You Can Always Trust Rich Brian to Turn Up, Especially at Head in the Clouds Thoughts+Photos: Rich Brian at 88rising's Head In The Clouds 8/21/22
LOS ANGELES, CA–
“…I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Rich Brian live. I think this year’s Head in the Clouds set marked my seventh. Even though I’ve seen him perform so many times, Rich Brian never fails to disappoint. You can always trust him to put on a great show, proving why he is one of the most versatile up-and-coming rappers in the game right now.
Born Brian Immanuel in Jakarta, Indonesia, Rich Brian rose to fame first through social media, starting his career in social media on YouTube and Vine. Posting videos like “My Strange Addiction: Kushothyleoma” and “how to microwave #bread,” Brian showcased his eccentric and witty personality– while also teaching himself English, leading to the start of his rap career. After posting his first single “Dat $tick” in 2016, which went absolutely viral and was later certified gold, Immanuel signed to 88rising, becoming one of their first artists and helping them become the label that they are today. With hits like his first studio album, Amen, which peaked at number 18 on the US Billboard 200, “Yellow,” and most recently, “edamame,” Rich Brian is one of the pillars of 88rising and has paved the way for Asian artists in the hip-hop industry. As someone who’s been following him for years, I’m proud to have seen his artistic growth firsthand and ecstatic to see him being offered huge opportunities, like performing on the main stage at Coachella, creating songs for a Marvel movie, and collaborating with huge names in the industry.
Wearing an all-black ensemble, the rapper’s performance started with a bang. Revealing himself from the smoke and cages, Brian performed an unreleased song, “Vivid,” that he also displayed at Coachella. Showcasing his gruff and unique rapping style, he brought the energy as he continued the set with “Lagoon” and “Gospel.” The thirty thousand people in the crowd matched Brian’s energy, moshing and chanting his name in unison every chance they got.
After turning up with the crowd in his opening songs, Rich Brian slowed it down with “Cold” and “See Me.” After being in the industry for six years, Rich Brian clearly showed that he’s a master of crowd control, as he’s able to provide the audience– who at that point had been standing in the heat for hours– a perfect balance between exciting and calming.
Towards the end of his performance, fans were in for a treat. As live trumpets sounded, the rapper introduced his next song, “We’re having a fucking party, and what better way to have a party, than have a song like this.” The song he was referring to is “edamame,” a collaboration with bbno$, which blew up on TikTok (the sound has 626.2k uses at the time this article is being written). The entirety of the crowd sang along, having a great time with the unforgettable melody and catchy lyrics.
Years after “Dat $tick,” Rich Brian has grown into an artist with a distinct style and sound. Yet, he remains faithful to his roots– mixing his more serious messages with playful influences and stage effects. That dichotomy between these different influences is what cements Rich Brian’s presence as one of 88rising’s key artists and a forerunner for Asian rappers in the West. At only 23, he has many years ahead of him, and I can’t wait to see him perform again…”