by isabella mchardy (@izzscarlett)
It’s not uncommon for viral sensations to turn their career towards making serious hip hop with the likes of Cardi B and Bhad Bhabie having recently taken their internet notability and put it into music. The latest to drop an album is Rich Brian, previously known as Rich Chigga, who rose to stardom in 2016 after releasing hit track, Dat $tick, and has since been touring and working on his debut. A self-proclaimed project, Amen gives us a feel for what the 18-year-old Indonesian rapper is all about.
The eponymous opening track is a solid introduction, Brian’s voice holding that steady and calm delivery he’s known for. Paired with the heavy bassline, the vocals, and production weave together and leaves a strong first impression on the listener. Speaking of which, the production on the album as a whole is good though is played fairly safe; each track has the ability to entice but the styles do not stand out enough to avoid becoming repetitive, ultimately leading all the songs to merge together. Although Brian‘s music isn’t mind-blowing, you’ll easily find a song or two on here that will have you tapping your foot for a few days: Little Prince is a notable highlight with its sugary sweet pop aesthetic, along with Chaos that has an unapologetic trap twinge to it.
A track that undoubtedly stands out is Attention: while Offset may not offer anything substantial, sticking to his typical bragging narrative, Brian comes out on top, his flow being extremely entertaining. Glow Like Dat is another highlight though it’s more a chilled out affair, packing in a tune that is leaps and bounds the most melodic and aptly sunny on here. There are definite Childish Gambino and Odd Future vibes but Brian manages to avoid becoming a carbon copy.
Lyrics range from witty to ridiculous but it’s the way Brian executes them that stands out; his voice is consistently deadpan and the contrast between this and the bouncing percussion is vivid and adds to the consistency of Amen. For a teenage new comer, this album is impressive. Brian is funny, but he’s too good at what he does to be simply considered a novelty act.
A continuous theme throughout Amen is self-assurance. While rapping about topics such as his missing his family and losing his virginity, there is a consistent sense that Rich Brian doesn’t give a shit about what you think of him. Although young and new to the game, Brian has an effortless, justified confidence that makes his music stand out from the sea of Soundcloud rappers at the moment. He mentions money and fame but without being overly cocky, his confidence comes from his ability to rap and to rap well.
Despite starting out as a meme and being in the minority of Asian rap artists, Rich Brian has made a catchy, successful debut album. His songs aren’t anything groundbreaking, but he has skill in his craft and will no doubt continue to improve.