Rich Brian – Amen Album Review
Rich Brian, formerly known as Rich Chigga, has been heavily in the hip-hop scene for over a year. Since gaining notoriety for his song “Dat $tick,” going viral by rapping over a trap beat and wearing a pink polo and a fanny pack, the Indonesian rapper of Chinese descent has changed his name so that his art is more of a reflection of him. Amen, Rich Brian’s debut album, tells that story of an Indonesian rapper coming to America to pursue his dream and although there are some stumbles along the way, Rich Brian does an adequate job of introducing himself to hip-hop.
Rich Brian showcases that he has a skill for telling stories on this album. Songs like “Flight” and “Kitty” use vivid imagery in different ways to tell stories. “Flight” is Rich Brian’s story of finding success in music. Brian talks about coming to America and working with his manager and hip-hop legend Pharrell. On “Kitty,” Rich Brian raps about losing his virginity and the incredibly awkward situation that arose from it. He raps, “Heard a knock, now your boys got to go and f***** run/ Then I made a jump, heard the loudest scream ever /It was from her f***** mom, aye.” The awkwardness of this situation is only trumped by the closing of the song after Brian calls his friend to pick him up and he raps, “Told him 'bout the girl that did the deed/Even said her name, then he asked if he could take a peek/Jumped out his f***** seat, turns out I f***** his sis.” Both these songs showcase Rich Brian’s ability to tell stories even if it is not done in the most lyrical fashion.
On Amen, Rich Brian does several things well, but two things he will have to improve on in the future is his lyrics and his monotone delivery. There are several instances of this project where Rich Brian goes long stretches without rhyming as it seems as if he tries to substitute flow for lyricism and it doesn’t work. On “Little Prince” he raps, “Born in Jakarta, but I live like I'm from Calabasas/Roll seven deep, they make my life feel so much like a movie/I don't really know what I'm watchin.'” This is one of several instances on the album where the gaps in-between rhymes are too long. Another issue Rich Brian runs into on this album is that he is very monotone. When he is rapping, you cannot tell if he is happy, sad or any mood in between. Also, because he is so monotone, the album becomes boring, making repeated listens difficult.
Even though Rich Brian’s rapping is monotone, he shows he is a versatile producer. He is listed as either a producer or co-producer on every track on this album and showcases he can do more than dark trap sounding beats. While he still does that on songs like “Occupied” and “Chaos,” he creates softer sounds on songs such as “Introvert” and “Arizona.” This versatility in his production shows that he can create different sounds and once his rapping style becomes more versatile, he will come close to reaching his potential.
Amen is a solid stepping stone for an artist who just recently found hip-hop. If he can sure up his lyricism and become less monotone, the future is bright for Rich Brian.
Jerome Taylor is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.