The internet is an odd place. One day you’re a kid in Jakarta making thirty-second YouTube videos called “how to microwave #bread,” and the next you’re rapping with Ghostface Killah. I first heard of Brian Imanuel when he was rapping under the name Rich Chigga, which is probably when most people picked him up. 88rising posted a video of well-known rappers reacting to his song “Dat $tick,” and loving it as they should.
Brian wore a pink polo (as Kanye once did), khaki shorts, and a fanny pack while rhyming over a truly one-of-a-kind beat. Ghostface Killah loved the track so much that he hopped on the remix, and that’s how an eighteen-year-old kid who first heard rap through “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and learned english online by watching people solve Rubik’s Cubes on YouTube earned his first gold record.
After some criticism over his name, he changed it from Rich Chigga to Rich Brian, expressing that he acknowledged everyone’s concerns and decided that if he was going to be putting out music seriously, that he should release music as himself. He told The New Yorker: “I want to write from my own experience.” The “Rich” stayed.
His debut project Amen is that first work, and although he’s no longer appropriating trap culture or blatantly using the n-word, he’s not really speaking from his own experience either. “I’m givin’ my number to any bitch lookin’ like Ronda” is the opening line, and if you were thinking Ronda Rousey the fighter? then you would be correct. He personally annotated his Genius page for the track, writing “we’re talking about Ronda Rousey because she’s really cute.”
It’s kind of the same sentiment I feel writing this post. We’re talking about Rich Brian because he was really cute. He doesn’t say much here on Amen, with most of the lyrics concerning internet culture and braggadocio. His flows are mostly stagnant and unanimated, but we’re here because we loved how adorable and funny yet still a great track “Dat $tick” was. While the novelty might not have lasted past one track, no one should have expected Rich Brian to be the next best rapper out there.
What do you think? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.