Lo­cal hip hop get­ting at­ten­tion

The Jakarta Post - JPlus - - Between The Lines - WORDS BAM­BANG PRA­MONO Time

Alit­tle over 20 years since Ban­dung-based rap­per Iwa K broke onto the mu­sic scene in In­done­sia and brought hip hop to the masses, home­grown rap­pers are fi­nally mak­ing a dent on the in­ter­na­tional mu­sic scene. In the past three months, a Jakarta-based young hip hop artist, known as Rich Chigga, has be­come an in­ter­net sen­sa­tion and been chris­tened a hip hop icon.

As if to prove his skep­tics wrong, Rich man­aged to get an en­dorse­ment from one of the big­gest names in hip-hop, Ghost­face Kil­lah, of the New York leg­endary hip hop col­lec­tive Wu-Tang Clan. Ghost­face, in fact, ap­peared on Rich’s new video for the of­fi­cial remix of viral sen­sa­tion “Dat $tick,” which now has more than 20 mil­lion views.

Rich’s style has also won praise from big names in the game. Rap­per Cam’ron said that that he is a great rap­per.

“I see the comedic side of all this, but what he’s spit­ting is dope. His flow was tough,” Cam’ron said in his re­ac­tion video, which has now raked in close to 5 mil­lion views. Some­thing is cer­tainly go­ing on if a re­ac­tion video to an orig­i­nal video got so many eye­balls.

Rich, whose real name is Brian Imanuel, is so phe­nom­e­nal that magazine tracked him down and pub­lished a story based on the en­counter ti­tled, “Meet Brian Imanuel, Alias Rich Chigga, the 17-Year- Old In­done­sian Rap­per Who Hacked the World”. In the ar­ti­cle,

Time praised Imanuel as hav­ing “preter­nat­u­ral grasp of the darkly ironic tenor of the hu­mor of Twit­ter and Vine”. That ironic tenor cer­tainly en­gulfs Rich’s orig­i­nal video in which he raps about killing pigs and driv­ing a Maserati, wear­ing a polo shirt with a fanny pack strapped on his belly, swill­ing a bot­tle of rum and flanked by two friends wield­ing fake pis­tols.

Vice magazine at­trib­uted Rich’s suc­cess to “his abil­ity in mak­ing an in­no­va­tive and cut­ting parody of what cul­ture has be­come to so many young peo­ple in Amer­ica and across the globe”.

At the same time Rich Chigga was plan­ning his in­ter­net dom­i­na­tion from his bed­room, many of his fel­low young hip hop acts had

pre­pared their own bat­tle plan, as they mined the po­ten­tial of so­cial me­dia and weaponized them, lit­er­ally.

Rap­per Young Lex rose to fame af­ter re­leas­ing his sin­gle “Bad”, a generic hip-hop tune with his sig­na­ture ane­mic rhyming, but fea­tur­ing one of the coun­try’s most talked-about In­sta­gram celebri­ties, Awkarin, who de­liv­ers some lines on the tune. By putting Awkarin in the clip, Young Lex — real name Sa­muel Alexan­der Pi­eter — man­aged not only to draw the in­ter­net celebrity crowd but also scan­dal­ize reg­u­lar mu­sic fans, who long ques­tioned his hip hop cre­den­tials and sus­pected that he was only in it for the money.

“I want to build an em­pire like Jay-Z, I want to run a busi­ness like P. Diddy and want to have a strat­egy like Drake,” Young Lex said in a re­cent in­ter­view that shocked the coun­try’s hip hop com­mu­nity.

TAK­ING THE RAP

Hip hop­heads were shocked not be­cause of his de­sire to be rich and fa­mous, but by his state­ment that many con­sid­ered an in­sult to the coun­try’s hip hop pi­o­neer, none other than Iwa K. For Young Lex, scan­dal is the name of the game.

“Sorry to say, Iwa K is con­sid­ered a le­gend be­cause he came first and not be­cause of his skills,” Young Lex said, adding that he re­served his praise for an­other Ban­dung-based MC, Ucok Homi­cide, a tow­er­ing fig­ure in the lo­cal hip hop scene who is the de facto leader of the po­lit­i­cally-con­scious hip hop that has made the scene more in­ter­est­ing in the past decade. Fol­low­ing the dis­band­ment of the leg­endary hip-hop col­lec­tive Homi­cide, Ucok con­tin­ues to keep alive the tra­di­tion of “old­school” hip hop which leans to­ward Amer­i­can East Coast acts like Public En­emy, Run-D.M.C., Nas and A Tribe Called Quest.

In 2011, Ucok founded his record la­bel Grim­loc, whose tagline is “Bring the Noise Like It’s ‘88” as the home for hip hops acts who record po­lit­i­cally- and so­cially-con­scious songs, in­clud­ing Doyz, Eye­feel­six, and Do­mestik Dok­trin. In 2014, Grim­loc re­leased

Per­spek­tif (Per­spec­tive), a reis­sue of Doyz’ 2002 de­but al­bum, a work many con­sider to be the first so­cially-con­scious rap record in the coun­try.

“Doyz is a bridge be­tween hard­core hip hop heads and fans of na­tive tongue rap as well as main­stream rap,” Ucok said of the re­lease.

If Ucok and his ilk are purists and rad­i­cals who wanted their mu­sic to change the world, other po­lit­i­cally-minded hip hop prac­ti­tion­ers on the scene are more pre­oc­cu­pied with more es­o­teric ques­tions: does hip hop have a place on the lo­cal scene and if so, what can be done to in­di­g­e­nize the US-orig­i­nated style of mu­sic. Yo­gyakarta-based MC Marzuki “Juki” Mo­hamad, also known as Kill The DJ, thinks that the lat­ter path is a pos­si­bil­ity. Marzuki has com­posed hip-hop mu­sic ac­cen­tu­ated with game­lan and at times spits his rhymes in Ja­vanese lan­guage. The ef­fort paid off when he and his hip hop col­lec­tive Jogja Hip Hop Foun­da­tion was in­vited by The New Eng­land Foun­da­tion and the US Depart­ment of State to do an East Coast-West Coast tour in 2012. Re­cently, he took a stab at mix­ing hip hop with dan­g­dut tra­di­tional mu­sic by re­leas­ing a new al­bum ti­tled Kewer-Kewer, con­sist­ing of 10 songs which he cheek­ily refers as “post-dan­g­dut elec­tron­ica”. One song from the al­bum made its way into the block­buster film Ada Apa Den­gan Cinta 2 (What’s Up with Cinta? 2) sound­track­ing a club­bing scene in the film. With so much di­ver­sity in the scene to­day, it’s easy to for­get that lo­cal hip hop is barely two decades old.

Courtesy of Rich Chigga

Rich Chigga

Kill the DJ (right)

Young Lex Courtesy of Ka­pan­lagi.com

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