for the famed musician that fateful day had only been drafted in 15 minutes but it still received millions of views and immediately thrust the singer-songwriter into the spotlight. Now, three years later, the folkie pop singer has released her debut album Heard It In a Past Life and gone on multiple tours (including one with Mumford & Sons), bringing her candescent, warm spirit to cities across the U.S. and U.K.

Yet despite her many accolades, sold-out shows, and hit singles, Rogers seems to present herself in a way that’s distinct from most pop stars today: Until recently she styled herself for all of her public appearances, she likes to shares bits of her process on social media, and has been incredibly open about the challenge of navigating virality you didn’t ask for and the highs and lows of being a public figure. In this way, she embodies a refreshing sense of approachability, making her feel almost within reach — like that friend of a friend you see out at parties sometimes who is always really kind and has cool style.

These days, as Rogers rises further into the spotlight, she remains humble and authentic, showing her fans that it’s OK to not have all the answers while also reminding them of their humanity in everything that she does. A few days before her big Coachella performance and three years after “Alaska” first spread like wildfire, the rising singer tells MTV News why she loves glitter, her latest self-care purchase — a pillow — and the importance of processing.

MTV News: I really appreciate how honest you’ve been about being unprepared for the spotlight and not having control over your song and story going viral. How did you work your way back to being yourself after going through that experience?

Maggie Rogers: I don’t know if it was coming back to being myself. I feel like I’ve been myself the whole time. It’s just think that every time you’re in a new situation you’re forced to work through new variables. The challenge for me was processing this intense amount of information and energy coming my way and then trying to really sit down and make decisions that felt like me. I had to take a second to validate everything I was feeling and give myself permission to feel all these things and then use that to fuel my art.

MTV News: Do you ever have any regrets over not being a music journalist?

Rogers: Not these days. When you’re super passionate about something you’re more willing to do all of the grunt work. You know, like, I’m so willing to live on a bus for my whole life because that means I get that one moment on stage or that one moment in the studio that totally fills me. I didn’t have that for journalism but it made me really appreciate what I had with music that much more. I still love writing, talking to other artists, and thinking about music and culture. That is very much a part of my life, my creative practice, and the way that I think about the world. [Journalism] is just not my primary passion. I feel really lucky and grateful that I get to make my primary passion my real life.

MTV News: How do you navigate long periods of writer’s block and do you have any tips for getting through it?

Rogers: I’ve always used music to tell me who I am in a singular moment and I’ve only had one long period of writer’s block in my life, which was when I was in college, when I moved from the super rural area in Maryland to New York City. Like most people in college, I just wasn’t really sure who I was. I was changing, and tried to take the time to notice that change. Now, whenever I’m having trouble with writing it usually has to do with my self-critic being too loud so I’ve made a lot of effort to try and separate the process of creating and editing because I think if you’re trying to edit as you’re making stuff, you’ll just end up getting in your own way.

MTV News: What kind of things do you do for your self-care when you’re on the road?

Rogers: Self-care is something I’m learning a lot about right now. I’ve been trying out different things on the road to feed my brain, my body and my soul. I spend a lot of time reading and try to make sure that I can get a little bit of alone time every day. I’ve always measured a good day as one where I can read, write, and run. Recently, I bought myself a pillow for the bus from Bed Bath & Beyond, and that’s been a game changer. I also invested in a Bluetooth speaker because I don’t know where my home really is right now, but wherever I am living, there’s always been a record player and I love having music around me.

MTV News: Do you have any weird or unexpected pre-concert or pre-tour rituals?

Rogers: Everybody wants to hear the weird stuff, but I just do normal things like a vocal warm up. I try and hydrate. I tell my band I love them. Oh, and then, I put some glitter on.

MTV News: You seem to really love glitter. Are you still styling yourself or public appearances and how do you decide what you want to wear for different performances?

Rogers: I just started working with a new stylist but she hasn’t styled me for anything publicly yet. Dressing for the stage is something I’m really still learning. I’ve been through periods of time where I’ve worn really elaborate, colorful costumes but a lot of that had to do with the fact that I was really scared and overwhelmed. Then I went to a place where I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but suddenly my daily clothes felt like a costume. So now I wear some kind of hybrid. It’s constantly evolving but I love being playful on stage. With glitter, it’s just so silly and there’s this sort of middle-school sleepover element that I like to incorporate into my stage life. It’s not everyday you get to be a pop star.

