Although Rich Brian had some breakout singles in 2020, including his “Tokyo Drift” freestyle and the Guapdad 4000-featuring “Bali,” and released a seven-song EP, 1999, the Indonesian rapper has been relatively quiet over the past year, soaking up the success of his 2019 full-length, The Sailor.
Today, he released his first single of 2021, “Sydney.” Featuring a video-gamey, constantly evolving beat, the bouncy song finds Brian filling up the pages of his rhyme book with abstract, multi-syllabic thoughts about his growth as an artist. One fun example: “I show my love to legends, that’s why I like my own pictures.”
Speaking with Uproxx last year about his time social distancing during LA’s pandemic quarantine, Brian revealed how intentional his artistic growth has been. “I’ve been getting back to producing more,” he shared. “I’ve always produced and I started learning how to produce when I was like 16, 17. So, that’s always been a nice little skill to have just because it makes it easier for me to make songs and I don’t have to talk to people about what I want all the time. It just makes songwriting a lot better, and being able to learn arrangements and what these little languages are.”
“And it’s been a lot of different kinds of music,” he continued. “A lot of hip-hop stuff, then a lot of really melodic stuff, and that’s what comes out when I produce. I can’t really just do one thing because it gets really boring for me. So I try to switch it up.
Listen to “Sydney” above.