i-D: august 08 is set to be 88rising’s next breakout star
words by Georgie Wright
There’s not a lot of information online about AUGUST 08. His first Instagram is from December 2017, simply captioned, “Hi I’m August and I’ve decided to use Instagram for what it’s for. Here’s a picture of my friend Brian’s Tour Bus ”. His first tweet, from September 17, quotes an enquiry, “who r u and what do u do for 88?” AUGUST 08’s response: “I RISE.”
“88” is 88rising, the LA-based music, media, management and meme-manufacturing company helping to propel Asian artists out to the wider world. Brian is Indonesian rapper Rich Brian, one of the spearheads of the movement who clocked up Internet virality with his stereotype-subverting Dat $tick . AUGUST 08 is a very fresh signing to 88rising, which explains how the then-unknown LA crooner scored a feature on the closing track of Brian’s latest album, and an opening spot on his latest tour. “It was an incredible feeling to get in front of crowds that didn’t know me, but who were open to a new experience,” he says. “We raged hella hard.”
Given they’re in the business of 360 career development, you get the sense 88 picked up on AUGUST 08’s potential when he was songwriting for other people, and then wiped his slate clean (“why tf do u only have 25 followers,” one Twitter user asked. “New Account lol” was the response), in preparation to catapult him to the same heady heights as their other offspring. Because if his debut tracks are anything to go by, he’s on the cusp of a skyrocketing very high, very soon. Fitting, then, that one of his biggest inspirations is Elon Musk.
“It’s the kind of song you want to blast from souped-up speakers at 3am as you hurtle down an empty freeway, rain tearing down your windscreen, speed limit conveniently sidelined in attempt to outpace all your life problems. “
His other inspiration is the guy who makes Drake’s dad’s suits. “I got mad love for that person.” It also appears he has mad love for Drake, if his two debut tracks are anything to go by. They’re similarly heavy on the yearning melancholy vocals that probe at a very personal history. “The project was really based around my father, and my father left me when I was young, when I was 11 or 12 years old,” he told Pigeons and Planes about his upcoming EP,Father. Back in March, we got our first taste via Funeral — a slow burn of a track that really latches onto something in your chest cavity. The verses are all slow, sung-rap hybrids underscored by a driving beat. It crescendos into a chorus that foregrounds his syrupy voice with an absolute gut-punch of a lyric: “Don’t say it at my funeral — say it to me now.”
Then there’s Lately, released via 88rising and Red Bull Records, the video for which we’re premiering today. While its cover art, video and track all feature an obnoxiously expensive car — a Lamborghini, to be precise — it’s much more Frank Ocean’s White Ferrari than Chamillionaire’s Ridin’. It’s the kind of song you want to blast from souped-up speakers at 3am as you hurtle down an empty freeway, rain tearing down your windscreen, speed limit conveniently sidelined in attempt to outpace all your life problems. In AUGUST 08’s case, this is also probably the speed at which his career is about to take off at. So strap in, press play and hold tight for more.