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Viral Sensation

By Claire Tran

Photography courtesy of Claie Tran

“Brian! Brian! Brian! Brian!” the crowd chanted.

Brian Immanuel, commonly known as his stage name Rich Chigga, taped comedy videos on Vine when he was just 15 years old. Homeschooled and living in Indonesia, his first introduction to rap music was through the Internet, discovering artists like Childish Gambino, Tyler, The Creator and Drake. In February 2016, Immanuel released his debut single “Dat $tick.” Initially a meme among the Asian American community, the video went viral with 74 million views after a reaction video was posted featuring 21 Savage, Desiigner and other rappers.

Immanuel is now embarking on his first full-length U.S. tour, titled “Come To My Party,” with rapper Duckwrth and DJ Don Krez. He only has seven songs in his repertoire, but that didn’t stop him from selling out shows in 16 cities, from Los Angeles to New York.

Miami native Don Krez pumped up the audience with remixes of popular songs, like “XO Tour Llif3” by Lil Uzi Vert and “m.A.A.d. City” by Kendrick Lamar. He pranced around the stage, his tousled, wavy hair bouncing with every step.

The next opener, Duckwrth, was all about boosting the crowd’s confidence. In his song “BOY,” the Los Angeles rapper made sure the crowd shouted his lyrics.

“No matter what they say, I do it anyway!” His unique flow captured the audience’s attention, even if people didn’t know his music.

“Since Duckwrth is a new artist, people weren’t as hype because not many people knew what he was saying,” said Dylan Chen (QST ’19). “But he was still amping up the crowd.”

The crowd patiently waited after Duckwrth’s set, hanging around the bar or shopping for merchandise—some notable items being a black fanny pack with “RICH” across the front and a hoodie of Rich Chigga and a police officer.

As the audience grew more impatient, the chanting began. A sly, close-up portrait of Immanuel projected across the stage, but he was nowhere to be found.

Then, the lights blacked out and a familiar synth echoed throughout the venue. Immanuel popped out from stage right, shouting the first lyric to his song “Back At It.”

“Back on my bullshit, man you can’t believe it!” rapped Immanuel and the crowd, perfectly in sync.

Immanuel continued through his minimal discography, throwing in a cover of “Rockstar” by Post Malone. The crowd jumped, danced and moshed along to his smooth baritone and bass-heavy tracks. Between songs, Immanuel often had the crowd shout “Rich!” and “Chigga!” back and forth. At times, he seemed out of breath, but trucked along confidently.

When a flowery field projected onto stage, the crowd screamed in anticipation of his latest hit “Glow Like Dat,” which recently hit 32 million views on Youtube. Nearly everyone in the audience sang along to its melodic chorus and romantic lyrics—a first for Immanuel.

The 30-minute set closed off with Immanuel’s most popular track, “Dat $tick,” twice. First, Immanuel rapped it alone and disappeared behind the curtain. For an encore, he brought Duckwrth and Don Krez back on stage to re-perform the hit, this time with the lyrics flashing and purple 3D guns rotating on screen.

“I thought it was nice to see a young Asian artist get a platform to perform in the USA,” said Constante Palad (ENG ’19.) “Despite being a short set, it was still one of the best concert atmospheres I’ve experienced.”

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