Rich Brian, fka Rich Chigga saw his rise through the blowup single “Dat $tick”, accompanied by the exposure built by Youtube channel 88rising. Shortly after blowing up, Rich Brian would have names like Pouya, Xxxtentacion, and the legendary Ghostface Killah feature alongside him on his own songs. Earning himself coverage in some of the biggest music publications off a single and music video alone is a blueprint other artists surely could look to duplicating. What Rich Brian couldn’t duplicate with his debut album, Amen, was the infectious fun and character he had presented in singles prior.
With the opening title track, “Amen“, Brian gets right to it. Lyricism and storytelling are definitely present, and feel like they immediately separate Rich Brian from the typical artist rapping over skeletal trap beats such as the one on this song. But with a constant flow and droning, low pitched vocals, we quickly see Brian’s style get old.
If you’re listening to Amen straight through, Rich Brian’s style and sound of rap will get real tired by the time you reach the Offset feature most people will have their eyes on, “Attention“. Offset himself brings a pretty standard verse to make for an underwhelming track in all.
Only releasing singles up to this album, a few were bound to pop up again on Amen, and as expected they make for some of the better songs on the album. “Glow Like Dat” is a big meh, and “See Me” feels exactly like the previous track on the album, (“Tresspass” (spelled incorrectly)), only better. “Chaos” has a cool, zaney beat, but the style of rapping again isn’t much to awe over, and the boastful “omg his voice so deep” line is ironic considering Brian’s deep vocals are largely the downfall of the album.
Our favorite song on Amen, “Kitty“, has awesome bouncy flows and production, and Rich Brian brings a style and energy we haven’t heard since “Dat $tick”. For Brian to have more great tracks, he needs to make his character shine through as much as it does here.
On “Cold” and “Introvert“, Rich Brian taps into his sadder, personal side. “Cold” is somber, and flows and vibes nicely, while “Introvert” has a fine sounding hook. But, even as someone who loves sad music, these tracks feel pretty lame, and are especially weak in the production area (albeit a nice key section on “Cold”).
The production, though nothing crazy at any point on the album, is a little interesting on “Occupied“, despite more mediocre sounding raps and a hook that is just passable. On “Flight“, it feels Brian is trying his best to put a full song together, and it doesn’t sound good at all, partly due to a hook that feels like struggles to make it through itself
By the time you get to “Enemies“, a decent song, it’s hard to even care because of how underwhelming the album is everywhere else. The last couple tracks, “Little Prince” and “Arizona” are maybe the worst on the whole album. “Little Prince” starts nicely with vocals from NIKI that contrast soothingly to, at this point, Brians almost overbearing low-tone of rapping, only for the song to be ruined by this exact trait of his. With “Arizona”, Rich Brian goes to the well for a sung hook for maybe the third or fourth time on the record, and it’s probably the most offensive attempt of them all.
By the end of Amen, it’s hard to tell what Rich Brian is even trying to accomplish. Between the features and the style Brian attempts to put on each song, there’s little that stands out on it’s own, and very little to invest in come future releases. Some loved Brian’s name change, some hated it. Personally, I didn’t care for his original name whatsoever, but it always creates a disconnect for me when an artist switches their name. We almost saw it with Young Thug almost changing to Jeffrey, and we’re seeing it now with Jay IDK who recently changed to just IDK. Beyond the disconnect I’ve experienced with Rich Brian, this album has made me lose interest entirely.
With an album as bland as Amen, Rich Brian can totally afford another name change, and hopefully a sonic change as well. Amen is a 6 out of 10 at it’s best. Even with a couple good songs, I feel like I’d be doing friends a service by telling them not to waste their time on this one.