If I told you that the newest young prince of the music world was an 18 year old Indonesian kid called Rich Chigga probably wouldn’t believe me. But that is exactly what is happening. Brian Imanuel lives in Jakarta with his parents and in 2017 he released his first ever track entitled ‘Dat $tick’…it blew up. The tune itself is a dark medley of heavy bass, major keys and a menacing siren that all play well to Chigga’s laid back vocal style. The contents of his rhymes are not going to win any Pulitzers but that has never been a prerequisite for making a dope rap tune. You will hear lines about caps being popped and such as well as gang affiliations.
You sense young Brian hasn’t had to deal too much with gangs in a but he somehow manages to come off sincere. The music video is arguably the most impressive part of the whole production though and Chigga’s relatively small budget has been spent on the usual rap video props like guns, cars, girls and a Reebok moonbag that almost steals the show. The video has almost 20 million views.
This isn’t even close to the most interesting thing about Brian’s story though. Imanuel lives in Indonesia as previously mentioned, what you might not know is that the government are in the midst of a massive internet crackdown. You would think this would be a hindrance to him finding internet notoriety and fame. Nope. In fact Imanuel learned to speak English watching YouTube and and if you heard him speak you would never know he wasn’t from some suburb in Atlanta or New York or any other iconic stable of rap in the United States.
He rolls around with his sister Eryka, who as it happens is also not completely unfamous in internet terms, and his chubby friend who is only known as ‘Rick’. Chigga is uncomfortable with this new found celebrity status though and says he hates going to clubs because he constantly being mobbed for Instagram pics by rich kids and kids pretending to be rich.
He was almost exclusively raised on the internet and joined Twitter before he turned 11. He was a highly anti-social child and thus he took to forming relationships with other people on the popular social media network, mostly Americans. Being 13 hours ahead of his buddies, he often had to stay up or wake up at ridiculous hours. This seems to have worked a treat and almost all of his 300k followers are from the States. Initially he started out in the rap game as an outsider who wasn’t taking it seriously, how ironic that he now seems to be taken very seriously and is very much an insider when it comes to what’s hot.
Chigga’s video was famously played for a selection of artists in the Hip Hop game including Torey Lanez, Cam’ron and Ghostface Killah to name but a few and the reactions he got were very encouraging. So encouraging in fact, that Ghostface (of legendary Wu-Tang fame) offered to feature on a remix of Dat $tick which was released late last year. At 17 this is absurd and incredible and wonderful. He is literally living the dream of every kid who has ever had a passing thought about being a rapper.