Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has been making headlines for his unorthodox campaign and organic approach to the campaign trail, which has led to everything from spontaneous skateboarding sessions to crowd surfing. In another unique addition to the list, the 44-year-old serial entrepreneur made an appearance at a concert for Indonesian rapper Rich Brian on “The Sailor Tour,” which reportedly led to an eruption of applause.
Rich — real name Brian Imanuel — is just 20-years-old but already earned his way into the spotlight with his 2016 song and video, “Dat $tick.” GQ reports that Rich learned to rap from YouTube and has received praise from respected rappers like Ghostface Killah and Cam’ron. Interestingly, the young rapper’s initial goal when he first jumped onto Twitter to promote music and videos was to be a cinematographer.
“When I made ‘Dat $tick,’ it blew up, and I saw the potential in that. I was like, I need to take a stab at this. A few months after, I started learning about music production and started writing more things, and realized I liked it more than making videos and being a cinematographer.”
Rich isn’t the first rapper to crossover with Yang. MC Jin, one of the most well-known Asian American rappers, threw his support behind the Democratic dark horse and even dropped a “Yang Gang” diss track aimed at the DNC. Radii reports that Jin also released a remix of “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F*ck Wit” titled “Drew Yang Gang, That’s Who I Hooked Up Wit.”
Yang’s campaign has drawn support from many other famous figures, including Tesla founder Elon Musk, actor Tommy Chong, and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. His campaign is centered around his proposal of a universal basic income (UBI) of $1,000 per month for every American adult as a response to job losses due to automation. He claims that without addressing the problem, automation will continue to hollow out the U.S. economy while Big Tech companies reap the rewards.
Before running for president, Yang founded Venture for America (VFA), a nonprofit that placed elite graduates at startup companies in struggling cities like Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, and Birmingham, with funding solely from philanthropists.
According to The Atlantic, Yang credits his experience with VFA as the catalyst for his presidential run after he realized that the creation of jobs VFA was accomplishing was being undercut by the larger problem of automation.
“I realized that our work was like pouring water into a bathtub that has a giant hole ripped in the bottom. And the hole was just getting bigger,” he said.