Monday, 7 May 2018

Rich Brian "Amen" (2018)

Amen is the debut record of teenager rapper Rich Brian from Indonesia, a former Viner who's been active as a creator from a young age. Gathering his influences from this newest generation of Hip Hop, he represents much about these times, the accessibility of music and information bringing the culture across seas through the connectivity of the internet, a place where a young Brian found his creative platform. His break out single hit a couple years back but the hype of this record is where I have first heard of him.

Going into this record relatively blind his charm and persona stuck out instantly, the deep baritone voice, his calm, relaxed pace and easy going delivery is persuasive. It sets him a step aside from other rappers, his almost spoken word style has to be far easier for skeptics to digest. Unfortunately I don't think there is a ton of lyrical substance here. A lot of the time he's caught up in the moment, divulging shallow topics of social status and occasionally reflecting on his self perception. There is however a endearing youthful air and innocence about his thoughts and tales. It comes in a moderate dose and matches his tone, most the positive energy comes from his simple and fun rhymes schemes, keen and witty links like "I need space like astronaut". When his flow matches the beat it becomes very enjoyable and hypnotic even if the lyrics aren't making the mark, however the opening track does a fantastic job of introducing himself and setting the stage for the rest to come.

I especially liked the production of this record, its Trap influences feels measured and inspired as opposed to trendy. The melodies and tone can vary from the uplifting, sun soaked vibes of Flight to the club banger Tresspass that came before it. Each track brings together a tight beat with a smart set of programmed instruments that gel together seamlessly. Tuneful synths and simple melodies on layers of subtle instruments remind me of Dr. Dre's philosophy on 2001 in a roundabout way.

I think Brian has a bright future ahead of himself. As I didn't mention it is Rich himself who handles almost all the production according the records footnotes. Thats largely impressive for this emerging talent who's got so much of his life ahead of him. Amen is a decent debut, flawed but fun and enjoyable. Lyrically I think more life experience would bring some last and depth to his words but on the other hand his instrumental game is very strong and the album flows so smooth from track to track, its a really easy to enjoy record.

Favorite Tracks: Amen, Occupied, Introvert, Tresspass, Flight, See Me, Enemies
Rating: 6/10

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