You may have heard of him on Vine. You may have seen the music video for “Dat $tick.” Maybe you’ve seen me mention his name a few times in my “Sparsh’s Pick” columns.
To fully understand the album “Amen” by Rich Brian, you need some of his backstory. You should also know that this album made Rich Brian the first Asian in history to earn the number one spot on iTunes Hip-Hop charts.
Brian Imanuel, an 18-year-old from Jakarta, Indonesia, is taking the music industry by surprise. Imanuel, who used to perform by the stage name “Rich Chigga,” now performs by “Rich Brian” under the 88rising record label. Imanuel changed his stage name earlier last January, knowing that several people criticized him for being insensitive in his name choice.
Yes I now go by “Brian”. I have been planning to do this forever and I’m so happy to finally do it. I was naive & I made a mistake. new year, new beginning, happy new years™️
— Rich Brian (@richbrian) January 1, 2018
Since the spring of 2017, several of his music videos have collected millions of views and he’s dropped a series of single tracks. He’s produced or was featured with several singles in the hip hop and rap scene with artists like 21 Savage, Keith Ape and Kris Wu.
One might think that the series of singles Rich Brian put out has led to his most recent accomplishment.
On Feb. 2, 2018, Rich Brian dropped his first album, “Amen.” As his first full-length project, Rich Brian brings out a great mix of solo tracks and features with artists like Offset, Joji and NIKI.
“Amen” starts off with a track of the same name in which Rich Brian spits one big verse to introduce his new album. Rich Brian said that he wrote this track without music first, focusing on a rhyming structure and lyrics initially. After he had enough written, he recorded a beat around the lyrics.
This writing style represents a different approach to the hip-hop scene because many tracks are written vice versa; beat or track first and then lyrics. Because of this writing style, this first track does a great job of setting the tone for the rest of the album.
“Cold,” “Occupied” and “Enemies” fully introduce Rich Brian’s new style. He’s able to produce mellow tracks that showcase his own style, but doesn’t stray away from the hip-hop genre.
“Trespass,” “Flight” and “See Me” are really cool tracks in the sense that they are Rich Brian’s way of telling his current story. Each one is a neat little self-reflection that Rich Brian has, with topics ranging from traveling to self-reliance.
“Attention” featuring Offset is the flagship track of the album. It features a catchy verse structure accompanied by a chill trap-style beat. Rich Brian teased the track on YouTube under the 88rising YouTube channel in the days before the full album was released. If there is one track to try out on the album if you’re unfamiliar with Rich Brian, it’s this one.
“Introvert,” “Little Prince” and “Arizona” are the other tracks on the album that have great features from other artists. They all show a really neat range of collaboration. “Arizona” is the outro track that does a great job of wrapping up the whole project. Fun fact, it ends with Rich Brian talking about an incorrect ending of “The Office” in which Michael Scott dies.
“Chaos” and “Glow Like Dat” are callback tracks. Rich Brian released both as singles earlier in 2017. Both are great tracks as they can help show his progression from his earlier tracks. Both also have music videos with millions of views each.
Rich Brian, having accomplished this much in nearly a year, will probably continue to make great projects and tracks for the music industry. Keep your ears open at the next party you go to. You’ll probably hear one of his tracks at some point.