Twenty years ago, it was hard for most Europeans to name Asian celebrities — or celebrities with Asian descent — besides the Hollywood stars we all grew up with. A few decades later and with the arrival of social networks and the worldwide development of high-speed internet, content creation has never been so easy. Through this very fact, people with no platforms, individuals that would never had their chance to shine, were able to bring their vision to a now global pop culture that’s followed on the daily by dozens of millions.
These 5 trendsetters have made their mark in today’s crowded media landscape and if you ask us, they have everything in hand to conquer the world…
Before everyone and their mother had a taste for fanny packs, Brian ‘Rich Chigga‘ Imanuel hit the world with Dat $tick, an infectious trap song, co-signed by the biggest names in US hip hop, in which he was, in a way, setting the first stone of a trend that would take over the world of fashion, youth culture and music. When he’s not setting new trends, the Indonesian businessman slash rapper is usually representing 88Rising, a music label – creative collective hybrid that he contributed to put on the map. Rich Brian’s latest album is about to come out anytime soon now, stay alert!
Born in Washington, DC from Taiwanese immigrant parents, Eddie Huang is an author, attorney, chef, entrepreneur, and now TV personality that grew up in Orlando, Florida. As a kid, he grew up listening adoring Wu-Tang and collecting sneakers. Two passions of his that lead him to stardom a few years later, after he decided to leave his job as an attorney to open BaoHaus in NYC’s East Village. The restaurant gave him in turn his TV debut on Vice and now, Viceland. His first book, Fresh Off The Boat, was recently adapted into a TV series by the ABC network. The autobiographic adaptation has put Eddie Huang in the forefront of American pop culture.
George ‘Joji’ Miller is a Japanese-American internet sensation that gained a cult following with his very niche, bizarre entertainment. The social media mogul has a taste for subversion and this may well be something that puts him ahead of his peers, in a world where shock value appears to be one of the main components of pop culture. Musically though, the man is closer to Corbin (formerly known as Spooky Black) or James Blake. His haunting tunes contrast with his crazy persona, and you may well be one listen away from being completely hooked.
2015 is a difficult year to forget in the trap music genre. Keith Ape is the mind behind the dark, viral sensation super hit titled It G Ma. Back then, the trap genre was still new. It was far from being the oversaturated market that exists today. Instead, demand regarding foreign trap music was very high and Keith Ape arrived at just the right time. He gained a huge cult following in Europe and managed to work with some of the biggest names on the old continent and in North America. On the video below, he shares the screen with our next pick, Verbal…
Difficult to talk about Asian pioneers on social media and in pop culture without mentioning Verbal. The nippon rapper/style icon with Korean background was first noticed internationally through the Teriyaki Boyz, a Japanese hip hop group that managed to gain traction through their work in the mid 2000s. He has worked with Bape, Pharrell Williams or Kanye West, before all three of these names were considered mainstream… In the early 2000s, the guy was on every blog posts and street style bible. More than a decade later, and his influence has yet to fade: he is the founder, with his life partner, Yoon, from Ambush, one of the freshest jewelry and accessories lines at the moment.