JHF (Jogja HipHop Foundation): The Cross Culture Fenomena

12:10:00 AM

In daily life, music  often seen  having a cross-cultural communication ability. This raises many phrase "knows of no race music" and "Music is Universal". No doubt, music has the ability to communicate, include cross-culturally . The question is how and what it communicates.
Sometimes, music also seen to have a hierarchy that tends to be negative. High cultural status is presented through high status music (especially art music), whereas low status cultures expressed through primitive music.
When approaching music and youth, especially in order to analyze the significance of music for a certain group of youngsters, it is important to look at culture as a process of communication. The relationship between different individuals and between different communities should be in focus, as a dynamic process of constant interaction. When looking at the youngsters and their attempts to create a new identity, the perspective of creolization or modernization has been up front(Mørch, Y:1994.). In order not to underestimate the importance of youth as a substantial cultural factor for these youngsters, an understanding of the different arenas of the individual could prove.
Tihs paper is focusing on how music (Hip-Hop) can adopt by Yogyakartarian youth. This Paper choose Jogja HipHop Foundation as an object to analyse. Particulary in cross culture comunication studies.
The HipHop Culture
It is known that the musicians have used music to express their affection and feelings. Besides music also plays an important role for youth (Hitzler, Bucher & Niederbacher ,2005: 78). The younger generation itself usually tend to like a certain genre of music, which then becomes self-identity. This situation further if identified, would show the presence of group dynamics in a genre of music.
This paper focuses on the genre rap music, which originated from the HipHop culture. The HipHop culture was born in the 1970ies in the centre of neo-liberal capitalism, the USA, more specifically in the Bronx, in the city of New York. It arose from within particular cultural groupings that had experienced life in the specific cultural context of the different parts of America in which they had lived and that initially was dominated by Black Afro-American experience and culture. The HipHop culture, which then was also seen as a movement, was catalyzed by the Black African-Americans who mostly were suffering from the deindustrialization in the big cities, where the consequences were carried by the poorer suburbs (Peschke, 2010:61). Since the 1980ies, HipHop is also called an urban youth culture (Klein & Friedrich, 2003:), because it does not only consist of rap music, but includes other elements like graffiti, DJing and breakdancing, which form the HipHop culture as a whole.
Rap music is one part of the HipHop culture. In the expansion of Rap music became very popular and spread rapidly. That is why, rap is often identified as the entire Hip Hop culture itself.[1] Rap was born in so called blockparties, initiated by young Black African-Americans, who could not afford spending their leisure in fancy place. The blockparties would be held on the street and rap was used during the musical amusements of a DJ, where a master of ceremony, short MC, would shout into the crowd to warm up the audience and indirectly ask them to participate and dance to the music. The MC would do that by using short and simple phrases, that is why it is called rap because the spoken words are quick and sharp. Rap then developed, the MC started to tell short stories, which grabbed the attention and interest of the audience, since then rap music became very popular among.
Not only become a medium of entertainment, Rap also became a form of expression among black African-American. Rap is also often used as a way of protesting their situation. They usually will convey the life they lead.
Yogyakarta and the Javanese culture
Java is an island that is inhabited by a variety of people, who follow different believes and customs. There is one region that is famous for being the guardian of the culture, traditions, behaviors and morals of its ancestors the city of Yogyakarta and its surrounding villages. Yogyakarta is situated approximately 500km southeast of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, and is the capital of the Yogyakarta Special Region Province. Yogyakarta has a long and rich history, documented in Indonesian literature.
It is clear that Yogyakarta is rich in traditions with its unique way of life. Kraton, or the Sultan's palace, is the centre of the citizens activities in the social political, spiritual and economical spheres. During its development, the location of the Kraton, which is at the centre of Yogyakarta, drove the sprawl of the city in a unique and ordered pattern. Kraton became the cultural centre and in many ways influenced the values and traditions of the society.[2]
Before Java was influenced by major religions, the Javanese people already had believes that there is a God who protects them. This religiosity became then even more intense and meaningful when religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity started to spread in Java. This shows that the Javanese culture has huge tolerance to accepted other cultures, and that the process of acculturation is not something new, since the Javanese culture also puts forward reconciliation, respect, tolerance and social justice.[3] The spreading of the Javanese people into different parts of the world, but also in Indonesia itself, shows that the Javanese culture actively adjusts itself with globalization.[4]
Rap Music in Yogyakarta and the Jogja HipHop Foundation
The HipHop culture in Indonesia and rap music itself, started to flourish only in the early 1990ies. The first Indonesian rapper, who published a full-length album was Iwa K, who was inspired by Farid Hardja, a singer who practiced the art of speaking a little faster than usual, accompanied by music. That is why, Iwa K. then officially introduced rap music to Indonesia.[5] Rap then became more popular among certain youth groupings and new rising rappers would try to enter the Indonesian music industry.
One different aspect in the Indonesian rap music scene compared to American rap music was the language. Besides using Bahasa Indonesia, instead of English, most of the Indonesian rappers used polite words, rather than vulgar ones. It was also very rare, that Indonesian rappers would write song or lyrics, which would be about violence or free sex. The early American rappers as an example, would include topics like racism, while Indonesia rappers would put more emphasis on dissatisfactions about the government. But mostly, the topics which were chosen in the Indonesian rap music scene were pointed to the Indonesian youth, like social differences among them.[6]
The example taken for analyzing how a global cultural phenomenon like HipHop interacts with a local culture, will be shown closer by group called Jogja HipHop Foundation. The Jogja HipHop Foundation (JHF) was found by Marzuki Mohammad in 2003 and projects itself to accommodate Yogyakarta based HipHop crews, who mostly use the traditional Javanese dialect in their performances. Despite being called a foundation, JHF is more a group. After being given the opportunity to perform in different events and places, volunteers and sponsors came along to support JHF to promote the Indonesian HipHop scene in Yogyakarta. In 2006 JHF started the Indonesian Poetry Battle, which became a yearly event. This battle started out as a project to combine rap music with Indonesian literature, in other words, Indonesian poems, older pieces originating from the 18th century and newer contemporary ones, would be used as lyrics and rapping them with breakbeats. The aim of this poetry battle was making poems more accessible and better known to the public, and at the mean while, destroying the language barriers and the forms of interpretation of these poems. Also, JHF wanted to promote love and pluralism with their music. As a result of the following Poetry Battles, JHF released their first album in 2007 with the title ‘Poetry Battle 1’, followed by the second successful album called ‘Poetry Battle 2’. Their success as a Yogyakartan based rap group, rapping in Javanese did not stop. In 2011, JHF launched their documentary titled HipHopDiningrat, a film which shows the development of the HipHop scene in Yogyakarta and JHF’s growth itself.[7] Besides having huge success as a group, the five members of JHF also have their own careers rapping in the Javanese dialect. All of them combine traditional music with urban beats.
Marzuki Mohamad alias Kill the DJ or Chebolang, is the founder of JHF. He has already been in the music business before he had his success with JFC, but eventually with other music genres. His current works are associated with the Javanese traditional singer or sinden Soimah Pancawati.
Jogja HipHop Foundation as the most popular rap group performing in the Javanese dialect, has caught my attention because they spread and carry on the Javanese culture in a very youthful way, that is through rap music, which attracts many young people. It shows that even when a global culture is influencing, it does not have to mean that the local character will fade, instead it can make it newer and stronger, hence it offers a positive result of glocalization.
However, HipHop culture has developed and spread its wings in many countries and places, Indonesia is one of them, especially Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta became a place where HipHop acceptable to the younger generation. Acceptance of HipHop in Yogyakarta becomes very interesting because here is a typical blend, to give birth to JHF.

