RM: JACKET AND SHIRT BY BODE. WILLIAMS: JACKET BY MIU MIU.
‘What If I Don’t Like Music Anymore?’: A Wildly Honest Conversation Between BTS’ RM and Pharrell Williams
BTS and Pharrell have a secret collab coming — and that’s just one of the revelations from this meeting of two superstars
BY BRIAN HIATT
Photographs by Mason Poole for Rolling Stone
NOV 1, 2022 8:00 AM
AT THIS POINT in their reign as the world’s biggest band, the members of BTS are accustomed to hero worship and nervous fans. But as that group’s leader, RM, sits across from Pharrell Williams in early September, onstage in an empty, secured auditorium at Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art, he’s unnerved to find himself on the other side of the equation. It feels “embarrassing,” RM says with a smile, to talk about his artistic journey in front of “my own idol.”
Williams, eternally youthful and smooth-skinned (needless to say), is relaxed and full of small talk, in a leather jacket, matching leather shorts, boots, and a blinding array of ice-studded jewelry on one wrist. RM, in a Bottega Veneta double-breasted brown suit, is quieter, seemingly shuffling through the many questions he’s prepared in his head.
For all these two men have in common, thousands of miles and a couple of decades separated their coming of age. From the distance of Virginia Beach in the Eighties, a young Williams was able to observe the growth of hip-hop almost from its birth, before becoming a key force in that genre and many others as one half of the Neptunes and on his own. When RM was growing up outside of Seoul, rap had already gone global, to the point where Nas, Eminem, and local groups like Epik High could seduce a studious South Korean kid into devoting his life to music — which, after some twists and turns, led him to BTS instead of the underground hip-hop career he imagined.Continue reading “‘What If I Don’t Like Music Anymore?’: A Wildly Honest Conversation Between BTS’ RM and Pharrell Williams”