88rising and subsequently its artists like Rich Brian have been seeing growth in unexpected places. One of those places is Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Chaz Kangas, a DJ at Go 95.3, a hip-hop radio station in Minneapolis, says that the label has been seeing organic traction in the Twin Cities.
Both of us tried to theorize why the label and its musicians have been seeing growth in the Midwest, despite the fact there hasn’t been any intentional promotion or marketing. We did not come to a conclusion.
However, there might be some correlation between Kris Wu’s 2018 Super Bowl performance being well received and the same crowd that came out to see Rich Brian.
“You’re in this beautiful venue with a bunch of beautiful people that listens to the same beautiful music… and you know, with a beautiful man standing on stage right now.”
Chaz also mentioned that the Skyway Theater was a good but interesting venue choice since they almost exclusively hold shows for adults.
Considering Rich Brian is 20 years old, it is unprecedented for the venue to have an all-ages show. Most attendees flocked to the stage level standing area. A few others scattered on the second level and balcony.
The crowd reminded me of what it was like at 88rising’s Head In The Clouds festival in Los Angeles Historic Park this past August. The audience was predominately Asian but that doesn’t take away from the fact there are also Black, White and presumably other ethnicities present at the show.
The audience was respectful of not only the main act but the openers as well. In fact, they were very receptive to August 08 who has different music from Rich Brian (although the two artists have worked together).
Honestly, this performance blew me away. I first saw Rich Brian live in LA at the festival this Summer.
At Head In the Clouds festival, I was in VIP as press, but the view was pretty lousy. The stage was further away than expected. The audio wasn’t always on point. Here, the theatre provided a more intimate concert experience with significantly better sound quality.
The show started off with the live band. This made all the difference in the whole vibe of the performance. The band did a riff of Rich Brian’s song, “The Sailor” before he came out with an impressionable yellow jumpsuit. When Brian hopped on stage, he began rapping “Gold Coast”. As I’m writing this, I can see and hear him rapping the lyrics:
Ayy, f*ck that
You might make me lose my sh*t
Goodbye to the good guy
Look what you did, now he don’t care ’bout sh*t
Yeah, f*ck that, out here feelin’ dangerous
If you still feel comfortable
Then I’m sorry, you ain’t made it yet
The audience rapped the lyrics in unison with him. The song, “Rapapapa”, was honestly the schmood for the entire night.
The crowd got to see not only Rich Brian perform, but the on-point visuals (thanks 88rising) behind him to bring the performance to another level.
If you’re a fan of early to mid-00s rap or just open-minded to rap in general, I believe that you would appreciate Rich Brian’s music.
His first album, Amen, had beats reminiscent of rap music at the turn of the century.
Rich Brian’s latest album, The Sailor, definitely took his style in a new direction. The Sailor had more instances of Brian sing-rapping, similar to Post Malone, Swae Lee or Lizzo. Sing-rap or sometimes ju’ plain ol’ singing is definitely having a moment in the Hip-Hop scene.
“Yellow”, a song Rich Brian sings (with a lil autotune) is the perfect example of this.
Before the encore Rich Brian ended the night with “Kids”, “a self-empowering boom-bap anthem, and a celebration of Rich Brian’s Indonesian heritage.”
Although I am not of Asian heritage, I appreciated the song and understood its significance. As for the encore, he performed “Glow Like Dat.” The song brought the whole concert to a perfect conclusion but left the crowd wanting more.
About The Openers
Another stunner at the Rich Brian concert was his labelmate, August 08. August is the only Black artist at 88rising.
Some people, for example, this Reddit user, questions his presence at the label (which is predominantly Asian). There’s a reason why Sean, the CEO of 88rising, fux with August. August is a singer, writer, producer, and then some.
Compared to Rich Brian, August 08 had a different approach to interacting with the crowd between songs.
He often chatted a little bit and created segways into the next song. Whereas Brian moved on from song to song and then would stop in between to give motivational mini speeches.
For example, August would say things like, “this is the coldest weather I have ever been in” and explain he can’t dance so he fist-bumps.
In no time, I believe that August will receive the same love 88rising’s heavy hitters get right now.
He performed songs from his latest album as well as “Midsummer Madness” – in acapella. He even gave people a sneak peek into his new project which will be dropping this by the end of this year.
“I’m 20 years old now, I came here to this country for the very first time when I was 17 years old. I was homeschooled for pretty much all my life. 5 – 6 years ago I was literally just a kid on the internet listening to rap music, trying to learn how to speak English and watching sh*t. Now, I’m in Minneapolis performing for a bunch of beautiful people – its crazy. It’s the craziest thing ever. I can’t get over it so I just want you to remember, if you have a dream just go for it. You never know where it’s going to lead you.” – Rich Brian
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Self-proclaimed polymath. Debbie is a writer, podcast host, style blogger, graphic designer, stylist, aspiring polyglot and then some. You can find her working on her blog, sipping on some green tea, self-studying Japanese and Korean or spending way too much time on the internet. 🌸 For more K-pop thoughts and other things, check out my Medium blog: https://medium.com/@debutante