Rich Brian attempts to reinvent himself with debut album

By Daria Burnley

Rich Brian’s debut album Amen exposes a more personal side to Brian yet still misses the mark of being a memorable breakout rap album.

Rich Brian first broke out on the music scene with his low-key banger single Dat $tick and under the name Rich Chigga. He shortly became a viral sensation, yet after backlash for appropriating black culture with his too-close-for-comfort name and liberal use of the N-word, Brian had an appropriate change in style and name.

Three years later, Rich Brian came out with Amen and while there are some clear hits, they are lost in the uncertainty of the rest of the album. His strongest songs like “Cold,” “See Me,” and “Introvert,” all use a newer, more eclectic music style, combining both conventional and innovative music styles.

“Cold” combined with the music video of him ice skating, drives a cool and personal look at Brian’s life in fame and music. He raps “every day I spent with everybody never on my own / But today I’m by myself and I don’t even feel alone,” illustrating that at heart he is still an introverted young adult.

“Introvert” features friend and fellow downcast R&B singer Joji, and together they execute a wavy and mellow rap song.

Then Brian bounces to a more upbeat and contemporary rap song with “See Me.” He notes that “I would never quit, I’m too legit, Indonesian MC Hammer,” which is an appropriate summary for Brian’s sound. Not saying that Brian’s music is reminiscent of 90s jigginess, but he is becoming one of the most prominent Asian rappers of today. However, a majority of the album warrants a sense of unfocus.

While Brian clearly shows potential in being a different artist compared to others in the industry, many songs follow an example of generic rap. Brian sounds disinterested and not passionate on some tracks. Songs like “Kitty” and “Occupied” are practically forgettable as they pack no new, interesting lyrics or sounds, composed of thrown-together basic beats and overall lack creativity and charm.

Although the entire album is entertaining and has songs that anyone can enjoy, Brian still needs to figure out his direction and return for a second album that features more personal and accurate songs that depict his lyrical talent and cynicism.