Listen to this – Agust D, “Agust D”

CONTENT WARNING: This post mentions themes of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health issues through the lyrics in this album and past experiences by the artist. Please take note of this before reading. Take care of yourself.

So as most of you know, Agust D’s latest album, D-DAY, was released a few weeks ago. It’s an EXCELLENT album, of course – Min Yoongi’s writing and lyric delivery is absolutely astounding – but that’s not the one I’m talking about today.

I’m going back to his first release in the Agust D Trilogy, the self-titled mixtape “Agust D.”

I only really got into K-Pop back in spring of 2022, with BTS being the group that I jumped into the pool with. So there is a LOT of older stuff that I’m not as familiar with. I only heard Yoongi’s debut mixtape this year, right before D-DAY came out, even though it’s been out since August 16, 2016.

And this mixtape? I am sorry I didn’t hear it sooner, because it’s SO DAMN GOOD.

I am an absolute sucker for a confident rapper who spits lyrics like a nailgun into a mic (look at all my biases, can’t you tell lol) – and Yoongi does just that. Each word, is targeted precisely, flowing perfectly. But the biggest reason I love this album is because of the raw, unbridled rage and feeling. The intense rage at the unfairness of it all, his upbringing and fight to get his music out there, and anger at those who didn’t support him – or worse yet, tried to drag him down – is very evident in some of the lyrics, such as the title track “Give It To Me” –

Even my family couldn’t foresee my success
What’s the point of talking about it when I wasn’t sure myself
Even my family approved me as a tough cookie
I’m the public enemy, the hyungs
Who benefited by slandering us
Every one of them had the taste of money
They say two things with one mouth
And head to the big companies
What you know about me?
You can’t control my shit
If you’re going to leave
Take back whatever you’ve said before
If you ask me how I’ve succeeded
I don’t really have an answer
But at least, I slept less and stayed active
Compared to you all to grow up

One of the hardest songs to listen to, lyrically, but my absolute favorite, is the 7th track on the mixtape, “The Last”.

Yoongi has always been forthcoming with his mental health issues, including depression and social anxiety. This song in particular is a raw and open wound, his lyrics bleeding past experiences of the lowest points in his life. Including suicidal ideation and self-harm, sort of a taboo topic in South Korea. (I feel like from what I have read, they have gotten better in being more open about mental health over the seven years since this album’s release, but people still struggle with being as open about it as we are in the West.)

The end of the song, though, is Agust D is practically screaming into the mic, triumphant. The declaration that through it all, he dragged himself through, standing on stage, able to do what he loves in front of thousands.

On the other side of the famous idol rapper
Stands my weak self, it’s a bit dangerous
Depression, OCD
They keep coming back again from time to time
Hell no perhaps that might be my true self
Damn huh feeling estranged in reality
The conflict with ideal, my head hurts
Around the age of 18, I developed social anxiety
Right, that was when my mind was gradually polluted

At times I’m scared of myself too
Thanks to the depression that takes over me
And all my self hatred
Min Yoongi is dead already (I killed him)
Comparing my dead passion with others
It’s now a part of my daily life

On the first visit to psychiatric ward
My parents came up with me
We listened to the consultation together
My parents said they don’t truly understand me
I don’t understand myself well either
Then who would understand?
Friends? Or you? Nobody knows me well

The doctor asks me if I’ve (censored)
I answered without any hesitation that I have

Habitual saying uh
I don’t give a shit I don’t give a fuck
All those words uh
Those words are said to hide my weak self
Those days I wish I could erase
Right, that performance day
Which I don’t remember very well
The day I confronted myself
When I hid inside the bathroom
Because I was scared of people

That time I, that time I
I thought success would make everything fine
But you see, but you see
As time goes by, I feel like I’m turning into a monster

I’ve exchanged my youth for success
And that monster demands for more wealth
At times it puts a collar on my neck
To ruin and swallow me with greed
Some try to shut my mouth and say
I should swallow this forbidden fruit
I don’t want it
They want me to leave this garden

Shit shit I got it so stop it
I’m the root of all this so I’ll stop myself
If my misfortune is your happiness
I’ll happily stay unfortunate
If I’m the figure of hate
I’ll get on the guillotine

The things I’ve only imagined turns into reality
My childhood dreams are in front of my eyes
The night when I performed in front of an audience of 2
Now Tokyo Dome is right in front my nose
My one and only life
I can easily live it passionately than any other
My fan my hommie my fam
I hope you don’t worry
Because I’m really okay now damn

I’ve denied my nature many times
My address is idol and I won’t deny
The anguish that dug into my mind countless times
There’s no answer at the end of wandering

My pride which I thought I had given away
Has turned into self-respect
My fans, keep your head high with pride
Because who can do it like me uh

Seiko, Rolex, AX hall and gymnastic stadium
The heads of thousands nodding to my hand gesture
Show me the money
It’s not that I couldn’t but I didn’t shit

Selling ourselves or not
You all say we couldn’t do it but we didn’t shit
The root of my creativity has tasted
The sweet, bitter, and shit of this world
Those days when I tried to sleep on the toilet floor
It’s all memories now uh they’re now memories
My shoulder which shattered
Thanks to the accident I met
During my part time job
The debut which I clung as if it was my life
Who do you think you’re fooling
By pretending you’ve gone through all the miseries

Seiko, Rolex, AX hall and gymnastic stadium
The heads of thousands nodding to my hand gesture
Sorrow created me uh look at me closely uh
Selling ourselves or not you all say
It’s not that we couldn’t do it
But that we didn’t want to, shit

Lyric translations from Genius English Translations

With this album, Min Yoongi, at 23 years old, was lifting two middle fingers up to the world, telling it “FUCK YOU, YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BREAK ME, I AM RIGHT FUCKING HERE AND I AIN’T LEAVING.”

Some days, I miss that rawness and rage that I felt in my early 20s. The fury at having to scrabble and struggle, at dragging yourself into a shitty society right out of your high school and college years, the anger at the world because everyone is telling you that you’re destined for failure. I joke around today that I love existing out of spite, but there was a point in my late teens and early 20s that I WAS existing out of spite. I hated myself, I hated almost everything, but there was no way in hell I was going to let the world trample me and win.

Now that I’m in my 40s, that anger has subsided somewhat, because I’ve had realizations about myself and of course, my life has changed…but that anger is still there, deep down in my primal mind. Every so often I hear or see something that sparks that fire and reminds me that it’s still good to fight and stand up for myself – and in turn, others who are still pulling themselves through the mire of society.

Watch the MVs for the title tracks “Agust D” and “Give It To Me” below.

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