Since English is RM‘s second language and he’s become so proficient at speaking it, he’s developed a unique talent of understanding words in a way that English speakers never see them. And he uses that talent to play on words in BTS‘s lyrics in a way that’s nothing short of genius. Here are 7 of his most clever and cool instances of wordplay.
1. Trivia 承 : Love
I’m just a person, person, person
You erode all my sharp edges
You make me
Into love, love, love
— Trivia 承 : Love
To understand the genius at work in these lyrics, you have to look at the Korean words for “person” and “love”: 사람 and 사랑. The words are exactly the same except for the final character. When you “erode the sharp edges” of the square letter ㅁ, you get the round letter ㅇ.
2. We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2
Told me it’s impossible but
Look carefully, I put a period in impossible
— We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2
For RM, nothing is impossible—even the word itself confirms that. By putting a period (or rather, a space) in the middle of the word “impossible”, it’s separated into two words that create the opposite meaning: “I’m” and “possible”.
3. Love Maze
Love is a maze, damn
But you is amaze, yeah
— Love Maze
BTS have spoken about the complexity of love in so many of their songs. In “Love Maze”, RM contrasts love itself being confusing like “a maze” with the object of his affections being “amaze”, or amazing. It’s a romantic line many of us can only dream of hearing in real life!
‘Us’ is just a plural of ‘U’
On the surface, RM is saying that “us” (two people) is the plural or multiple of “you” (one person). But if you look closely at the spelling of these lyrics, you’ll also notice that the word “us” is just “u” with an “s” added to make it a plural noun.
5. Am I Wrong
A fish lives in all our hearts
Its name is selfish, selfish
— Am I Wrong
The first line of this couplet makes so sense at first. But by adding three little letters to the beginning of the word “fish”, RM makes a smart commentary on all of us.
Been calling your name in this whole universe
Now I need no space
I got youniverse
There’s more than one play on words going on in this song. First, there’s the word “space”—on one hand, it means time apart, and on the other hand it refers to the cosmos or universe referenced in the previous line. Then, RM turns “universe” into “you-niverse” to complete the metaphor.
7. Seoul Town Road
I got the homis in my bag
Have you heard of that?
Homis made of steel, from Korea, they the be-e-est
Ridin’ to the farm
Grabbin’ all the corn
We gon’ get yo’ money with my homi in your backyard
— Seoul Town Road
When international fans first heard RM on the “Seoul Town Road” remix with Lil Nas X, many thought his lyrics about farming were a reference to the original lyrics about horses and tractors. They were also confused about how RM’s “homies” fit into all of this. But Korean fans were quick to explain the real lyric—not homies, but “homis”. A homi is a steel Korean farming tool that’s becoming popular all over the world. Once you know that, the whole verse suddenly becomes even more clever.