Updated: Dec 26, 2018
In the past two years, 88rising has put the world on notice with their unique sound. For anyone who is not familiar with 88rising, they are "a media company dedicated to celebrating global Asian culture." It is a fairly new company, created during the summer of 2015. The founder, Sean Miyashiro, is a Bay Area native who grew up deejaying and listening to hip-hop. His ultimate goal for 88rising is to make it "Disney for Asian Culture." And, with time, that is certainly achievable.
To help make 88rising the "Disney for Asian Culture," artists Rich Brian and Joji are at the forefront. It's hard to talk about 88rising without mentioning these two young stars:
1) Rich Brian has not always been Rich Brian. He started off as "Rich Chigga," gaining internet fame with his second single "Dat $tick" in 2016. Since "Dat $tick" released, he has collaborated with artists such as XXXTentacion, Trippie Redd, 21 Savage, Kris Wu, and label mate Keith Ape, to deliver a number of singles. In 2018, he released his freshman album, Amen. As much as Rich Brian is a rapper, he is also an internet star. The "Dat $tick" music video has nearly 100 Million views on YouTube. He has close to 1.5 Million followers on Twitter, and exactly 2 Million followers on Instagram. Not to mention, he was also a star on Vine back in 2015. Rich Brian focuses mostly on rap but his sound is unmatched, and respectively his own.
2) Joji is in a similar lane with Rich Brian. Joji began his career during the 2000s on YouTube, making sketch comedy videos and creating the characters Filthy Frank and Pink Guy. On YouTube, he has amassed close to 6 Million subscribers and gained well over 770 Million views. In 2012 he began his music career as Pink Guy. Pink Guy went on to release three albums, one of which peaked at seventy on the Billboard 200. In late 2017 he made the switch to Joji. Since then he has blown up with 29 Million plays on SoundCloud, and 4.3 Million monthly listeners on Spotify.
Aside from the two most well-known members of 88rising, there are a handful of lesser-known artists/groups that make up the bulk of the label, and give it its true image. One of the groups include the Higher Brothers from Sichuan, China who have been releasing music since 2016. The Higher Brothers have also collaborated with Famous Dex and Ski Mask the Slump God. They rap both in English and Mandarin, giving the audience a bilingual experience, with exposure to Chinese culture. DumbFounded, another signee, who started battle rapping in the 2000s, has had two albums hit the charts since 2011. He is largely influenced by Los Angeles based rap groups. Finally, there’s Keith Ape, who has not released much music, but did go viral with the song "It G Ma." Similar to the Higher Brothers, Keith Ape raps in English and Korean. The thing that makes 88rising so unique, is how all of their artists are able to sound completely different in a genre where many sound the same.
Since the launch of 88rising in 2015, the label/company has released a substantial amount of music. Because of this, 88rising has been able to gain the following they have today. While the majority of their fans are from Asia, they also have good traction in the US. If the label continues to collaborate with well-known artists, their brand will continue to grow. Sean Miyashiro has successfully done something spectacular in finding a way to give Asian artists a platform to be heard in a historically non-Asian business. If they continue at this same pace, the “Disney of Asian Culture” will no longer be a dream, but a reality. They just have to keep rising.