Indonesia’s Rich Brian becomes first Asian artist to top hip-hop charts
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Indonesia’s Rich Brian becomes first Asian artist to top hip-hop charts

INDONESIAN hip hop artist Rich Brian has made history by becoming the first artist from Asia to top the iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap chart after the release of his debut album Amen last week.

The rapper’s US-based hip-hop label 88 Rising tweeted on Sunday: “HISTORY. @richbrian is the first Asian artist in history, to ever reach #1 on the ITunes Hip Hop Chart. People think, rarely wonder”. On Monday it remained at number five, edging out rap juggernauts Migos’ Culture II.

Born Brian Imanuel, the 18-year-old Jakarta native gained a following online as a comedian before getting into hip-hop, gaining the attention of the music world under the moniker Rich Chigga and moving to Los Angeles last year.

His break out song – 2016’s “Dat $tick”, the video for which he appeared in a middle class suburban neighbourhood donning a fanny pack and pink polo shirt – has now amassed 85 million views on YouTube. His song “Gospel” previously reached the top ten in Billboard’s R&B charts.

“I don’t want to be boxed in or looked at a certain way, as in, ‘Yo, he’s an Asian rapper,’” Imanuel recently told Billboard. “It’s pretty hard as an Asian rapper to not be put in a box. I do my best to avoid that.”

SEE ALSO: Indonesia’s greatest musical export this decade may be a teenaged comedian

Citing American hip hop influences like Childish Gambino, Macklemore and Tyler, the Creator, Rich Brian has previously appeared on songs with Soundcloud sensation 21 Savage, while “Dat $tick” was remixed with a verse from rap icon Ghostface Killah.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69TAI0QpQh8

On Friday night, Rich Brian performed the title track of Amen and “Cold” on the Late Late Show with James Corden.

While one track on the album features Offset, a member of Migos, most of the album is helmed solely by the teenaged lyricist. “His tracks … are far too good to ever have him sidelined as a novelty,” wrote the Guardian in a review of Amen.

Rich Brian claims to have produced 95 percent of the album himself.

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