By Josh Weiner
Two years after his viral comedy single, “Dat $tick,” Indonesian rapper Rich Brian has moved onto the next phase of his career with the release of his first full-length album, Amen.
Born and raised in Jakarta, hip-hop became a springboard into American culture, the English language, and a recording hobby for young Brian Immanuel throughout his adolescence. Upon discovering Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” in 2012, the future MC embarked upon an in-depth exploration of rap music and culture. Immanuel wrote his first song in 2014, released his first track on YouTube in 2015, and finally achieved a debut single in the form of “Dat $tick” in early 2016.
Immanuel’s flow on “Dat $tick” was decent enough, but there was something self-parodic about his generic-as-hell rhymes (“I don’t give a f**k about cha muthaf**kin’ po,” the chorus went) and super-goofy pink polo shirt. Nevertheless– or perhaps, for those precise reasons– the song caught on incredibly well across the Internet. A reaction video of celebrity rappers responding to “Dat $tick” soon surfaced, increasing the song’s popularity.
“That was a crazy time,” Immanuel recalls that moment. “Having Ghostface [Killah] saying that he wants to get on that song is the craziest thing that ever happened to me. I was so excited, I called my mom.”
It’s a long way from Internet hit to full-fledged LP. But songs on Amen like “Glow Like Dat” and “Introvert” are reasonably well-structured, and demonstrate Rich Brian’s artistic growth in terms of content and delivery. The neo-G-funk production, and solid lineup of beat-makers featured here also serve the album well. How well Amen will succeed in launching Immanuel’s career and placing Indonesian hip-hop on the map remains to be seen.