MTV News: In all of your music videos and the videos I’ve seen of you performing on stage it seems like you’re really letting go and that’s what your music inspires me to do for myself.

Rogers: Sometimes you just need to dance it out and physically move through things. It’s been special to see people at these shows really let go. Everyone knows what it’s like to feel sad and everybody is going through their own shit. And sometimes it’s just nice to be with a group of people together in a room and feel things at the same time.

MTV News: So how does it feel to be selling out venues you never dreamed you’d play at?

Rogers: It is very surreal. I’m very much still processing all of that. Everything is moving quickly but I’m so excited and grateful.

MTV News: What do you like most about being on tour?

Rogers: Touring is really hard. I mean, I live in a bus with 12 people and we have no real sleep schedule. But being able to see that moment at the end of the night where people are really radiating and moving through some things makes me feels like I’m doing some kind of energy work in the world and that is pretty fulfilling.

Brockhampton’s Kevin Abstract Stretches His Creative Fingers On Arizona Baby

Kevin Abstract is one of rap group BROCKHAMPTON‘s founding members. Fans have fallen in love with the way that his heavy voice floats on beats and how open and vulnerable he is about his personal life on wax. It’s always a joy when he graces the track with his unique brand of lyricism so his new release, ARIZONA baby brings triple the euphoria. Released today, his new project, based on recent teases, could be the first of three newly released bodies of work from Abstract or BROCKHAMPTON itself.

It’s often a cliche when someone says that no two songs of an artist sound the same, but when you listen to BROCKHAMPTON’s wildly theatrical music – that could be divided into genres within the hip-hop spectrum – it’s a fact. Abstract undoubtedly is a large reason for this, being that he’s the group’s frontman and public face. But this brief throng reinforces this creativity in the vast expanse of musical estate covered in its three songs, “Big Wheels,” “Joy Ride,” and “Georgia.” “Big Wheels” sounds like a nightmarish world of corded phones and slightly open closet doors in the dead of the night. “Joy Ride” is a drive through pink and orange skies on Mars during a scorching summer. “Georgia” is smooth, sexy and melodic, exposing a different side of the sharp-tongued emcee than we’ve seen previously. Each song is separate and doesn’t exist in the same world.

Abstract recently posted a mysterious picture to Instagram with three numbers: 11th, 18th, and 25th. It’s clear that since he released the project on April 11 that these two other dates will most likely correspond to release periods or announcements at the least. What’s coming next? More Abstract? Or more BROCKHAMPTON? They’ve been pretty quiet since last year’s iridescence

For the time being, avoid driving yourself into a frenzy over this speculation by listening to ARIZONA baby up above.

Lizzo Scored Ariana Grande’s Approval With Her Flawless ‘7 Rings’ Cover

At this point, we should probably just expect Lizzo to absolutely crush every single cover she attempts, right? Just one day after wowing the world with her emotional take on Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow,” the “Juice” singer is back at it with her spin on one of the year’s biggest pop hits. That’d be Ariana Grande‘s flex anthem “7 rings,” which is pretty much a natural fit for the always-fabulous Lizzo.

Performing on Elvis Duran Live on Wednesday (April 10), Lizzo tweaked the lyrics to Ari’s chart-topping single to give it even more swag: “You like my hair? New weave, just bought it!” She even provided her own percussion while belting the final chorus and asserting, “I want it, I got it” with plenty of bite behind it.

After seeing the cover for herself, Grande shared her approval, writing on her Instagram Story, “this made my whole day. @lizzobeeating i love u so much.” Both artists are performing at Coachella this weekend, and you can bet Lizzo will be rocking along to “7 rings” when Ari takes the stage for her headlining set on Sunday night. It would only be right.

ScHoolboy Q And Travis Scott Are Impeccably Dressed Showmen In New ‘CHopstix’ Video

ScHoolboy Q‘s hypnotic new collab with Travis Scott, “CHopstix,” is something you’d probably expect to hear in a nightclub or a strip club. But for the track’s official video, released on Wednesday (April 10), Q subverted expectations by taking the opposite approach and getting sophisticated as hell.

