After surprise-releasing a “comeback trailer” for their upcoming album Map of the Soul: Persona on Wednesday, fans of K-pop supergroup BTS are running with the themes presented in the rap-forward track performed by leader RM. The fans’ response: creating a viral challenge called the “Persona Challenge,” which sees them sharing throwback photos and stories of their personal growth.
In the new song and video, rapper RM, also known as Kim Namjoon, references eras past of both the seven-person musical group as well as his own challenges in the spotlight, from dealing with cancel culture to finding self-worth. (The group formed in 2013.) With that in mind, the fans — who call themselves ARMY — have decided to put their own stories to the “Persona Challenge” test. Some discuss past insecurities that they have worked to overcome, while others make sure to thank the boys of BTS (that’s RM, J-Hope, Suga, Jin, Jung Kook, Jimin and V) and their music for helping them move forward.
BTS has long made it a priority to discuss social issues and anxieties in their mostly Korean-language lyrics and complex videos, which fans eagerly dissect. Their next album is set for an April 12 release.