When JHF goes to New York
 On November 20, 2012, JHF was having a tour in US. They were performing everywhere from New York’s prestigious Lincoln Center  to a venue in Scottsdale, Arizona, and performing with the likes of Indonesian/Brazilian funk carioca queen Zuzuka Poderosa. We asked MCs Marzuki (aka Kill the DJ), Balance, and manager Anindita all about it.[8]
Clearly, there is a cross culture communication when JHF were performing. As it written on http://www.mtviggy.com, there was a problem when the audiens can’t understand their lyrics. Its cause of JHF song lyric’s was written in javanese language. “Since I can’t understand your lyrics, can you tell me about them?”[9]
            We can aproach this situation by using CAT or communication adaptation thery.  Gumperz and Tannen (1979) argue that cross-cultural interactions are more difficult to enact because persons have relatively dissimilar language histories. For this reason, Berger and diBattista predicted that if persons believe that their conversational partner is a non-native speaker of their language, then they are more likely to adapt their message earlier in the interaction rather than later (1993, p. 223). When persons adapt their messages, Berger and diBattista hypothesize that they will first alter lower level elements of their messages such as speech rate and vocal intensity instead of more abstract message elements that deal with the organization and structure of the message content. This prediction is called the hierarchy hypothesis. Contrary to their reasoning, however, the results of their study showed that this type of adaptation did not occur during initial interactions between persons of different races. In other words, individuals did not adapt their messages based solely on the initial appearance of their conversational partner.
In this case, audiens clearly can’t receive the message well. Its caused by their culture were completly diferent. They were came from a different race, and of course they were having a different language.

[2] http://www.site.virtual-yogyakarta.info/extra-credit on 26 December 2013

[3] http://inawan multiply.com/journal/item/14/JATI_DIRI_DAN_KRISIS_BUDAYA_?&show_
   interstitial=1&u=%2Fjournal%2Fitem on 26 December 2013

[4] http://budayajawa.com/index.php?productID=141 on 26 December 2013
[5] http://gombrang.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/sejarah-hip-hop-di-indonesia-versi-indonesia-2/ on 28 December 2013

[6] http://magz hiphopheroes.net/info/knowledge/history-of-indonesian-hip-hop html on 28 December 2013

[9] A question from the audiens, ibid

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