Most teenagers hope to join the college of their dreams, but Brian Imanuel, better known as Rich Brian, is not interested in pursuing higher education. His only dream as a child was to travel to American, and for that, he prepared himself by learning to speak English. He discovered hip hop and decided to become a musician. This decision paid off handsomely because, at 18, Rich Brian became the first Indonesian-Chinese rapper to top the iTunes hip hop chart, thanks to his debut album, “Amen.” Of course, such a milestone in his rapping career has come with lots of fortune; hence Rich Brian’s net worth is currently at $1 million. Let’s take you through the journey of a kid who only wanted to be in a country where everyone speaks the same language but ended up becoming an inspiration to all Asian kids.
Social Media Becomes His Refuge
Brian comes from a musical family, and according to ABC, his sister sings while his brother plays the keyboard. Therefore, as early as when he was five, Brian began playing drums. He then joined the family cover band, Roasted Peanuts, that used to sing Christian music in Indonesian.
He never used to socialize because he was homeschooled for two years, and it mostly entailed his parents giving him some school work. The rapper once disclosed that although he didn’t know why he did not attend regular school, he suspected that maybe his parents were too busy running their business to drive him to school. However, his sister claimed that Brian was antisocial at school hence the decision to homeschool him. Due to lack of exposure, Brian did not have many role models to look up to except for one man. He said that he had watched “The Raid,” and an Indonesian actor appealed to him, especially after the guy also landed a role in “The Fast and The Furious.” Seeing that even an Indonesian could make it to Hollywood even got him thinking about a career in cinematography. Until he could find a way to fulfill his ambition, his escape from lack of friends was his parents’ computer. He used it to get tricks to solve the Rubik’s cube faster since it was his only hobby. As a result, he discovered YouTube, where the tutorials came in handy, and later joined Twitter when he was 11.
The Drive to Travel to America
Brian was not clueless about the Queen’s language since even signs in Indonesia were in English. However, he wanted to learn the language, including the American pronunciation, because his thoughts were all in English. Therefore, once again, he sought YouTube’s help through tutorials. By then, even his Twitter following mainly was Americans, and his drive was to be in a country where everyone spoke the same language.
His dream of being a cinematographer was yet to materialize, and Brian was motivated to keep working hard to achieve it. So, according to GQ, he started making short films and uploading them on Twitter, hoping to build a fan base. Before long, his interest had transitioned to music after his online friends introduced him to hip hop. He learned how to rap, and it helped him improve his English. So he decided to release his first song, “Dat $tick.” He called up his friends, and they shot the video for seven hours. Brian edited it the following day, uploaded it to SoundCloud, and the feedback was incredibly impressive. On YouTube, the song has over 180 million views, and as per some sources, a million views usually earn between $2,000 and $5,000. This translates to about $900,000 for the musician if we go by the higher estimate.
Embracing His Talents
In 2017, Brian released several singles, including “Gospel,” and like “Dat $tick,” it was gold certified. He still struggled to fit in with the crowd and wanted to impress everyone. Unfortunately, he got a lot of hate with some people telling him to stop making music, adding that they hoped it would not sell. The bullies only fueled the passion Brian had to succeed. However, after realizing some of the mistakes he made, including the lyrics in his debut song and his choice of stage name, Brian decided to reinvent himself since at the time of breaking into the music industry, he was Rich Chigga.
He changed the name to Rich Brian because Chigga was associated with the n-word, which is offensive. His second album, “Sailor,” which came out in 2019, was also a huge step forward into his art because he started to write about what he held close to his heart. By then, he had already made history by becoming the first Indonesian to have his debut album as the number 1 song in the hip hop iTunes category. Usually, artists earn $6-$7 per album sold and $0.60-0.70 per song on iTunes. He is currently compiling his third album, “Head in the Clouds III,” and according to The Jakarta Post, his newly released single “California” is a taste of what to expect. The video on YouTube has already garnered over 6 million views meaning Brian is still pocketing a lucrative sum of money. Still, his passion for the film industry keeps beckoning, and he has decided to give it a try.
In 2019, the musician released a short film running for 15 minutes in which he focused on his home and dreams. He collaborated with 88rising, a US music label, and they are still partnering in another project. According to NusaDaily.com, it is a film highlighting the Asian and Asian-American culture. 88rising struck a deal with Sony Pictures; hence we can assume that the worth is mouthwatering considering that Netflix and Disney have also rushed to ink deals. Still, Brian’s primary income source is music, and he aspires to collaborate with Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar. If the aspirations ever materialize, then the net worth will indeed have significantly increased considering the influence the two hip hop artists have on their fans. Until then, Brian might take up acting classes to polish his acting skills as he also hopes to make his mark in Hollywood.