Joohoney has released four mixtapes outside of his work with MONSTA X over the past five years, and he dives deeper and deeper into his innermost thoughts and feelings with each release. But fans have never heard him quite as vulnerable as he is on his latest record. Joohoney's quotes about how his mixtape PSYCHE is different from MONSTA X's music explain why he was able to open up so much.
The last time Joohoney dropped solo music was in 2018 with his DWTD (Do What They Do) mixtape. It peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard World Albums Chart, making Joohoney the first MONSTA X member to rank on Billboard’s World Albums chart alone. The rapper — who writes, composes, and arranges his solo songs — says he enjoys alternating between his work with MONSTA X and his solo endeavors because it allows him to experiment with different sounds.
"I made [PSYCHE] to incorporate my own music style and colors that are different from MONSTA X’s music," Joohoney tells Elite Daily. "I think great teamwork is the key factor for me as a member of MONSTA X, so I try to be the one who helps to make our teamwork strong."
He's proud of his work with the group, but Joohoney says working solo allows for even more experimentation. "Contributing to my own music is like writing a daily diary for me because I do it routinely. I mean, I just can’t live without music. Working on solo mixtapes allows me to experience the various colors of music," he adds.
Joohoney has been working non-stop on group and solo activities since 2015, but on Jan. 11, Starship Entertainment announced he would be taking a hiatus from his group activities in order to focus on his mental health. Joohoney opened up more about his experience on the group's official fancafe on Jan. 27. "I am mentally very weak right now and in a difficult situation. I am in the middle of taking medicine, and I am personally in the middle of digging for a hole I can break through," he wrote.
Joohoney gets honest about his mental health issues on PSYCHE. The star says he wrote "SMOKY" during one of the "toughest" times of his life. However, just like how smoke is temporary, Joohoney says he's learned to overcome his dark thoughts.
"In the past, whenever I felt negative, I was uncomfortable and bothered throughout the whole day. I kept thinking about myself. But now, I think I’ve matured emotionally," the rapper explains. "I don’t let the negative thoughts linger for a long time, but I try to move on quickly saying, 'Yeah, there are times like this but I can learn and grow through these moments, too.'"
That feeling of hope is evident throughout the rapper's mixtape. On "KING," Joohoney says anyone can rise up from the darkness, and on "PSYCHE," he compares life with hiking because you constantly have to fight through difficult battles. "Everyone experiences painful moments in our lives and we all have scars in our mind, so don’t be envious about the others who do well," he says.
Joohoney hopes fans can find strength through his lyrics. "Just look at the past and the present, plan and dream your future," he says. "The most important message that I want to share with my fans is 'Let’s be confident in ourselves rather than comparing yourself to others.'"
Fans can listen to Joohoney's PSYCHE on all streaming platforms now.