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  • (moody music)

  • This is Rich Chigga.

  • He's a Chinese rapper by way of Indonesia,

  • and he's very popular on the internet.

  • This is Joji.

  • He's a Japanese-Australian singer

  • and he's also very popular on the internet.

  • Plus, Joji invented the Harlem Shake meme.

  • Let me say that again.

  • This guy, Joji, in the blood bathtub,

  • invented the Harlem Shake meme.

  • But we'll come back to that.

  • So, Rich and Joji are both signed to 88rising,

  • an entertainment company hoping to build

  • a lasting global brand that will outlive

  • singular moments of virality.

  • They primarily create content

  • combining Asian culture and hip-hop,

  • a formula that apparently pleases the internet gods greatly.

  • They've only been around for 18 months,

  • but they're already putting up major label numbers.

  • I think that we have an unprecedented

  • collective of talent.

  • A group of predominantly Asian artists,

  • you know, really like making waves globally,

  • which from an independent point of view as well.

  • 88's founder, Sean Miyashiro,

  • cut his teeth launching

  • Vice's electronic music channel, Thump.

  • But quickly, Sean became interested in life

  • beyond dance music.

  • I knew that, after launching a whole content platform,

  • that I have kind of the ability

  • and the know-how to do it again,

  • but for what was the question.

  • So Sean moved to the Bronx to start over

  • and figure it out.

  • He couldn't afford an office space,

  • so he worked out of his car

  • at the top of a grimy parking garage.

  • Everything kinda started here.

  • If you look around, this is my environment,

  • this is my serenity, really.

  • 88rising was built here.

  • Built on the grounds of LA Fitness residence

  • in a parking garage.

  • I was living in the Bronx and I'm just like,

  • damn, where the hell do I go?

  • So I just come up here and I like, you know,

  • I just kind of figure things out every single day,

  • being like, okay, what the hell is this thing?

  • (laughs)

  • Coming here was kind of like

  • my own kind of private office basically.

  • Like, to be honest, I would even go to the bathroom here.

  • I would take pisses here, you know what I mean?

  • Like, you know, it's just too far to go back down there.

  • When I need wi-fi, I'd spend a good part of the day

  • at Dunkin Donuts.

  • Hi, how are you?

  • Can I get a chicken snack wrap?

  • Before 88rising officially launched,

  • Sean caught a surprise break

  • in the form of a Twitter friendship

  • with a funny 16-year-old kid from Indonesia named Brian,

  • who taught himself English by watching

  • Rubik's Cube tutorial videos on YouTube.

  • Seriously, that's true.

  • I thought his Twitter was genius,

  • from the future, just crazy.

  • And like, just the shit that he was saying,

  • like the memes he was making.

  • But I didn't know that he rapped or anything like that.

  • I really didn't, and he came up with Dat $tick

  • like two weeks later.

  • ♪ 12 in the morning, pop shells for a living

  • And berry gon' smell blood trail every minute

  • Dat $tick was Brian's first ever attempt

  • at making a rap song, and it immediately went viral.

  • Everything was great about it,

  • but the one thing that I noticed

  • is the song was hard as hell.

  • Just like everything about it, man.

  • Just like, it was menacing, bro.

  • Soon after the video dropped,

  • Brian signed with 88rising.

  • I'll FaceTime with Rich.

  • Sorry for calling you Rich Chigga on my phone, Rich.

  • He gets, I mean Brian, he gets like super pissed off

  • that he's saved in my phone as Rich Chigga.

  • He's like, "Dude am I not a human to you?"

  • What's good, bro?

  • What's good, broda?

  • How you doing?

  • Doing great, I did the sound check.

  • How was it?

  • It was tight.

  • Holdin' steel glocks

  • But you been a bitch, suck a thick cock

  • So, Brian could definitely rap,

  • but some viewers understandably took offense

  • at a Chinese kid satirizing rap cliches

  • and calling himself "Rich Chigga."

  • But if a group of well-known rappers saw the video

  • and genuinely liked it,

  • that could at least help validate Brian

  • as a legit hip-hop artist.

  • Plus, it could be really funny.

  • It was just kind of an idea that kind of

  • I just had on the spot.

  • Everything that rappers say is better and funnier

  • and smarter, and wittier.

  • You know, it's just more entertaining.

  • We just edit it as tight as possible, put it up,

  • and it really worked.

  • (shouting)

  • Yo, this nigga got a pouch on, a Reebok pouch.

  • This is the hardest nigga of all time.

  • He said when you come for a chigga like me.

  • That was dope.

  • This is lit and I think people will take is as a...

  • People will take is as a joke at first,

  • but it's like,

  • if he ran with that and kept doing more videos like that,

  • shit's lit.

  • You know, I had never been to America before

  • and all of a sudden it's like I see like

  • all the rappers that I listen to reacting to my stuff

  • and I was like, 'What?

  • How did this happen?'

  • The reaction video also went viral

  • and even led to a remix of Dat $tick

  • featuring Wu-Tang's Ghostface.

  • I'll get on that track.

  • You know what I'm saying, yeah.

  • Really, on the remix?

  • Yeah, yeah, oh, you know him?

  • And, yeah, the remix went viral too.

  • Brian has since acknowledged the misstep in his name

  • and claims he made changes,

  • but for the time being,

  • he's still Rich Chigga to his fans,

  • an ever-growing global audience

  • hungry for more releases

  • from emerging talents from around the world.

  • I didn't know that it was gonna

  • be this impactful and this important to people

  • and I'm very thankful and blessed that it has,

  • and every day now that I wake up

  • it's like, you know, just a new mission every day.

  • A major part of that mission

  • involves Joji.

  • Remember the bloody bath guy?

  • He's a former YouTube personality

  • in the middle of a career transition.

  • The sound of this song, Will He,

  • it's like a trap song that you can slow dance to.

  • Awkward prom shit.

  • You know what I mean?

  • I used to do crazy, episodic internet videos.

  • It was going well and one day

  • it was me and a few friends just in a room.

  • We were casually chilling

  • and then someone plays the song

  • and it's brand new at the time.

  • I happened to have a lot of costumes laying around,

  • so I told the other guys,

  • I was like, get in these costumes

  • and let's just dance to it.

  • Like who cares?

  • We were like, okay, let's just go crazy at the drop.

  • So that video goes up,

  • I go to sleep

  • and the next morning everyone was doing it.

  • Like next morning.

  • ("Harlem Shake")

  • That taught me a lot about the internet.

  • How people wanna just be a part of something.