Java Rap Stars to Perform at Asia Society on May 14

Jogja Hip Hop Foundation. (Photo courtesy of the artists)

If there were still any doubt that hip hop music is truly a global phenomenon, look no further than Indonesia's Jogja Hip Hop Foundation.

The collective of artists founded by Marzuki Mohammad, aka "Kill the DJ," appeals to both the young and the old, as a relentless booming bass underpins vocal hooks about societal issues and Javanese poems and literature. Their songs that speak out about corruption have been used as anthems in public demonstrations and rallies. 

Speaking to The Jakarta Post, Marzuki said he had to "concoct the spirit of hip hop music to make it acceptable to the local ear." He did this by working Indonesian traditions into the Western concept of hip hop, and referencing classic works from Javanese literature, such as Centhini, into the lyrics. He added, "We don't swallow that foreign music raw."

Asia Society in New York invites you to a special performance by Indonesia's rap stars on May 14. There will be a free pre-performance lecture at 7:00 pm. Click here for event details.

To win free tickets answer this question in the comments field below: How has hip-hop managed to have such a global reach? 

Get a feel for  Jogja Hip Hop Foundation's lyrical flow below:

Check out this trailer from Hiphopdiningrat a documentary about hip-hop culture from Yogyakarta, Central Java, by the founders of Jogja Hip Hop Foundation.

About the Author

Profile picture for user Shreeya Sinha
Shreeya Sinha is an award-winning Journalist, Multimedia Producer and Social Media Editor for Asia Society. She was raised in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and India.