We can say Rich Chigga is a poser. Fake as fuck. Awkward in his attempts at flexing, and disingenuous in his attempts at being a hip-hop artist.
We can also say that Rich Chigga is very aware of his background as a well-resourced Indonesian kid who’s never been to the United States. Instead of spinning embellished or simply fake stories, he raps conventional shit-talk—with a surprisingly solid delivery—and hits you with images that contradict the music in a comedic way as if to say, “Yeah, I’m corny. But you know this shit bangs.” The contradiction is so obvious, you can’t help but rock with it.
I mean, shit, his name is Rich *Chigga*. If that isn’t some self-aware clown shit, I don’t know what is.
Following up his hit single ‘Dat Stick’, Chigga hits us with ‘Who That Be’. Same tough flow, shockingly aggressive lyrics, and goofier imagery consisting of a lapdog, goons with motorbike helmets, and clean rich-kid black-and-white outfits. It’s racked up 3.5 million views in two weeks.
Is there a line to draw for people who contribute to hip-hop culture in a satirical way? Is Chigga inauthentic because he most likely learned everything about hip-hop culture from YouTube and various Internet sources? Shit…isn’t that how most of us take in the culture these days?
It’s hard to strongly accuse Rich Chigga of being phony when young Black American men lie to us on the mic everyday. How many trap artists still trap? How many trap-influenced artists have ever trapped? Shot someone? Consumed the amount of drugs they claim they take regularly?
Rich Chigga’s back with another one, and I hope it doesn’t upset people. I hope we see it for what it is: a sign that hip-hop culture, in many ways, is transcendent of some social boundaries. Clearly, geography and race haven’t stopped Brian Imanuel from knowing enough to pull off two successful singles. These formerly limiting factors haven’t stopped him from correctly using today’s slang, and rapping in a unique yet broadly appealing way. If a prominent Wu-Tang Clan member can appreciate it, why can’t you?
Our understanding about how people engage with the culture needs to broaden. People that we consider to be within the culture are certainly guilty of manipulating its common themes, and can be considered much faker than Rich Chigga since they use certain images as true images of themselves. I disliked Rich Chigga thinking he was doing that, but he isn’t.
Unless he starts talking gunplay on Twitter or something ridiculous, I can listen to him guilt-free. He’s just another product of the Internet. A clever Indonesian kid demonstrating how much we can understand about other cultures thanks to digital information. A finesser. A lot of things, but not fake.