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What Did RM Do Before BTS? Here's How He Went From Underground Rapper To World Star

It's hard to imagine the members of BTS pre-fame. The septet is one of the biggest musical artists in the world, and their dedicated fanbase watches their every move. But there was a time when the BTS boys didn't know each other, and life was very different for each of them. While they all had interesting paths, given his superstar status, what RM did before BTS might surprise you.

RM is the leader of BTS, and if you've ever seen the band give a live interview, RM was probably the member you heard speak most, at least in English. He's the bandmate who's most fluent in the language, and he definitely has a way with words. He's also the mastermind behind many of BTS' most beloved lyrics.

RM made his debut with BTS in 2010, and, since then, he's helped lead the band to five MTV Video Music Awards, four People's Choice Awards, five Billboard Music Awards, four American Music Awards, and 13 Guinness World Records, including the one for the most Twitter engagements. Impressive, yes, but what's even more impressive is the story of how he came to be a member of the biggest K-Pop group in the world. In case you've been sleeping on RM's journey, here's everything to know.

1. Where did BTS' RM grow up?

RM was born Kim Nam-joon on Sept. 12, 1994, in Ilsan, South Korea, and fell in love with music as a young child. He learned English by watching the American TV show Friends, and initially pursued an underground solo career in music.

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2. Where did BTS' RM go to school?

RM started writing songs when he was in the 7th grade in middle school, before attending Apgujeong High School. He eventually attended Global Cyber University but his education didn't stop in Korea. RM also studied abroad in New Zealand for six months, as he told the Chicago Tribune in 2017.

“I also studied in New Zealand for four months when I was 12 years old. It was exactly 125 days. I remember that because I wrote about it in my diary. Traveling helped with my education. I got to experience so many things,” he said.

One thing fans should definitely know about RM? He's one smart cookie. With an IQ of 148, he's practically a genius.

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3. What were BTS' RM's hobbies?

In June 2017, RM shared a "resume" about himself for BTS FESTA and fans found out some info they wouldn't have otherwise known. For example, it turns out he has a first-rate hotteok (Korean pancake) making certificate. RM is also known for his love of painting and visiting art museums. Oh, and he can always be found with a good book in his hand backstage.

4. Who were BTS' RM's early music inspirations?

RM first became interested in hip-hop after listening to Epic High’s track “Fly.” He also listed Nas as one of his greatest inspirations when chatting with MBC Radio in September.

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5. Where else did BTS' RM audition?

It wasn't until 2010, that RM auditioned with Big Hit Entertainment. Before that, he was an underground rapper who released music under the name Runch Randa.

After RM joined Big Hit and BTS, however, he became fiercely dedicated to his band. In fact, he was once pranked with a hidden camera and asked by Hitman Bang if he wanted to go solo, but chose to remain a member of the group.

RM's journey certainly hasn't been a typical one, but as the fearless leader of BTS, he definitely wound up exactly where he's supposed to be.