rich brian – Rich Brian On His Growth, Dreams, And Asian Identity

On August 15th, 2010, at age of 10, Imanuel created his Twitter account, where he would upload photoshopped images, including a picture of himself wearing a sweatshirt with the n-word while standing next to President Obama.

rich brian twitter – Rich Brian Premieres Video For 100 DEGREES, New Album THE SAILOR Out Now

RICH BRIANIndonesian rapper and Internet personality who combines equal parts comedic novelty and natural ability. I guess the answer to when I figured out I was funny was when I started to get a lot of followers on Twitter laughs, and how did I figure out the internet so early? It was because I was homeschooled and I just had a lot of time on my hands, and I was on my computer every single day laughs.

Moving to L.A., Brian sidelined a career in film as a cinematographer to hone in on music, largely with the backing of his management at 88rising – a US-based label, video, and marketing company that promotes a roster of Asian talent like NIKI, Keith Ape, and Joji.

Rich Brian is 19-year-old Brian Imanuel, born in Jakarta, Indonesia. After sharing a string of singles featuring guests such as 21 Savage, Offset and Playboi Carti, Brian’s debut album, Amen, was released to widespread critical acclaim in 2018. Brian has since gone on to sell out shows across North America, Europe and Asia, and festivals around the world including Bonnaroo and Rolling Loud. Brian currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

I think that’s been our goal since day one; having a platform where there’s a lot of Asian people putting out music and putting out art. When we were first coming out, we came in such a strong way. I feel like I’ve never really seen that happen before. You could feel the presence.

As fans would expect, each track fits the laid-back, moody vibe 88rising normally curate – with the exception of “Hopscotch,” where Rich Brian, Joji, AUGUST 08, and Barney Bone go in on a minimalistic trap beat. NIKI stands out on her solo track “Indigo,” coming for necks on the Billboard Hot 100 as her sultry vocals wrap around an addictive beat effortlessly. NIKI and Rich Brian shine on “Shouldn’t Couldn’t Wouldn’t,” as the pair show off their chemistry in the slow, melodic ballad.


Chee Meng Tan: Without a shadow of a doubt. This continent is just a hotbed for incredible, talented artists. And also this new-found confidence, the richness, and diversity. I’m always struck by the music that comes out of here.

Back in the day there would be a lot of times where I would sacrifice actual lyrics for flows,” he continues, and I really avoided that this time. I made sure that what I was saying was very vivid and understandable. So someone can listen to it and it almost feels like I’m talking to them. This is not going to be just a hip-hop album, because, who knows, maybe I could become someone that people that don’t listen to hip-hop can listen to and still love?” he wonders.


Rich Brian: I think, I don’t really feel any more pressure than before. It’s always been the same. The only thing that I have to do to represent Indonesia is continuing what I love to do. You know, making art and making music that I feel like is something fresh and new, and just continue what I’m doing. And I think that’s a good representation. It would be as simple as seeing someone that looks like you, somebody that reminds you of yourself, doing just want they want to do, and kinda succeed getting that. And I think that is a representation of me as an Indonesian person.

Nowadays, the rapper seems adamant about preserving his own, uncorrupted story and honoring his fans. And that is, conceivably, why he isn’t particularly concerned with earning the seal of approval of mainstream gatekeepers of the music industry ― places where Asian hip-hop artists have traditionally felt absent.

On August 9th, 2016, Imanuel released his second single “Who That Be” on iTunes. On October 12th, 2016, 88rising released a remix edition of “Dat $tick” featuring Ghostface Killah and Pouya. Within the first year, the video garnered more than 11 million views.

Former vice reporter Sean Miyashiro created 88rising to help the growth of Asian artists in America. You’re a singer and an artist,” chimes in Rich Brian, born Brian Imanuel. But as Rich Brian caught on, he knew there was a deeper wave building around contemporary Asian rap music, which had long informed genres such as K-Pop but was finally coming into its own.

