Indonesian rapper Brian Immanuel (better known as Rich Chigga) may have risen to fame through the online meme circuit, but a change in direction may soon be in store. The musician sat down for an interview with XXL recently, where he discussed his roots, his reputation, and hopes for the future.
Rich Chigga’s meteoric rise to global recognition has occurred over the span of less than two years, with the 2016 release of his debut single “Dat $tick” being the primary driving force behind it. The song was accompanied by a now-viral music video which featured the sixteen-year-old spewing wild lyrics while dressed in a preppy getup complete with a fannypack. When combined with the fact that Rich Chigga’s voice sounds decades older than he looks, the ironic culture clash made for perfect meme material. Thus, a viral hit was born.
He has not since shied away from the comedic intentions behind the video, admitting that he had been deliberately seeking a “white dad” aesthetic to juxtapose the music. Just one year after its release, “Dat $tick” has now gained over 64 million views, in the process attracting a legion of new Rich Chigga fans who avidly follow and support his career.Many rap purists have dismissed the budding star as a joke, however, leaving many to question his next move. He got candid when asked about how he views his own newly-minted international reputation.
“I don’t want to be just seen as a character because that can get exhausting after awhile. I take my music very serious. I don’t call myself a comedian.”
With the subsequent releases of three new singles (as well as his recent Rolling Loud Festival performance), Rich Chigga has already made moves towards preserving his career. He opened up about what to expect now that he is seeking more serious route, revealing that his recent efforts are only a fraction of his plans for the coming year.
“I’m trying to be more diverse with my music. I’m working on a debut project and there are some serious songs and some comedic stuff, but the serious songs are my focus. Ever since I dropped ‘Seventeen,’ a lot of people told me like, ‘Holy shit, you’re surpassing the meme status.’ I don’t know why they’re saying that on that song and not the others [but] I feel like more people are understanding what I’m trying to do now.”
“But it’s not a joke.”
Fans needn’t worry that the rapper’s signature humor might phase out, however- Rich Chigga assured that while his primary goal may be proving his worth, he will always preserve his lyrical personality as well.
“This project that I’m working on, I think it’s going to be an introduction to a more serious rap. There’s still going to be funny stuff. When you listen to it, you might still laugh and stuff, that’s cool. That’s what I’m going for too. But it’s not a joke. When people listen to it, they’re going to be like, ‘It’s that real shit.’”