The black-and-white, Nabil-directed vid opens on Q getting his shoes shined inside an ornate theater, sporting a P.T. Barnum-esque tuxedo. When he takes the stage in front of an equally formal crowd, Scott’s already there, wearing a coat with tails and conducting an orchestra alongside a choir and a troupe of ballet dancers. You’ve never seen Q and Scott put on a show this tame — it might be the only time someone in a top hat has ever said, “fuck so good, that’s talent” — and you probably never will again. Even more exciting, you get to hear what the track sounds like with some violins thrown in, which somehow works.

The “CHopstix” video follows ScHoolboy Q’s Elon Musk-trolling visual for “Numb Numb Juice,” which arrived late last month. Both singles are expected to appear on the TDE rapper’s long-awaited follow-up to 2016’s Blank Face, which he previously said is coming “very, very, very soon.”

Avicii’s First Posthumous Song, ‘SOS,’ Comes With A Touching, Fan-Centric Video

Avicii‘s new single “SOS” has arrived, nearly one year after his death at the age of 28.

The new track marks the first single from the Swedish producer’s upcoming posthumous album, Tim, and features production by Avicii, Album Nedler, and Kristoffer Fogelmark. Aloe Blacc, who previously worked with Avicii on the 2013 smash “Wake Me Up,” provides the emotional vocals. “Can you hear me? SOS / Help me put my mind to rest,” he sings against a bed of synths. “I can feel your love pulling me up from the underground.”

“SOS” was accompanied by a poignant music video that features messages from fans who wrote about how Avicii and his music touched their lives. The vid’s description explains, “This video is our way of saying thank you for all of your love and support.”

In another video about the making of “SOS,” Blacc said of the single, “I feel like ‘SOS’ was a song that was probably ahead of its time for when he wrote it. He wrote these lyrics, obviously, about some of his battles and I think it’s a really important topic to approach and to share, especially with his visibility and his access to ears and hearts. To give people the words and to be able to say, ‘I need help.'”

Tim arrives on June 6 and is comprised of music that Avicii was working on before his untimely death in April 2018. All proceeds from the record will go to the nonprofit founded in his name, the Tim Bergling Foundation, which works to prevent mental illness and suicide.

Check out the “SOS” making-of video below.

Kaytranada And VanJess Make Breaking Up A Celebration On ‘Dysfunctional’

If you’ve ever wondered what a night on the town sounds like, Kaytranada and Nigerian sister duo VanJess‘ new collaboration, “Dysfunctional” authentically answers that question. For the producer’s first new music since last year’s EP NOTHIN LIKE U/CHANCES, he wisely taps into the feeling that you get when standing outside of the nightclub waiting to get in and the slight feeling of euphoria when another round of drinks is downed in the company of friends.

There’s one thing that’s immediately apparent; Kaytranada’s mastery of groovy bass equals his knowledge of synths. They fit together like pieces of a complex puzzle here for a Rube Goldberg mechanism of a beat, one that’s tailor-made for club runs in the Upper West Side area of New York City. Van Jess bring some soft and sensual energy with equally oily voices that spill frustrations with partners. For them to be so angry, they sound amazing. If you were to get broken up to the smooth sounds of their voices and the funkiness of the beat, you’d want to dance first and probably win them back later.

Kaytranada’s debut full-length album 99.9% came out in 2016. Could this mean that a follow-up is in the works? It’s too early to tell. VanJess released their studio debut SilkCanvas last year, so there’s more of them to consume after this. The skill of their chemistry with Kaytranda means that we hope this isn’t the only time that they connect.

Listen to the funky power of “Dysfunctional” up above.

Jessie Reyez Tells Us The ‘Surreal’ Meaning Of New ‘Imported’ Video With 6LACK

“I’ve been locked in the studio with pizza and whiskey,” Jessie Reyez deadpans. “It’s good and it’s painful. It’s long nights and no sleep. Once it’s out, I’ll feel better.”

She’s discussing the status of her debut album: one of the year’s most hotly anticipated releases, and a project almost three years in the making. Right now, she’s selecting the tracklist from “hundreds” of songs — “It’s hell, it’s so hard,” she admitted — but she already has one picked out. Released this week, it’s her 6LACK-featuring remix of “Imported,” from her excellent 2018 EP, Being Human in Public.

“You don’t really know what songs are going to touch people, but I remember a day after releasing the original song, I did a show and everyone was singing it,” she said of the slow-burning number. “It was mad cool that people only had a day to learn the song and it hit them already, you know? So to be able to put somebody as talented as 6LACK on it and be able to give the song a new life, is a sick opportunity.”

