SUGA: Road to D-Day Goes on a Quest for Inspiration with the BTS Rapper/Producer: Review
The Pitch: We are now well into the swing of the “second chapter” for BTS, a time designated for individual projects from RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, V, Jimin, and Jungkook, and members of the BTS ARMY have been enjoying a plethora of new content from the group. The latest of these releases, timed to coincide with the release of his first full-length solo project, is a documentary focused on SUGA, the talented producer, thoughtful songwriter, and spitfire rapper.
Road to D-Day jumps throughout locations and times leading up to the completion of the album D-Day, beginning in 2020, when the members of BTS took to the South Korean countryside together to recharge and rest during the height of COVID, and following the cancellation of the “Map of the Soul: 7” Tour. Most of the footage takes place in late 2022, in the months after BTS’s performance at the Grammy Awards and four sold-out shows at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. As SUGA pays visits to peers, collaborators, and musical heroes, he’s also working to reconnect with his own creative spirit. Spoiler alert: SUGA’s D-DAY album dropped today, April 21st (read our review here) — and it’s safe to say that he succeeded.
So Far Away: “There were so many stories I wanted to tell,” SUGA tells the camera as footage of BTS concerts and events flash across the screen. “Did I forget about them because so many of them already became true?”
Fans who have spent their time immersed in BTS content over the past few years will have noticed a conversation point the seven members touch on every now and then, a rarity from people at their level of superstardom, which is a general fear of becoming “too big.” There have been so many joys and victories that have come with their level of success, clearly far beyond anything they imagined when first starting out, but the unique pressures on the shoulders of the members also aren’t for the fainthearted.
At one point in the Disney+ documentary, as SUGA makes his way across the western US, a man (also of Korean heritage) approaches him in a parking lot and thanks him for all he and the band have done in the realm of representation, breaking barriers, and dismantling stereotypes. “You’ve made things a lot better,” he tells the bashful artist. “You’ve made your country proud.” It’s lovely, but it also leaves SUGA a bit shaken, and understandably so; that kind of pressure that leads to statements about your nation’s pride being on the line is certainly not easy to just let roll off the shoulders.
j-hope IN THE BOX, the documentary chronicling the lead-up to j-hope’s headlining Lollapalooza set, may have had a different narrative focus from Road to D-Day, but that theme of reconnecting with the joys that come along with the creative field feels present in both Disney+ projects. While all seven members of BTS appeared in j-hope’s documentary, only Jimin makes an appearance in Road to D-Day, but SUGA does spend time with BTS collaborator Steve Aoki and pays a particularly joyful visit to Halsey.