Brian Imanuel Soewarno (born 4 September 1999), known professionally as Rich Brian and formerly known as Rich Chigga, is an Indonesian rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is known for his viral debut single "Dat $tick", which was first released in March 2016 on SoundCloud. The single was later certified gold by RIAA. His debut studio album, Amen, was released in February 2018, and peaked at number 18 on the US Billboard 200. Brian's second studio album, The Sailor, was released on 26 July 2019.
Brian Imanuel Soewarno was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is of Chinese descent. He is the youngest of four siblings. Brian was raised in West Jakarta in a middle-to-low class neighbourhood. Despite his father being a lawyer, he never had a formal education and spent most of his time helping at his parent's café while being homeschooled.
In 2010, while growing up in Indonesia, Brian began his career with social media, when he was 11 years old. He had originally gotten his hands on a Rubik's Cube, and he realised he could log onto his parents' computer to find strategies for solving it faster. This is how he discovered YouTube. He also found and joined Twitter, in August 2010, when he was just 11 years old. This eventually led him to making video content, including dark-comedy sketches on Twitter. He moved to the platform Vine when he was 15 and began to post daily videos there. Brian, who at the time spoke only Indonesian, taught himself to speak English by watching YouTube videos and by listening to rappers like Childish Gambino, 2 Chainz, Macklemore and Tyler, the Creator.
Brian began listening to hip hop music in 2012, when an American friend he knew on the internet introduced him to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis "Thrift Shop" and Brian began to explore deeper into the genre, discovering Drake, 2 Chainz, Kanye West and Logic at first. Brian wrote his first rap song in 2014 and recorded it onto an iPhone microphone over an MF DOOM produced instrumental.
Brian originally wanted to become a cinematographer in Los Angeles, giving up once his music career began taking off.
2015–16: Career beginnings
Brian began his career under the name Rich Chigga and released his debut track, titled "Living the Dream" on 17 July 2015, on his YouTube account. The song was produced by DJ Smokey. Brian then went on to release his debut single "Dat $tick" on 11 March 2016. The track caught international success after a reaction video was released by 88rising, featuring American rappers Ghostface Killah, 21 Savage, Tory Lanez, MadeinTYO, Desiigner, and many more. Since the official music video for the track was uploaded onto his YouTube account, it has been viewed over 139 million times. "Dat $tick" then went on to peak at number four on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles.
Brian then went on to release his second single titled "Who That Be" on iTunes on 9 August 2016. The song was produced by Sihk. He then released a remix of his debut single "Dat $tick" which features rappers Ghostface Killah and Pouya. Brian later released his third single "Seventeen" which quickly surpassed the one million hits mark on both YouTube and SoundCloud.
Brian released his fourth single "Back At It" on 19 April 2017. He later started his first US tour in April 2017, which concluded in May. In May 2017, Brian released the single "Gospel" with XXXTentacion and Keith Ape. This was XXXTentacion's first collaboration with Brian and the song was released through 88rising and has since received over 38 million views on YouTube since its release.
Brian won an award at the 4th Indonesian Choice Awards as Breakthrough Artist of the Year in May 2017. Brian announced his debut album in an interview with XXL, saying "I'm working on a debut project and there are some serious songs and some comedic stuff, but the serious songs are my focus." In an interview, Brian said he was spending most of his stay in Los Angeles, California working on his debut album.
Brian released "Glow Like Dat" on 15 August 2017, through 88rising's YouTube channel. He then announced a nationwide tour starting on 9 September and concluding on 21 November titled "Come to My Party Tour". Brian later released the singles "Chaos" and "Crisis" featuring 21 Savage in October and November 2017 respectively. On 19 December 2017, Brian announced on the social media platform, Twitter, that he was releasing his debut studio album titled, Amen. On 1 January 2018, Brian officially changed his stage name from Rich Chigga to Brian with the release of "See Me". Six days later, he changed his stage name again to Rich Brian. Brian later went on and appeared on a single and music video with Kris Wu, Joji, Trippie Redd and Baauer titled, "18" on 16 January. On 2 February, Amen was released and made him the first Asian musician to reach number one on iTunes Hip Hop charts and went on to peak at number 18 on the US Billboard 200.
