Rich Brian

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Rich Brian
Rich Chigga.png
Brian performing in 2016
Born
Brian Imanuel Soewarno

(1999-09-03) 3 September 1999 (age 23)
Jakarta, Indonesia
Other names
  • Rich Chigga
  • Brian
Years active2015–present
Musical career
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Labels

Brian Imanuel Soewarno (born 3 September 1999[1][2]), known professionally as Rich Brian, is an Indonesian rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is known for his viral debut single "Dat $tick", which was first released in March 2016 on SoundCloud.[3] The single was later certified gold by RIAA.[4] His debut studio album, Amen, was released in 2018 and peaked at number 18 on the US Billboard 200.[5] Brian's second studio album, The Sailor, was released in 2019. He released an EP titled 1999 in 2020. He released another EP titled Brightside in January 2022. Brian has collaborated with many artists from China and South Korea such as CHUNGHA, Keith Ape, Jackson Wang and Jae Park.

Early life[edit]

Brian Imanuel Soewarno[2] was born in Jakarta[6] and is ethnically of Chinese-Indonesian descent.[7] He is the youngest of four siblings.[8] Brian was raised in West Jakarta in a middle-to-low class neighbourhood.[9] Despite his father being a lawyer,[10] he never had a formal education and spent most of his time helping at his parents' café while being homeschooled.[11]

In 2010, while growing up in Indonesia, Brian began his career with social media when he was 11 years old. He discovered YouTube after he got a Rubik's Cube and realised he could log onto his parents' computer to find strategies for solving it faster. He also joined Twitter in August 2010. This eventually led him to making video content, including dark-comedy sketches on Twitter.[10] He moved to the platform Vine when he was 15 and began to post daily videos there. Brian, who at the time spoke only Indonesian started to learn and polish his English, had an American friend on Skype that he could talk and converse with to improve his English.[12] He also taught himself to speak English by watching YouTube videos and by listening to rappers like Childish Gambino, 2 Chainz, Macklemore and Tyler, the Creator.[13]

Brian began listening to hip hop music in 2012, when an American friend he knew on the internet introduced him to "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.[14] Brian began to explore the genre, discovering Drake, 2 Chainz, Kanye West and Logic at first. Brian wrote his first rap song in 2014 and recorded it onto an iPhone microphone over an MF DOOM produced instrumental.[15]

Brian originally wanted to become a cinematographer in Los Angeles, however he gave up the aspiration once his music career began taking off.[16]

Career[edit]

2015–2016: Career beginnings[edit]

Brian began his career under the name Rich Chigga and released his debut track, titled "Living the Dream" on 17 July 2015, on his YouTube account. The song was produced by DJ Smokey.[17] Brian then went on to release his debut single "Dat $tick" on 11 March 2016.[18][19] Shortly after, he was signed by 88rising.[20] "Dat $tick" track caught international success after 88rising released a reaction video featuring American rappers Ghostface Killah, 21 Savage, Tory Lanez, MadeinTYO, Desiigner, and many more.[21] Since the official music video for the track was uploaded onto his YouTube account, it has been viewed over 200 million times. "Dat $tick" then went on to peak at number four on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles.[22]

Brian then went on to release his second single titled "Who That Be" on iTunes on 9 August 2016. The song was produced by Sihk.[23] He then released a remix of his debut single "Dat $tick" which features rappers Ghostface Killah and Pouya.[24] Brian later released his third single "Seventeen" which quickly surpassed the one million hits mark on both YouTube and SoundCloud.[25][26]

2017–2018: Amen[edit]

Brian released his fourth single "Back At It" on 19 April 2017.[27] He later started his first US tour in April 2017, which concluded in May.[28] In May 2017, Brian released the single "Gospel" with XXXTentacion and Keith Ape.[29][30] This was XXXTentacion's first collaboration with Brian and the song was released through 88rising and has since received over 38 million views on YouTube since its release.[31]

Brian won an award at the 4th Indonesian Choice Awards as Breakthrough Artist of the Year in May 2017. Brian announced his debut album in an interview with XXL, saying "I'm working on a debut project and there are some serious songs and some comedic stuff, but the serious songs are my focus."[32] In an interview, Brian said he was spending most of his stay in Los Angeles, California working on his debut album.[33]

