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Rich Chigga Admits Childish Gambino's 'Royalty' Mixtape Changed His Life

"It was the first album that I ever listened to in general, and it was what really got me into hip-hop."

In case you needed a reminder that Rich Chigga is really young, look no further than the answer he gave Pigeons & Planes when they asked the rap whippersnapper to name one album that changed his life. 

"Royalty by Childish Gambino was the first rap project I listened to," Chigga said. "It was the first album that I ever listened to in general, and it was what really got me into hip-hop. I remember listening to 'Unnecessary' and hearing 808s and bass for the first time and being like, 'Whoa, what the fuck is this?... I like it.'"

Yes, you read that correctly. Not only did Royalty change Chigga's life, but it also doubled as the first album, rap or otherwise, that he had ever heard in full. 

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While it's hard to believe that a mediocre mixtape from Gambino could have such a profound effect, Chigga's explanation actually makes sense based strictly on numbers.

Chigga, real name Brian Imanuel, was born on September 2, 1999, while Gambino released his Royalty mixtape on July 4, 2012. Which means that at the time the project was released to the internet for free download (remember those days?), Chigga was only 12 years old.

At 12, I was already listening to JAY-Z, Tribe, Nas and Wu-Tang, but I also grew up in a suburb just outside of Chicago. Imanuel, on the other hand, was born in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, a mere 9,819 miles away from Chicago and a world away from hip-hop's homeland.

Sure, smirk at the fact that someone was inspired by the fifth-best project in Childish Gambino's catalog, but remember that regardless of age or geographic location, hip-hop's influence continues to spread across the globe, and that the youngest generation of rappers is more likely to be introduced to the genre through Childish Gambino than Public Enemy.



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