Following the release of Amen, Brian released "Watch Out!" on 4 April 2018. He later appeared on 88rising's compilation album, Head in the Clouds and released two singles to promote the album with "Midsummer Madness" featuring Joji, Higher Brothers, Kyle Chan, and 8 August, and "History" being released on 7 June and 18 July respectively. The album was released on 20 July 2018.
2019–present: The Sailor
On 26 June 2019, Brian released a new single, titled "Yellow", featuring the artist and producer Bekon and later announced his second studio album titled The Sailor. He then released the second single from the album "Kids" on 17 July 2019. The Sailor was released on 26 July 2019 with guest appearances from RZA and Joji.
Rich Brian's musical style has been called "ironic" by UrbanDaddy though it "eventually transcends itself to become a legitimate piece of art." Brian's vocals have been described as baritone, and his delivery as "gruff yet agile" and "unique". His song writing ability has been called "skilled" by HotNewHipHop. Brian, originally making comedic music, has since attempted to distance himself and make more serious music with singles such as "Seventeen" and "Glow Like Dat".
With the release of "Yellow" on 26 June 2019, Rich Brian's musical style expanded. In an interview with Complex Magazine, he states that his album "The Sailor" is an "important step forward for his art" and he is beginning to "write about things that are deeply personal to him."
Brian currently lives in Los Angeles, California after moving there in May 2017. He is not a permanent resident of the United States; though in July 2017, he extended his stay.
Brian's original stage name, Rich Chigga, created controversy in the past. Brian and his friend came up with the nickname when he came out with his first song on SoundCloud. "I realized I don’t really have a rap name. And then my friend from Wichita was just talking about it. We came up with a couple of names which were cool, and he was just like, 'Rich Chigga.' I was like, 'That is really catchy.' And that's honestly it." Talking about his stage name, Brian said "I do regret it – I didn't really know what I was doing and I definitely did not know people were gonna pop off like this." As a result, he began to be professionally known by Rich Brian from 2018 onwards. In a Twitter post, Brian said "I have been planning to do this forever and I'm so happy to finally do it. I was naive and I made a mistake."
Brian was homeschooled and has stated that he does not wish to seek college education, though if given the chance, he would attend film school.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
As lead artist
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|"Who That Be"||—||—|
|"Dat Stick" (Remix)
(featuring Ghostface Killah and Pouya)
|"Back At It"||2017||—||—|
(with Keith Ape and XXXTentacion)
|"Glow Like Dat"||—||7||Amen|
(featuring 21 Savage)
(with Kris Wu, Joji, Trippie Redd and Baauer)
|"History"||—||—||Head in the Clouds|
(with Guapdad 4000)
|"Love in My Pocket"||—||—|
|"—" denotes single that did not chart or was not released.|
As featured artist
|"Turbo Thot 3000"
(MaxxJamez featuring Parade, Klimatic Jay, Boy Gwaan and Rich Chigga)
(88rising featuring Joji, Rich Brian, Higher Brothers, Kyle Chan, and 8 August)
|2018||Head in the Clouds|
(Higher Brothers featuring Rich Brian)
(88rising featuring CHUNG HA and Rich Brian)
|Heads in the Clouds II|
(Jackson Wang featuring Rich Brian)
Other charted songs
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"100 Degrees"||2019||4||39||The Sailor|
|"Bankroll"||2017||Diplo, Young Thug, Rich the Kid||Non-album single|
|"Working for It" (Remix)||2017||Zhu, Skrillex and THEY.|
|"IDGAF" (Rich Brian and Diablo remix)||2018||Dua Lipa|
- Come to My Party Tour (2017–2018)
- The Sailor Tour (2019)
- 88rising Asia Tour (with Higher Brothers and Joji) (2017)