“Dat $chtick,” MJ Estabillo

Media texts are polysemic; they have multiple meanings behind them and in this sense, can contain many possible interpretations through different ways of seeing. Because audience members come from different backgrounds and social networks, and have an array of experiences, it is possible to have multiple interpretations of the same media text, but how does this manifest? How do we know if media audiences are active? What actions indicate agency?

Through the publishing and software platform that is the Web 2.0, audiences are able to read, write, collaborate, and release content; it is dynamic and multi-modal. It can support community groups, cultural and political activists, artists, and ordinary citizens to participate in archiving, appropriation, transformation, and re-circulation of media content. Human beings can change media products.

There are different websites where one can share their content. There are social-networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter; video-sharing websites like YouTube, Vimeo, and the (now non-existent) Vine; blogging websites like WordPress and Tumblr; music-sharing websites like Soundcloud; etc. Alongside these domains, there are peer-to-peer (P2P) systems for faster, more efficient exchange of content. However, in terms of accessibility, Google and social-networking websites are usually the sources of media content. Facebook is free in some parts of the Philippines and that contributes to more people relying on everything that is posted on there for different purposes: news, entertainment, story-sharing, etc.

Despite the reach of Facebook, there’s another website that has been a constant for more than 10 years. YouTube has remained one of the most visited video-sharing sites to see something extraordinary in the mundane, to discover talents, to be entertained, and to go down the rabbit hole of people’s interests. The appeal of YouTube videos is its homemade content. With the advent of high-definition cameras, anyone can shoot their own videos, become a YouTuber, and share videos and their personal stories online.

One video that gained a following in youth culture is that of Rich Chigga’s, entitled Dat $tick.

Brian Imanuel, a.k.a Rich Chigga, is a seventeen-year-old artist from Jakarta Raya, Indonesia—born 21 September 1999. He learned to speak English by watching videos online. He is also originally known for dank/dark comedy, but as an artist, he’s a self-taught rapper who listened to the likes of Childish Gambino; Tyler, the Creator; and 2 Chainz. He released his single called Dat $tick on February 22, 2016 which became a massive hit. Upon writing this essay, Rich Chigga’s Dat $tick music video has been viewed (at least) 42,877,003 times.

“How to Heat Bread,” Rich Chigga

Rich Chigga’s Twitter: @RichChigga
“Dat $tick” on iTunes: http://hyperurl.co/datstick
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/richbrian
Snapchat: @brianimanuel

Dat $tick music video shows Rich Chigga walking on the street, rapping and dancing with two other boys behind him. He is wearing a pink shirt, khaki shorts, and a fanny pack, and is seen holding fake guns while he raps about not caring about the police as he hits up doors.

Lyrics to Dat $tick, by Rich Chigga

[Verse 1]
12 in the morning, pop shells for a living
And berry gon’ smell blood trail every minute
Rogue wave on you niggas, no fail when I hit ’em
Every time I see a pig, I don’t hesitate to kill ’em
Ain’t nobody give a fuck about a rule
Either get diplomas or a tool, I’ma cool with my youngins
No bool when I’m sprayin’, this K at you fuckas
Fuck a gang affiliated with nothing but my name

Man, I don’t give a fuck about a mothafuckin’ po
I’ma pull up with that stick and hit yo’ motherfuckin’ do’
Man, I don’t give a fuck about a mothafuckin’ po
I’ma pull up with that stick and hit yo’ motherfuckin’ do’, yeah

[Verse 2]
People be starving
And people be killing for food with that crack and that spoon
But these rich mothafuckas they stay eatin’ good
Droppin’ wage livin good
Holdin’ steel Glocks, but you been a bitch, suck a thick cock
Fuck a Crip walk, hit the strip like in Bangkok
Never ever see me ever trip ’bout a lil broad
See me on the TV screamin’, “Bitch, you a damn fraud”
And you don’t wanna fuck with a chigga like me
When I pull up in that Maserati
Better duck ‘fore ya brain splatter on the concrete
I’ma hit you with that .45, bullet hit yo neck round the bow tie
Lookin’ like a thriller, film a bitch
I’ma go right back with the clip and I know you be shakin’
Don’t test me or I might just click at yo noggin

Man, I don’t give a fuck about a mothafuckin’ po
I’ma pull up with that stick and hit yo’ motherfuckin’ do’
Man, I don’t give a fuck about a mothafuckin’ po
I’ma pull up with that stick and hit yo’ motherfuckin’ do’, yeah


Source: Genius (https://genius.com/Rich-chigga-dat-stick-lyrics)

Rich Chigga

While the video has been released on February 2016, it wasn’t until May of the same year that Rich Chigga was featured on Highsnobiety, an online publication that features budding artists and forthcoming trends in music, art, culture, and fashion; readers of this website are on the loop with the latest happenings in youth culture, style, and aesthetic. Around August-September of 2016, Dat $tick reached the Philippines and gained more viewers, and on October 2016, Rich Chigga was featured on Time Magazine.

Some can say that the music video is so bad, it’s actually good. The appeal isn’t very straightforward because it borders on irony and one’s sense of style because after all, the combination of pink shirts and khaki shorts isn’t typically considered fashion-forward; it doesn’t scream Aesthetic. However, it appears like it works in the video. Rich Chigga can pull it off and when viewed with the music playing loudly, the dark intro and the strong beats make a lasting impression. One can’t really tell if it’s bad or if it’s genius. It just is: something refreshing. The level of commitment that Rich Chigga has is commendable. He just stuck to it. The simplicity of the video was shot, the humour, and the strong hooks, is more than enough to keep you wanting to hit the replay button over and over. This also the general comments of other rappers when they were asked to react to the Dat $tick music video.

Desiigner, Ghostface Killah, Jazz Cartier, and 21 Savage are some of the few rappers who were featured in the reaction video. They reacted positively towards the beat and the aesthetic. This is one factor that contributed to the boost in viewers of Rich Chigga’s music video.

While the music video may have been produced under a record label, Rich Chigga’s dark humour is still quite evident. The video remains true to his original brand and nthis shows consistency. It isn’t meant to parody of make fun of some culture and/or subculture. In another interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onM1kBi3eTo), Rich Chigga admits to regretting his stage name, but realized it’s too late because he has already released content under it.

The music video was shot in high-definition cameras, something that is different from Rich Chigga’s homemade content that appear to have been shot using an iPhone, but the general feel to the video remains unapologetic and still a direct representation of Imanuel’s humor and style. It checks the three boxes on the checklist of Olga Goriunova.

Guriunova argues that the fascination behind the success of trending videos is in the simplicity, humor, and craftsmanship. I personally like how she described another video that was also an online hit, Guitar. She says, “The gesture of its naivety is double: there is a formalization of simplicity that, under investigation, turns out to be not quite so simple; its minimalism turns out to be precise, and its dilettantism exhibits such vital power that the idiocy of its simplicity is of course clever.”

Imanuel sometimes feels the need to explain himself on Snapchat. Oftentimes, you’d catch a video of him explaining his humor to his followers because some do take him too seriously. Dat $tick is another product of authentic representation of Rich Chigga. It blurs the lines of naivety and parody. While the lyrics aren’t groundbreaking in a way that can drop truth bombs and the music video isn’t necessarily a timeless piece, Dat $tick borrows from already-existing/familiar notions of hip hop / rap and puts them in his own context.



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