FEATURE

Rich Brian Using the “N” Word

Asian rappers are finally gaining traction in mainstream media, with the rise of MC Jin and Dumbfoundead. But newer rappers like Rich Brian (formerly known as Rich Chigga), are quickly becoming a sort of phenomenon in the game.

Like many, you may have heard of Rich Brian from his viral track back in 2016 called, “Dat $tick” which took over the internet. Visuals showed a 16-year old stereotypical Asian kid, dressed in a pink collared shirt and a fanny pack, in contrary pouring liquor out whilst being backed by his friends waving guns. After raising concerns in the media for using the “n” word, 88Rising created a video where they got reactions of legends like Ghostface Killah and Cam’Ron, as well as, 21 Savage, Desiigner and GoldLink (to name a few) who had all given him the nod of approval.

In fact, Ghostface Killah ended the reaction video saying, “That’s dope.”  Watch the full reaction video, here.

Fast forward to 2018, Rich Chigga changes his name to “Rich Brian” in an official/unofficial announcement on Twitter.

A few months later, he then jumps on Big Boy’s Neighborhood (a radio show based in Los Angeles), where he opens up about using the “N” word (watch clip, here), Rich Brian states,

I didn’t really know how big of a deal it really was, especially with me being in Indonesia.

Big Boy didn’t spare him one bit, as he continued to tell him all of the reasons why it’s not a good term to use and even questioned Rich Brian on how the flack has changed his approach to rapping now telling him,

I couldn’t sit down with you, without bringing that up.

Now let’s hope that the lack of knowledge by those who are outside of the ethnicity, be well-informed of how unnecessary and offensive it is. Statistics show that White youths, who are the largest consumers of hip-hop, may feel that they can use that word — when in fact, they are the ones who need to be more self-aware and respect the culture. What’s rarely talked about is the emotional and spiritual labor that goes into having to explain why that word should never be used. Reality becomes crystal clear, of the work that still needs to be done, especially in the music industry. I once heard a quote that stated,

If you’re not black, just take it back.

The way I see it is, society is definitely on its way up to becoming less ignorant to using the word. With the praise of Beyoncé’s Black Pride Coachella performance and the huge box office success of Black Panther, the culture is more respected now, more than ever. But what do you guys think? Will the “n” word ever go away?

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