Friday, September 07, 2007

My own stupid analysis: Indonesian rap music

Indonesian rap is annoying and stupid.

I know this might irritate some people and it shows my own ignorance. But, I can't stand it -- I was once told by economists here that there's nothing you could do with other people's taste; well I don't care. . . I just happened to be in a long ride with this damn bus, and all I could hear was that continuing weird noise called Indonesian rap.

I said "weird" and "noise" because of the following.

Rap music, I gather, is a part of hip-hop culture that uses rhyme and rhythm spitted mostly in a very fast beat. I'm no phonologist or morphologist, but I believe human tongue (and mouth) has its limit when it comes to spitting words quickly. It is then easier to spit one-syllable words than two-syllable words. English (and I believe African, too) words are dominated by one-syllables. At least for words you want to rap with. Fine, two-syllables are also used. But not much. Try this (from Usher feat Ludacris and Lil Jon):
I'm (1) in (1) the (1) club (1) with (1) my (1) homies (2), tryna (2) get (1) a (1) lil (1) V-I (2),
keep (1) it (1) down (1) on (1) the (1) low (1) key (1),
cause (1) you (1) know (1) how (1) it (1) feels (1).
I (1) said (1) shorty (2) she (1) was (1) checkin (2) up (1) on (1) me (1),
from (1) the (1) game (1) she (1) was (1) spittin (2) my (1) ear ( 2 or 1.5) you'd (1) think (1) that (1) she (1) knew (1) me (1).
So (1) we (1) decided (3 or 2.5) to (1) chill (1).
See, there are only 5 two-syllables and 1 three-syllable (even so, you can spit "decided" as "decid'd" -- so it sounds like a 2.5 only; like "ear" to "e'r", a 1.5). The rest are one-syllables. Imagine if this is to be adapted in Indonesian (forget about rhyme for now):
Aku (2) dalam (2) klab (1) dengan (2) teman-teman (4),
coba (2) dapatkan (3) sedikit (3) kesenangan (4!)
Jangan (2) berisik (3), kar'na (2) kau (1.5) tau (2) aku (2) s'dang (2) asik (2)....

.... and so on
Look how many twos and threes (and even fours) we got, just in the beginning! Now try visualize a rapper wannabe who raps with Indonesian words like that. Either he or she can be damn good with extremely fast tongue (Iwa K was fast!) or you would experience a torture.

Not that there's anything wrong with Indonesian words. They just don't go with rap, trust me. You may as well end up funny: you move your hip and wave your hands up and down. But your phonetic tools can't follow.

Even in singing, efficiency matters -- as the economist would say.


  1. And how to create rap music in one syllable using Bahasa Indonesia?

  2. That's the whole point. You can't.

  3. all you need is one good talented artist. then it doesn't matter how many syllables there are.

  4. It is a cute posting from an economist. :)

  5. Or you may end up with a rap like the one in Farid Harja's "Ini Rindu"

    "Mulutpun bi bi bi bi bi bi bisu lidahpun ke ke ke ke ke ke kelu
    Ka ka ka ka ka ka ka ka karena ci ci ci ci ci ci ci ci cinta"


  6. "bi bi bi bi bi bi bi bi sa aja blue ini"

  7. Hahahahahaha, can't stop laughing,,,

  8. iwa k himself once admitted that indo words were difficult to use as rap lyrics, so he had to kinda 'hide' it with the rythm... according to him the best words to use as rap lyrics is sundanese... have u heard of batman kasarung??!! an excellent indo rap song, but dominated by sundanese words...


  9. hm, sundanese rap. now that's interesting!

    psm-makassar's ramang

  10. unfortunately, indonesian rap is rubbish and still rubbish. in the US, it's still rubbish though but commercially attractive and financially prospective. there's a rappers rich list.

  11. for lmekvrnv...
    i guess u dont really like rap, but as an economist u do have to realize that its what the market wants... sooooo over exploitation of rap music is good for the dough, u feel me??!!
    yes, it is silly to have a rapper rich list but in indo u could have the corrupted rich list... hehehehe so which one is more screwed??!!


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