Feature

Celebrating hip-hop in
Jakarta

Journeying: Local hip-hop artists performed and joined in a discussion last week in Jakarta. JP/Dianty Widyowati
Journeying: Local hip-hop artists performed and joined in a discussion last week in Jakarta. JP/Dianty Widyowati

I say hip, you say hop!” roared Saykoji, one of the country’s most prominent hip-hop artists.

The crowd cheered, most dressed in hooded sweatshirts, oversized jeans and backwards baseball caps. At a quick glance, the crowed was comprised of the hip-hop community. And that night, in the showcase room of @america in Pacific Place, they were celebrating hip-hop.

“Hip-Hop: The Journey” was part of showcase series organized by Plasa MSN in partnership with @america. The series is planned for every month in 2013 with different musical genres showcased, including rock, metal and grunge. The hip-hop event was unique due to the inclusion of a talk show.

“There won’t be any massive publication,” Alung, the Plasa MSN organizer, told The Jakarta Post. “This is a community-based event. We’re here to have fun, to bring fanbases closer to artists and to enrich the genre’s community.”

Hip-hop was the first musical genre selected for the series due to its relative rarity in the country’s music scene. It has a large yet unexposed fan base and rarely appears on television. “Hip-hop is dominating the clubs outside this country, yet it is barely played at local clubs. By organizing this event, we expect the hip-hop community to grow,” said Alung.

The showcase opened with the performance of Yogyakarta-based Black Mic. Even though there was a technical problem during their performance, the two young men successfully opened the night with their idealistic “Destroy the Corruptors”. The mood switched to a romantic mode when YMT took the stage with two colleagues. Appearing with a checkered shirt, he sang two flirty songs that caused the female concertgoers to go wild.

Not long after YMT left the stage, 8-Ball stormed in. The group is popular among the local hip-hop community as the artist specializes in spontaneous rap battles some call “beef”.

After 8-Ball performed, other hip-hop artists such as Iwa K, Mosquad’s Faro and Doniel (formerly of hip-hop group Neo), and Igor of Saykoji came together for the talk show. It was surprisingly simple and friendly. The guests plopped down on multi-colored beanbags instead of chairs and discussed hip-hop and its ups and downs in the Indonesian music scene with ease.

Iwa K voiced his concern over hip-hop and rap’s development. For him, it seemed like hip-hop and rap were still isolated from acknowledgement by the public. In fact, hip-hop and rap are easy to listen to and lovable. “Rap is unique. It is an art of forming words with musical beats. People are like chatting when they rap, but it’s no ordinary chat, it is a percussive chat,” said Iwa.

Igor also used the opportunity to offer his opinion about the Indonesian hip-hop scene. “I wish hip-hop could also be enjoyed by those outside the hip-hop community.”

He later said that his motivation behind making mainstream songs such as “So What Gitu Loh” and “Online” was to disseminate hip-hop. “I made catchy lyrics and commercialized my songs so people will listen to hip-hop,” Igor said.

Later Mosquad emerged on stage. Mosquad, abbreviated from Moslem Squad, is an eccentric hip-hop duo that creates songs with religious-themed lyrics. They performed two that night, “Hands Above” and “Moslem”. One of the members, Doniel, confidently paired a peci (traditional Muslim cap) with his hip-hop wardrobe and exclaimed the universal Islamic greeting “Assalamualaikum” several times to the audience.

After that, Saykoji charged in. “Hip-hop will never die!” the chubby 29-year-old screamed, which was repeatedly chanted by the young hip-hop fans in the audience as they waved their hands in the air.

The showcase ended with Orsoen performing with a full live band.

In the end, the two-hour event was not that massive. But, it was more than enough to quench the thirst of the hip-hop community, allowing them to enjoy a celebration of the genre.

Paper Edition | Page: 27

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