Reyez and 6LACK’s easygoing chemistry is all over the potent, sharp-tongued track’s new video, released on Wednesday (April 10) and directed by Zac Facts. In the vid — which you can see all day on mtvU and MTV Live — the two artists brood around an empty apartment, but their physical proximity to each other can’t conceal their emotional distance.

“We wanted it to be this surreal feeling; the concept of someone being out of your life but they’re still stuck in your head,” Reyez explained. “Someone can be miles away, but if they’re in your heart that means they’re locked in your head, too. No matter how much you try to get away from somebody, they’re there.”

You can see that tension when Reyez and 6LACK are sitting in the same room, their backs turned away from each other. You see it when 6LACK is cruising around L.A., seeing Reyez everywhere he looks (she assured us, by the way, that he’s a “pretty damn good” driver). And you see it in the final shot, when he lays down next to her, only for both of them to look away within seconds.

“To me, it’s someone who’s right beside you but they’re not,” Reyez said of that last scene. “They’re sitting beside you in your head. It’s that disconnect; it’s that inability to be able to communicate with somebody because they’re a figment of your imagination, locked inside your head. It can feel like they’re right beside you, but there’s a wall.”

That onscreen heaviness is, thankfully, the complete opposite of Reyez and 6LACK’s real-life dynamic. The two had crossed paths at various festivals over the years, and when the opportunity to work together came up, the Toronto singer said they were a “natural” fit. She explained, “I think maybe because I strive to be as honest as possible in my music, and I feel like he’s similar in that regard. I think that for us both to be able to put our truth forward like that, is what makes us mesh so well. And working with him is such a breeze; that guy is so chill, he’s so zen, which just made it easy.”

If only finalizing that tracklist couple be as simple.

Lil Peep, iLoveMakonnen, And Fall Out Boy Are In A Magical Kingdom In ‘I’ve Been Waiting’ Video

Lil Peep‘s dream collaboration, “I’ve Been Waiting,” with Fall Out Boy and iLoveMakonnen was released at the end of January. The magical track should appear on Lil Peep and iLoveMakonnen’s forthcoming collaboration project Diamonds. It’s a mystical tune, one that casts an enchanting, mid-tempo pop spell upon all who listen. So it makes sense that for the accompanying music video that it’s equally as majestic and imaginative. And the visual for “I’ve Been Waiting” hits the marks easily and surpasses them for a CGI romp that rivals the lush scenery of James Cameron’s Avatar. 

“Dedicated to all those people that want to feel magic around them. And also to Peep, who inspired this magic,” reads the ancient words on the screen as birds chitter and chirp in the background. The late rapper, of course, isn’t present in the video, but his soul lingers with a benevolent mark. Wherever he’s at, he’s smiling. He’s then revealed to be made of tree branches in a portrait etched by nature in a beautiful kingdom with a castle on the hill. The greens of the gigantic douglas fir trees are rich and jubilant,  White debris, maybe snow or dandelions, blows peacefully. It’s a serene scene of a world we can’t possibly get to. Nature rules and we just occupy it.

In this world displaced in time sits iLoveMakonnen, a peasant with a piano, humbly singing as he plays. The song’s vibrant pop sounds clash elegantly with the surroundings. iLoveMakonnen lets a gigantic centipede pass him by while he’s playing, then he steps through a mysterious casement and enters into an odd land of air balloons. The sky’s pink and there’s a swimming dolphin moving gracefully through the stratosphere. Just as iLoveMakonnen gets settled into this weird setting, he gets magically transported to Fall Out Boy’s beautiful dinner table where they feat with a gigantic white bumblebee. That’s not even the brunt of the weirdness. The video grows culminates with the troupe hanging out with a gigantic dog and by then we’re immersed. This land is weird and the proportions of its inhabitants are all out of whack, but it’s far enough moved from reality to justify our intrigue.

“I’ve Been Waiting” was quarterbacked by iLoveMakonnen who, in a recent interview with XXL revealed that he sent the track, with his and Peep’s vocals already recorded, to the band following Peep’s death. iLoveMakonnen also connected with Peep for two other posthumous records, “Sunlight on Your Skin” and “Falling Down.”

Check out this fantasy romp of a video above.