Rich Brian’s newest EP1999 is a sense of rebirth for his personal life and musical career.

Rich Brian attends the World Premiere of Disney’s ‘MULAN’ at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, US, on March 9. (AFP/Jesse Grant)

 

Although it’s only been a little over a year since his sophomore album The Sailor, the production style, lyrics, and vocals in 1999 have topped what Rich Brian has released so far. The songs specifically spotlight his vocal growth and rapping skills, while the lyrics describe his maturity and personal growth. On August 25, 2020, Rich Brian released the new EP which features seven tracks and lead singles, “Love In My Pocket” and “Don’t Care”. 

About Rich Brian

Brian Imanuel Soewarno, professionally known as Rich Brian, was born on September 3, 1999. The Indonesian rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer is known for his viral single “Dat $tick” which was released back in March 2016 on Soundcloud under the former name Rich Chigga. Even before he started releasing music, Rich Brian had a great internet presence on social media platforms like Vine and Twitter, where he released dark sketch comedies. In an interview, Rich Brian revealed that he learned English from watching YouTube videos and listening to American rappers like Childish Gambino, 2 Chainz, and Macklemore. Soon after the viral recognition from “Dat $tick”, Rich Brian signed to 88Rising in 2017 where his musical career skyrocketed.

Rich Brian / 1999

1999 — Track by Track

The overall theme of Rich Brian’s newest EP is change and rebirth in his personal life, which heavily influences the tone and mood of the album. Compared to his previous albums Amen and The Sailor, the songs in 1999 provide a deep insight into his current life. The tracks relate to his relationships, personal struggles, and therapy, while also including how he’s evolved into living his life unapologetically. 1999 has a production style similar to BROCKHAMPTON, which also includes the pop retro-tinged production that a lot of pop artists have done recently.

The EP opens up with “Sometimes,” a song that reflects on his past and focuses on where he’s headed in his personal life. The lyrics reveal that Rich Brian is making a lifestyle change and is choosing to proudly live in the moment. He’s learning to embrace the uncertainty of the future and vows to live without a disguise.

The second track, “Don’t Care”, has a similar overarching theme of living unapologetically. However, it focuses more on cutting negative and fake people out of his life with the lyrics, “Lotta love and plain jealousy been comin’ from the same ones/Like, which one is it now?”

Rich Brian also challenges mental strife in this song with the same goal of living a more carefree life. He sings, “I’d rather die than go meet with the people/That make me think of my therapist’s office.” This shows that Rich Brian is trying to keep his peace of mind by letting go of negative people that bring problems into his life.

The“Long Run” is about Rich Brian’s past struggles and the lyrics reveal he has accepted his hardships and has gained spiritual growth within them. The lines, “Yeah, my soul is growing’, but my face still the same, uh”,  reflects this idea of holding those qualities that made him into the person he is, while gaining knowledge from his past. He also emphasizes that although changes are happening in his life, he is still staying close to his roots. This song is a humble tribute to the future of his career — he’s in it for the long run.

When You Come Home” is a soft track that sounds like it has some Rex Orange County influence. Rich Brian shows off his vocal growth in this track… This song is also very different compared to his other releases because it’s a somber melody. It is speculated he takes on the perspective of his parents. The rich storytelling describes how it feels seeing a close friend after some time has passed.

DOA” is the next track and a well-known acronym for ‘dead on arrival’. The switch from the soft ballad, “When You Come Home,” to “DOA” (which is upbeat and catchy) is very drastic, greatly changing the mood of the album – in a good way…This is where Rich Brian specifically includes the pop retro-tinged production that many pop artists have used recently. The catchy lyrics and upbeat instrumentals make this song an easy fan favorite.

The sixth track on the EP is “Love In My Pocket,” the second single with a music video released prior to 1999. With the focus on love, Rich Brian released this song shortly after publicly announcing his relationship with his girlfriend Vanntey Heng.  Like “DOA,” this is a fun and lighthearted song, which mostly focuses on being love-filled. The catchy lyrics and 80’s inspired production style is a whimsical love song that includes a modern twist with Rich Brian’s rapping. 

1999 closes with “Sins” and Rich Brian’s vocal range is the focal point of the entire song. This song debuts a vocal range Rich Brian has never used before and it is gratifying to hear his musical growth. “Sins” is about leaving a girl because of her mistakes and trying not to lose faith in love because of her faults. He sings, “Desperate, I can’t let your sins just take away my faith.”

The Takeaway

Overall, Rich Brian’s 1999 is a symbol of personal growth as a young adult. This EP also signifies the rebirth of how he chooses to live his life — freely and unapologetically. Rich Brian knows where he is at in his personal life and his career and is now confident in the way he chooses to share his art.

This is the first EP that truly shows Rich Brian’s personal endeavors and because of that, it’s his favorite project that he has worked on so far. 1999 is also easily the best work he has put out because it includes a variety of production styles, a deep lyricism, and vocals that have never been heard before. I think this album is my favorite of all the Rich Brian releases thus far because his vocals and rapping skills are phenomenal. My favorite track is ‘Long Run’ because the lyrics are very deep and apply to the bigger picture in life that a lot of young adults don’t really realize. Overall, this album is very relatable to young adults and I think anyone can listen to this album and realize that they’ve been through the same phases trying to figure themselves out and learning how to live unapologetically. 

This EP is only the beginning of Rich Brian’s new era.

1999 by Rich Brian is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.

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