Photo provided by www.rapwave.net

Joe Kronberg, Staff Writer

18 features up and coming artists Kris Wu, Rich Brian (formerly known as Rich Chigga), Joji, and Trippie Redd, who all sing about their sudden rises of fame through their music, produced by Baauer, the artist who brought us the Harlem Shake.

Kris Wu is a former member of EXO, a South Korean-Chinese boy group, who left to pursue his own solo career. When he first made this decision, many considered it a mistake.

The now Hip-Hop/Rap artist says that “All this ice be on me but I still be risin’, Say that I be fallin’ but they see me flyin’.” Despite the ice (jewelry, representing fame and fortune), his popularity still hasn’t reached its peak, calling himself “The Yeezus,” or Kanye West, “of the East,” and the “One and only,” likely in reference to his new solo career.

Enter Indonesian Rich Brian, talking about how his fame has led him to fortune, especially compared to others in his country. He describes his home as “tall just like the Eiffel,” and says “When I take her out to dinner, man, the check ain’t gettin’ split,” because he now has enough money to pay for more than himself.

When Brian began his music career, many didn’t take him seriously, because, in his first single Dat $tick, he is wearing a pink polo and a fanny pack. As a rebound against those who mocked him, Brian says, “told me that she liked my fit,” referencing his success despite the jokes made against him,

Joji then describes the backlash he received from many during his transition from comedy sketches as Filthy Frank and vulgar Hip-Hop as Pink Guy, to his new Lo-Fi sound singing about heartbreak.

He reflects the criticism by stating “They said that I won’t make it They said that I won’t change They say that I’m not flexin’ Now they say wow, you’ve changed.” Many believed he would be unable to make the transition, but the simple line of “Now they say wow you’ve changed” paints a big picture of how people’s minds began to change as his popularity in his new art form rose.

The now mellow Joji goes on to more of the criticism on the opposite side of the spectrum, with people recognizing his success but missing his work as Filthy Frank, “Now they say why you change Now they say why you changin’ Yeah, they ask why you’ve changed When the rest ain’t looking like me.” Many Filthy Frank fans were angered by the fact that Joji discontinued his series of offensive videos, despite his writing of Francis of the Filth, as his final story for the beloved characters.

The line “When the rest ain’t looking like me,” is likely a reference to the fact that Joji is not a character, unlike his comedic alter egos, which caused a loss of some fans who preferred his previous work. This collaboration between Joji and Baauer is kind of ironic, however, because Joji started the Harlem Shake video trend dressed as Pink Guy with other characters seen on the Filthy Frank Show (and a Power Ranger).

Making the final appearance (before the outro by Joji), Trippie Redd raps about his depression, and how only drugs ease the pain (despite his saying to never do drugs). He then gives a tip of the hat to Lil Uzi Vert, with the lyric “they say that I’m insane I might blow your brain,” returning the favor to Uzi’s compliments to him, based upon his line “She say I’m insane, yeah I might blow my brain out.”

This story of 4 men and their rise to fame against the odds is an important one in my opinion, because like many artists when they begin their career or make a transition from one kind of entertainment to another, many don’t take those attempting to rise to fame seriously. But against all the odds, these men have found success in doing what they love, which is a dream that many can only hope to achieve.