Brian released "Glow Like Dat" on 15 August 2017, through 88rising's YouTube channel.[34] He then announced a nationwide tour starting on 9 September and concluding on 21 November titled "Come to My Party Tour".[35] Brian later released the singles "Chaos" and "Crisis" featuring 21 Savage in October and November 2017 respectively.[36][37] On 19 December 2017, Brian announced on the social media platform, Twitter, that he was releasing his debut studio album titled, Amen.[38] On 1 January 2018, Brian officially changed his stage name from "Rich Chigga" to "Brian" with the release of "See Me".[39] Six days later, he changed his stage name again to "Rich Brian". Brian later went on and appeared on a single and music video with Kris Wu, Joji, Trippie Redd and Baauer titled, "18" on 16 January.[40] On 2 February, Amen was released and made him the first Asian musician to reach number one on iTunes Hip Hop charts and went on to peak at number 18 on the US Billboard 200.[41][42]

Following the release of Amen, Brian released "Watch Out!" on 4 April 2018.[43] He later appeared on 88rising's compilation album, Head in the Clouds and released two singles to promote the album with "Midsummer Madness" featuring Joji, Higher Brothers, Kyle Chan, 8 August, and "History" which were released on 7 June and 18 July respectively.[44][45] The album was released on 20 July 2018.[46]

2019–present: The Sailor, 1999 and Brightside[edit]

On 26 June 2019, Brian released a new single, titled "Yellow", featuring the artist and producer Bekon and later announced his second studio album titled The Sailor.[47] He then released the second single from the album "Kids" on 17 July 2019.[48] The Sailor was released on 26 July 2019 with guest appearances from RZA and Joji.[49][50][51]

On 25 August 2020, Brian released an EP titled 1999.[52][53] The seven-track EP was preceded with three singles with accompanying music videos: "Don't Care", "Love in my Pocket" and "DOA".[54][55][56]

On 20 January 2022, Brian released another EP titled Brightside.[57] The four-track EP was preceded with a single with an accompanying music video: "New Tooth". On the day of the EP's release, a music video for one of its songs, "Getcho Mans", which features fellow Indonesian rapper Warren Hue, was also released.

Musical style[edit]

Rich Brian's musical style has been called "ironic" by UrbanDaddy though it "eventually transcends itself to become a legitimate piece of art."[58] Brian's vocals have been described as baritone,[59] and his delivery as "gruff yet agile"[16] and "unique".[60] His song writing ability has been called "skilled" by HotNewHipHop.[61] Brian, originally making comedic music, has since attempted to distance himself and make more serious music with singles such as "Seventeen" and "Glow Like Dat".[62]

With the release of "Yellow" on 26 June 2019, Rich Brian's musical style expanded. In an interview with Complex Magazine, he states that his album "The Sailor" is an "important step forward for his art" and he is beginning to "write about things that are deeply personal to him."[63]

Brian has cited Young Thug, Tyler, The Creator, Yung Lean and Childish Gambino as inspirations.[16]

Personal life[edit]

During his youth, had Brian competed in a couple of Rubik's cube competitions. According to his World Cube Association page, he attended the 2010 Jakarta Open Rubik's Cube Competition.[64] He finished 20th out of 106 during the qualification round for the 3×3×3 cube, with a best of 23.65 seconds. Brian was admitted into the first round where he finished 51st out of 105, with a best of 20.44 seconds.[64][65] During the same competition, he also competed in the 2×2×2 and the 4×4×4 events. Brian finished 24th out of 74 during the 2×2 event and had a best of 7.96 seconds. While during the 4×4 event Brian finished 35th out of 43 with a best of 2:22.81 minutes. Brian also competed in the 2×2 event at the Jakarta Ceria Open in October of 2010, there he finished 28th out of 67 with a best solve of 5.68 seconds.[64]

Brian currently lives in Los Angeles after moving there in May 2017.[66] He is not a permanent resident of the United States; though in July 2017, he extended his stay.[33]

Brian's original stage name, Rich Chigga, created controversy in the past.[67] Brian and his friend came up with the nickname when he came out with his first song on SoundCloud. "I realized I don't really have a rap name. And then my friend from Wichita was just talking about it. We came up with a couple of names which were cool, and he was just like, 'Rich Chigga.' I was like, 'That is really catchy.' And that's honestly it."[68] Talking about his stage name, Brian said "I do regret it – I didn't really know what I was doing and I definitely did not know people were gonna pop off like this."[69] As a result, he began to be professionally known by Rich Brian from 2018 onwards. In a Twitter post, Brian said "I have been planning to do this forever and I'm so happy to finally do it. I was naïve and I made a mistake."[70]

Brian was homeschooled and has stated that he does not wish to seek college education,[33] though if given the chance, he would attend film school.[18]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions and details
Title Album details Peak chart positions
AUS
[71]
BEL
(FL)

[72]
CAN
[73]
NLD
[74]
NZ
[75]
UK
[76]
UK
R&B

[77]
US
[42]
US
R&B
/HH

[78]
US R&B
[79]
Amen 27 108 18 61 30 87 27 18 11 8
The Sailor 77 74 89 27
[81]
62 31
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released.

