Rich Brian started the new year by changing his name - a big step for any artist. His first album under the new moniker is here, and he's staying along the beaten path for this one. Rich Brian plays it safe on Amen, taking a conservative approach to a new era.
Playing it by the books doesn't always have to be a bad thing. For the most part, Amen does hold its ground. Title track 'Amen' opens the record with a dark beat and an immediate harsh flow right off the bat. The beats are often fresh and different from what a lot of other producers are putting out, notably on the crystalline 'Occupied' and the shifting sounds of 'Chaos.' There are interesting moments throughout Amen that keep it from falling short.
That's not the entire struggle, though. Playing it safe comes with the challenge of doing everything perfectly to make a great record, and unfortunately, while not destroying anything in the process, Rich Brian doesn't go above and beyond. Plenty of tracks like 'Cold' and 'Little Prince' with Niki sort of just come off as average and don't add much to the overall dynamic of the album, though the latter does provide a nice chiller flash of color to it. Many of the tracks just feel inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, and sometimes even like a bit of a mistake, such as closing track 'Arizona' with AUGUST 08, which just doesn't have that ending quality. Even 'Attention' panders to Migos, perhaps mostly to fit Offset's feature spot, but it feels like it misses the mark.
Rich Brian plays it safe on Amen, which isn't inherently bad, but really stops him from making a splash here. A name change is a big moment, and it comes with a lot of expectations, which just aren't met here. It feels like the same material you could expect from him and even a little less. Perhaps the best is yet to come.
Favorite Track: Occupied
Least Favorite Track: Flight
Rating: 63 / 100
Stream or buy Amen on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist: