Rap Monster, better known as RM, is known as an influential member of K-pop boy band, BTS. As the BTS lead singer turns 28 on September 12, here are five things to know about this global rap starphenomenon
He is the brain of BTS
Rap Monster (born Kim Nam-joon) started his musical career at a young age (in early middle school). His talent for showbiz is not the only thing he has in his repertoire, he also brilliant. With a high IQ of 148, the star scored 850 on his first TOEIC test, the English proficiency test for non-native speakers, and 797 on TEPS, an English proficiency test created by Seoul National University’s Language Education Institute. It’s a stunning result as he has never been abroad or been formally taught English.
As such, he is referred to as the ‘brain’ of BTS. Furthermore, with his proficiency in English, Kim often appears as the spokesperson in various global events, including a UNICEF event at the UN general assembly in 2018.
He is a bibliophile
Apart from high proficiency in English, Kim is known for his strong lyric-writing skills. All of this is a result of his love for reading. He is even referred to as a famous dokseo-dol; a Korean term that describes a K-Pop idol who loves reading books. Other famous dokseo-dol are GOT7’s Park Jinyoung and Pentagon’s Kino.
Kim also once dreamed of majoring in literature and creative writing. It is said that among the many literary genres, he is particularly interested in philosophical works by Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher known for his writings on the concept of a superman.
It may sound like a moniker to be in awe of, “god of destruction”. But in Kim’s case, it is referring to a whole different side from a rapper’s slick image. The nickname was given to him not because his skills leave his competitors in the dust, but rather as a reference to his clumsiness and absent-mindedness. It is hard to imagine that Rap Monster could have clumsy moments, but here are a few examples:
Many YouTube videos and V-live moments have documented the power of his “destruction”. In three out of ten videos, he destroys and breaks things as a result of his clumsiness. He is also known for constantly losing his Airpods. During one live stream, he admitted that he just bought his 34th pair of new Airpods (which means 33 pairs have already been lost).
He is a patron of Korea’s art scene
As the celebrity’s Instagram feed suggests, Kim is a big fan of museums and art exhibitions. He is also an avid collector, possessing many art pieces. To the point where his BTS crew members would call his house a small museum. The singer divulges that art is where he finds peace and surrounded by them he finds the opportunity to unwind and detach from his busy K-idol duties.
In an Art Basel podcast with art director Marc Spiegler, Kim stated that he has plans to exhibit his favourite art collections and share them with his fans. Plus, he donated KR₩100 million (about HK$568,310 / US$72,403) to Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art on his 26th birthday to show his support for Korea’s art scene.
He disliked mint chocolate until he became its brand model
There has been an ongoing debate in Korea about whether mint chocolates are to be loved or hated. Supporters find this sweet to be refreshing, while opponents argue that it is not much different from eating toothpaste.
RM used to fall in the latter category. In a V-live interview (a live streaming platform in Korea), the rapper said he would rather eat said toothpaste than mint chocolates. However, he changed his opinion after becoming a brand model for Baskin Robbins, an American ice-cream chain specialising in mint chocolate flavour ice-creams. In the brand’s advertisement, the star stated, “Mint chocolates should be loved by everyone”.