“Respect” is the seventeenth track on BTS’ 2020 album ‘MAP OF THE SOUL: 7.’ The song is a rap duet by RM and Suga talking about the literal definition of the word ‘respect’ and what its meaning has reduced in modern society. Let’s take a deeper look into the lyrics and song meaning.
‘MAP OF THE SOUL: 7′ is BTS’ eleventh studio album and fourth full-length album. It is also the second installment of the ‘MAP OF THE SOUL’ series, following ‘Persona’ released in 2019. The album produced singles such as “Black Swan,” “Make It Right,” and “Outro” prior to the album release on February 21, 2020.
RM kicks off the song by revving up the crowd; “Put your hands in the air.”
Next, RM starts discussing about this word ‘respect.’ He tells Suga that he hears this word being thrown around a lot in modern society. Often something that is thrown around a lot, loses its value. RM also says that the modern definition of the word has reduced to: “when someone keeps doing something.” So, he doesn’t understand the logic behind it. So he is about to break it down and inspect.
RM continues to say that ‘respect’ is a concept superior to love. Why? Respect should be earned. It is not given just for the sake of it.
Next, RM tries to breakdown the meaning of the word: “re-spect,” sounding similar to ‘re-inspect.’ He says it is to do with re-looking at something until you have seen all its flaws and still chooses to keep looking at it. This is where ‘love’ could fall second to ‘respect.’ And so, it is not a word to be used lightly.
Listen to “Respect” by BTS
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Both artists jointly plead not to use this word lightly. Because, at times, even you are not sure about your own flaws. So how can you judge someone else?
RM and Suga say that everybody is so used to rolling words off their tongues to get out of hard situations now. But it should not be so. Use your words carefully and sparingly. In the least, at least understand the meanings of the words that roll out of your mouth.
Suga shares his thoughts on this elusive word in the second verse. He starts off saying that even he is confused about the word’s meaning looking at how easy it is used in the world. Does everyone respect each other so much as they say? Then there should be no racism by now. There should be no school shootings or gun violence by now. There is barely any respect for life these days.
The funniest part is when they say they respect you to your face and talk smack behind your back. Suga says that if you have no intention of respecting him, just skip it, and there is no need for lies. Suga would rather have a man who talks smack to his face than someone who pretends to respect him. He applauds the former kind.
The duo is still confused about the exact meaning of the word. Maybe there is no exact meaning. Maybe it’s situational. Maybe it’s conditional.
What do you think? Drop a comment below.
Check out the complete lyrics to the track and further meaning breakdown on Genius.