Extended plays[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions and details
Title Album details
1999
Brightside

Singles[edit]

As lead artist[edit]

List of singles, showing year released and selected chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US
R&B/HH
Bub.

[22]
NZ Heat.
[83]
"Dat Stick" 2016 4 Non-album singles
"Who That Be"[23]
"Seventeen"[85]
"Back At It"[27] 2017
"Gospel"[86]
(with Keith Ape and XXXTentacion)
7 4
"Glow Like Dat"[88] 7 Amen
"Chaos"[36]
"Crisis"[37]
(featuring 21 Savage)
10 Non-album single
"See Me"[89] 2018 Amen
"18"[40]
(with Kris Wu, Joji, Trippie Redd and Baauer)
Non-album singles
"Watch Out!"[43]
"History"[45]
(with 88rising)
Head in the Clouds
"Yellow"[47]
(featuring Bekon)
2019 The Sailor
"Kids"[48]
"These Nights"[90]
(with 88rising and Chungha)
Heads in the Clouds II
"Bali"[91]
(with Guapdad 4000)
2020 Non-album single
"Love in My Pocket"[92] 1999
"Don't Care"[93]
"Sydney"[94] 2021 TBA
"California"[95]
(with 88rising and Niki featuring Warren Hue)
Head in the Clouds III
"Lazy Susan"[96]
(with 21 Savage featuring Warren Hue and MaSiWei)
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: The Album
"New Tooth"[97] Brightside
"C'est la Vie"
(with Yung Gravy and bbno$)
2022 Marvelous
"—" denotes single that did not chart or was not released.

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
CAN
[98]
FIN
[99]
NOR
[100]
NZ
Hot

[101]
US
Alt.

[102]
US
Dance/
Elec.

[103]
US
Rock

[104]
US
R&B

[105]
WW
[106]
"Turbo Thot 3000"[107]
(MaxxJamez featuring Parade, Klimatic Jay, Boy Gwaan and Rich Chigga)
2016 Non-album singles
"Bankroll"[108]
(Diplo featuring Rich Chigga, Young Thug and Rich the Kid)
2017
"Midsummer Madness"[44]
(88rising featuring Joji, Rich Brian, Higher Brothers, and 8 August)
2018 23 Head in the Clouds
"Zombie"[110]
(Higher Brothers featuring Rich Brian)
2019 Five Stars
"Titanic"[111]
(Jackson Wang featuring Rich Brian)
Mirrors
"Time Machine"[112]
(Diamond Pistols featuring Rich Brian)
2020 Time Machine
"Edamame"[113]
(bbno$ featuring Rich Brian)
2021 15 8 24 7 12 13 169 Eat Ya Veggies
"Run It"
(DJ Snake featuring Rick Ross and Rich Brian)
13 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: The Album
"—" denotes single that did not chart or was not released.

Other charted songs[edit]

List of other charted songs, showing year released and selected chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
IDN
[115]
NZ
Hot

[116]
"100 Degrees" 2019 4 39 The Sailor

Guest appearances[edit]

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other performer(s) Album
"Red Rubies" 2018 88rising, Yung Bans, Yung Pinch, Higher Brothers and Don Krez Head in the Clouds[117]
"Beam" 88rising and Playboi Carti
"Disrespectin" 88rising, Higher Brothers and 8 August
"Shouldn't Couldn't Wouldn't" 2019 88rising and Niki Head in the Clouds II[118]
"Hopscotch" 88rising, 8 August, Joji and Barney Bones
"2 The Face" 88rising and Higher Brothers
"Always Rising" 2021 Niki and Warren Hue Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: The Album[119]
"Foolish" Warren Hue and Guapdad 4000
"Act Up" EarthGang

Remixes[edit]

List of remixes, showing year released and original artists
Title Year Original artist(s)
"Dat Stick (Remix)"[120]
(featuring Ghostface Killah and Pouya)
2016 Rich Brian
"Who That Be (Josh Pan & West1ne Remix)"[121]
"Working for It (Remix)"[122] 2017 Zhu, Skrillex, They.
"IDGAF (Rich Brian and Diablo Remix)"[123] 2018 Dua Lipa
"Love In My Pocket (Weird Genius Remix)"[124] 2020 Rich Brian
"Midsummer Madness 20 (Danny Ocean Remix)"[125] 88rising, Rich Brian, Joji, Higher Brothers, 8 August

Concert tours[edit]

Headlining

  • Come to My Party Tour (2017–2018)[126]
  • The Sailor Tour (2019)[127]

Co-headlining

References[edit]

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