In Gucci Mane’s award-winning autobiography , the rapper shared what he learned from his first project under a major label. Times are changing, and so is Brian Imanuel. Better known by his stage name Rich Brian , the 20-year-old artist has been adapting with the shifting landscape of pop culture.

Immanuel—aka Rich Brian, fka Rich Chigga—is a bona fide citizen of the internet. Growing up in Indonesia, he learned English partly by studying Macklemore and Drake videos on YouTube. YouTube was also where he learned the special effects techniques he used in the high-gloss-yet-DIY video for his out-of-nowhere breakout hit Dat $tick,” which watches like a masterclass on how to go viral. Slow-motion flossing? Check. Cronies with fake guns? Check. Teen drinking Hennessy in a dad outfit? Triple check. Talking with Immanuel about the making of that video, I mention to him that YouTube is kind of like the program in The Matrix that Keanu Reeves uses to learn kung fu in under a minute of screen time. Immanuel agrees, though he’s never seen the film—it was, after all, released before the 18-year-old was even born.

Rich Brian is the 17-year-old Indonesian rapper and personality that took the world by storm with the viral Dat $tick”, presenting a fresh perspective on hip-hop’s global influence. Rich’s videos now have over 120M views on Youtube, making him a star who’s earned the respect of rap’s US royalty.” Featured everywhere from Time, Playboy, Complex, to XXL, Rich has raised the stakes with each subsequent release.

His mistake” had drawn attention to the pitfalls Asians and Asian Americans have faced in rap. No matter how close they come to mainstream success, they must first confront an idea that they don’t belong in hip-hop.

An early stance against Rich Chigga was a stance against the further ridicule of black culture, Asian racial slurs, and hip-hop as a whole, but many who were introduced to Brian due to the boom of Dat $tick” might be unfamiliar with his background as an online comedian. Since age 13, YouTube has been a hub for his satirical humor, where ideas he shot inside his home entered cyberspace. Twitter and Vine were later utilized as a way of expanding his base and building a community for those who watched him.

Rich Brian absolutely killed it. I was so impressed with his live band, and his rapping and singing. He performed a great combo of old and new hits from his The Sailor album. Also loved hearing from August 08.

He’s the most recognizable face of the label, a gifted MC and producer who first turned ears two years ago for Dat Stick,” an endearingly silly clip from an earnest Indonesian teenager trying on hip-hop tropes and discovering that he can rap with verve and poise (a follow-up video showed MC’s like Ghostface Killah, Tory Lanez and Desiigner giving their approval).RICH BRIAN

Honestly, they didn’t know I was rapping until I was about to go to America. I was just making songs for fun before I really started blowing up. After the whole music thing started happening, 88rising picked me up, and they wanted to fly me out to America. I told my mom, who was the one who was the most against it. I was like, “Yo, I think I’m gonna go to America to do a show.” She was like, “You should go. You should do it,” and she was just, like, right away on board with it.


Before he became besties with Post Malone , and snagged Insta gold with Khalid , GoldLink , and Jaden Smith, Brian Imanuel (as his passport says) really got his start as a social media personality, becoming an online sensation as the self-produced brains behind 2016 viral hit ‘ Dat $tick ‘ (under his former moniker Rich Chigga).

Yellow” is the first single released for Rich Brian’s sophomore album THE SAILOR. The emotional, self-critical ballad features Bēkon, marking the first collaboration between these artists. The track samples Cold as Ice” by Bēkon. Yellow” was originally teased on Brian’s Instagram a week before release.

Right before the opening of The Sailor Experience (an interactive exhibition about the rapper’s life) in Jakarta last week, VICE sat down with Rich Brian and Spotify Label and Artist Director for Asia Pacific Chee Meng Tan. We talked about the music scene in Asia and Southeast Asia, the pressure that comes with representing Indonesia, and his identity as a rapper.

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