I have to admit that I have been highly anticipating this record ever since Rich Brian announced that it was coming out. I have really dug the way that Brian has matured over the last few years as an artist. When he dropped the meme rap classic track ‘Dat Stick,’ most people, including myself, thought he would probably be a flash in the pan one hit wonder. But after he dropped his debut record Amen early last year, it was apparent that Rich Brian was growing consistently and is here to stay. He also released a compilation record with his label-mates at 88rising last year that had a few of the top hits of the summer. I love the way that Brian has been able to blend his Indonesian culture and mentality with hip hop, having rapped on quite a few instrumentals with a very South Asian feel to them in the past. The Sailor does not veer from this formula at all. On this album, we see Rich Brian go through the growing pains of moving to the United States permanently and still try to stay true to his Indonesian heritage, as well as him going through typical teenage struggles and situations like having girl problems and smoking to fit in with his friends. Rich Brian does an excellent job of sticking to this general theme while exploring sonic sounds and styles that we have not heard him try in the past. Overall, it is a pretty awesome record, and I definitely think it is one of the best hip hop albums to drop this year so far.
The album starts out with a New York-style banger that is also the title track. on ‘The Sailor,’ Rich Brian raps with an intensity and seriousness that I have not really heard from him before. Toward the end of the song, the instrumental completely changes, and the track morphs into an interesting Asian style folk song. It is a very strong start to the record, as it totally draws you in right away. Following this cut, Brian hits us with the ultra-smooth ‘Rapapapa,’ which features Wu-Tang legend RZA. The instrumental consists of a sweet and funky simple electric guitar riff over a light and chill trap beat. I love how many different flows he uses in this song. Brian really shows how multi-dimensional he can be on this ‘Rapapapa.’ At the end of this song, we have another beat change; it descends into a very RZA style reggae hip hop beat and features RZA spitting a little spoken word verse about Brian. He states “This Brian was born to be rich. With talents and balances, and the ability to face life challenges…” On the song ‘Kids,’ Brian hits us with a very hype jazz-rap beat. The horns on the track are so nice and smooth. Brian just spits mad bars for four minutes on this one. His actual rapping ability is very impressive on this record; his storytelling ability is improving at a crazy rate. My favorite bar in this song is this one: “I was just the kid, now the kids want to be me.” They really do, Brian, they really do.
“Blow me like confetti. On that green green, man, I got that absinthe in me…” ‘Confetti’ is the first banger on this album. This song could be a club hit; it really does go so hard. Rich Brian raps with a crazy amount of energy that is palpable over a creepy hard trap beat, which consists of heaving bass and weird, unnerving horns. It is quite a switch up from what Brian has hit us with on this album so far. 100 Degrees’ is a sweet and chill trap bop with a synthy and cute guitar riff. Rich Brian shows off his singing chops again on this one. It is pretty impressive how effortlessly his singing and rapping transitions are on this one. One of the albums biggest highlights in the song ‘Curious.’ It probably has the coolest instrumental of any song on this record in my opinion. The melody mainly consists of a mandolin with a very chill South Asian feel to it. It is such a cool introspective cut, with Rich Brian going over a bunch of topics that he knows he thinks too much about. It is incredible how mature this guy has become at only 19 years old. The album ends with another mandolin-led track that features Joji that is called ‘When Does Time Go?’ Brian shows off a multitude of nice flows on this track as well, and Joji provides some excellent vocals on the chorus to make this such a dope track. ‘When Does the Time Go’ is definitely another highlight that I would definitely recommend. It is also the most traditional pop song on the record, so it may be a favorite among non-hip hop fans as well.
On The Sailor, Rich Brian shows how much he has grown and matured in such a short amount of time in the spotlight while showing off a multitude of different kinds of flows and rapping styles, Rich Brian tells us all about how growing up in Indonesia and getting rich quick has affected and changed him. It is very apparent that Brian is very smart and know who is is as an artist and person. I really recommend this one if you enjoy more non traditional rap music. Check it out with the Spotify link below!