2018’s “New Year, New Me” award goes to Brian Imanuel. He officially retired his Rich Chigga moniker, announced himself simply as Brian, and dropped his new single “See Me” to kick off the year.

Killing Rich Chigga

Indonesian-born Imanuel became an overnight sensation when his comedy-rap track “Dat $tick” became a viral YouTube hit in February of 2016. He released a total of seven singles under the name of Rich Chigga, collaborating with the likes of 21 Savage and Keith Ape. Despite the fact that Imanuel showed passion and talent for music, the hip hop community had a hard time accepting him. For starters, his moniker plays on the N-word—an already sensitive topic that’s increasing in controversy with Donald Trump’s presidency—and even his use of it in his song. He addressed the issue in an interview with Genius and refused to continue saying it, stating that he realized he wasn’t in the position to take the negative power out of the word.

He spoke to FADER in August 2016 and said he would change his name if he could, and it looks like his wish came true. Imanuel took it to Twitter in the early hours of January 2 to announce his resurrection as his birth name “Brian”. If anything, it seems like the racial issues surrounding the Rich Chigga name affected Imanuel the most. He labelled himself as “naive” in the Tweet regarding the rebranding and, in the spirit of the new year, claimed 2018 as “our year, baby.”

“Indonesian MC Hammer”

After sold out shows in the United States, Asia, and a successful homecoming show in Jakarta, 2017 proved to be a good year. Brian celebrated the new year and the new name with a new track. Definitely his most personal track up to date, “See Me” chronicles his quick journey into one of modern hip hop’s most beloved artists. There’s no ironic humor in the song; it’s an honest look into what fame has brought him at such a young age and what else he wants to accomplish as he looks at a bright future ahead of him.

Rich Chigga achieved feats only peers his age could dream of, but we’re ready to let that die and welcome an even better version of him in the world. Brian has his eyes set on the release of his debut album “Amen” on February 2 under 88rising. This is another album we’re looking forward to in 2018!

Featured image from ConcertFix

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