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Culture Shock

Rich Brian - Amen

Rating: 4/7

Some rappers sold drugs, some rappers killed other rappers, Rich Brian microwaved bread. Brian Imanuel first gained notoriety as a YouTuber, entering the Hip-Hop game under the alias Rich Chigga, and his debut single “Dat $tick.” The music video contains Brian and his friends doing normal trap video activities, but with his pink polo, fanny pack, and comical expressions, it was confusing as to whether it was a joke or a serious attempt at breaking into the market. It turns out it was both. Rich Brian is now going full force into the music scene with his debut album, Amen.

The self-titled track starts off the album in a pretty predictable way. It’s a simple beat with Brian rapping over it, it’s got a couple cool bars, but for the most part it’s pretty dull. A lot of the album continues this trend, with a monotone flow set onto an interesting beat. His lines are still good, but there just isn’t a whole lot of variation is his voice. However, for what he lacks in vocals he makes up for in the underlying tracks. The beat of “Chaos” is very experimental for Rich Brian, and stands out as one his more interesting tracks. It sounds like a police siren crossed with a dying fire alarm. It’s both intriguing and unsettling, making it perfect for a track called “Chaos.”

Despite various filler, Amen still has plenty of highlights. “Cold” stands out as one of the album’s top tracks. The piano and Brian’s double-tracked vocals elevate it to a level above many of his other tracks. It’s produced really well and feels like one of the more put-together of the album. Recounting his journey fame and his quest to be the GOAT, “Flight” is another strong track on Amen. Like “Cold,” this track offers a range of variability in voice, and a break from Brian’s monotonous flow. His delivering of bars turns into the telling of a story, giving a lot of depth to the internet star.

There are a number of features on the album, with the biggest artist being Offset of Migos. His feature is on “Attention,” despite various Migos hate, the track is pretty good. Rich Brian’s style is very Trap influenced, and with Migos being the Kings of the genre, when these two are together they flourish. Another notable feature comes on the track “Introvert” with Joji. Gaining traction on YouTube under the name Filthy Frank, Joji is another YouTuber turned musician. Joji’s cloudy chill feel adds a great backing to Brian’s style, easily making “Introvert” one of the best songs of the album.

While there are some good peaks to the album, there are also a lot of low points. “Trespass,” “Enemies,” and “Kitty” all suffer from sounding more or less the same. Rich Brian’s songs tend to follow a similar path, and even when he adding choruses or features, a lot of it starts to blend together. Regardless of how you feel about Amen, or Rich Brian in general, he’s made a mark on the industry. With this release, he’s become the first Asian artist to reach #1 on the iTunes Hip-Hop chart. Brian represents a demographic rarely seen in Hip-Hop, and hopefully this won’t be the last we see of him.

Amen isn’t the best album, but for an 18-year-olds debut work, it’s pretty good. Rich Brian isn’t the best rapper in the game, but he has potential. Brian has had previous success with singles like “Dat $tick,” “Glow Like Dat,” and “Chaos,” but he’s having trouble crossing over into being an album-based artist. All in all, he’s got room to grow.


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