‘Mic Drop’

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The BTS video I watch most often is for their 2017 song ‘Mic Drop’—and not the dynamic high-energy official MV directed by Woogie Kim, with DP Hyunwoo Nam. It’s the dance rehearsal video, without any effects distorting the performance, and with two additional—and brilliant—dance breaks at 3’30” and 4’36”.

The choreography was created for MAMA (the Mnet Asian Music Awards): their performance of this song begins at 3’09” into this clip.

The version BTS performed on SNL in New York includes only the second dance break, and takes place on a stage that looks smaller than their rehearsal space.

My preference for the rehearsal video, with J-Hope’s fluid shapes and Jung-kook’s athletic exuberance doesn’t diminish my appreciation for the official MV: its visual impact—from interrogation room to prison block to night-time street with exploding cars—is phenomenal. (Plus Jimin and Jung-kook get to fly.) Woogie Kim also directed “Permission to Dance” (2021) and J-Hope’s “Airplane” (2018). For “Mic Drop,” he told the Korea Herald, “I wanted to lock BTS in an interrogation room. Then I wanted to show viewers how they manage to escape the room and free themselves with music.” (He also “wanted to deify [Steve] Aoki as a god of music.”)

BTS’ own reaction to this video reveals what’s live and what’s CG (and also when they think other members are looking good). “This seems like Hobi hyung’s video,” Jimin says, watching the opening a second time, and certainly J-Hope’s dancing has an individual power and style that means I never get tired of watching him dance. But this MV captures the best of BTS energy and attitude, and isn’t compromised by silly costuming choices.

They spend some time mocking RM’s issues with opening an ambulance door during the recording, and there’s more on this in the making-of video, as well as live car fires and explosions, and a lot of crimped hair.