Jogja Hip Hop Foundation: popular culture, politics and kraton values in contemporary Java, Edi Dwi Riyanto

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Date(s) - 11/05/2017
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Room E561, 5th Floor, East Wing, Menzies Building (Building 11)


The Jogja Hip Hop Foundation (JHF), founded in 2003, has gained international recognition since 2010. The success of JHF was caused by its capability to combine two seemingly contradictory social worlds: Javaneseness, famous for its politeness, softness, and conformity, and hip hop culture, which implies a brash, rebellious cultural positioning. The JHF’s main creative achievement was in reworking and revitalizing Yogyakarta traditions and history and packaging them as Java Hip Hop. However this enterprise arrived at a point of divergence between Javaneseness and global values. Marjuki, the high-profile leader of JHF, decided to leave JHF to embrace market mechanisms and individual celebrity rather than the conformity and compliance to Javanese tradition and its supreme cultural and political leader, the Sultan.

The trajectory of JHF has shown a dilemma created through tension between the empowering and liberating ethic of hip hop, and the feudalistic character of traditional kraton Javanese culture. Through this case study of JHF, this presentation will shed new light on the relationships between music, culture and politics, specifically those in Yogyakarta.

About the speaker

For the last five years, Edi Dwi Riyanto has carried out research on Jogja Hip Hop Foundation. After spending his childhood in a rural setting in the ‘marginal’ Javanese community of Bumiayu, he was educated in urban Java. He is a now lecturer at the English Department of the Faculty of Humanities Airlangga University Surabaya, and has recently submitted his PhD in the Faculty of Arts, Monash University. His research interests include the transformation of Javanese values, social life and culture in contemporary Java, focussing specifically on popular cultural forms. He is concerned about the evolution of Javanese cultural forms in the present.