Faces of Jakarta: Rich Brian’s ‘Kids’ video, explained

Screenshot from Rich Brian’s ‘Kids’ video. Youtube/88rising
Screenshot from Rich Brian’s ‘Kids’ video. Youtube/88rising

The music video for Indonesian rapper Rich Brian’s latest single, Kids, dropped last Friday, but it’s still being widely talked about among fans and netizens alike. The 19-year-old rapper’s colorful, touching homage to his hometown Jakarta and the country’s youth perfectly encapsulates Rich Brian’s musical maturity and why he should be regarded as a role model in the country (ahem).

The video, which has been viewed 3.6 million times as of this afternoon, is directed by Sing J. Lee of Mamag Studios, the creative studio that previously worked on Donald Glover’s short films for Adidas and the Google Pixel 3 ad, as well as rap trio Migos’ Stir Fry music video.

Rich Brian received much praise for depicting Jakartans from all walks of life — from scenesters, street sellers, to suburban kids — and the familiar sights of the city throughout the video. Seeing as how Jakarta and Indonesia are barely represented on the global entertainment stage and how brilliantly the video elevates them both, it really does — to quote President Joko Widodo himself — make us proud of Rich Brian.




If you’re a fan of Rich Brian but you’re not from Jakarta, or if you’re not at all familiar with what’s what or who’s who in the city, let us help break down some of the sights and introduce you to people in the video for you:

“Shout out my parents, my mother gave birth to four winners”

Towards the beginning of the video, we can see some of Rich Brian’s family members, including his father Heru Soewarno, mother Megawati Poernomo, older sister and renowned fashion blogger Sonia Eryka, and older brother Roy Leonard AKA ROYCDC, a DJ.

One of the children playing soccer is seen wearing a Beto jersey. Beto is the nickname of Alberto Gonçales da Costa, a Brazilian-born Indonesian soccer player who currently plays as a forward for Liga 1 club Madura United. He plays for the Indonesian national team after being naturalized as an Indonesian citizen in February of last year.

These are cassettes of West Java’s traditional Sundanese music, kliningan and jaipongan — the latter of which is a popular traditional dance. You can listen to one of the albums featured in the snippet, Mojang Sari, here.

This was likely taken around Brian’s neighborhood in West Jakarta, where he posed for a photo with a goat for his 2017 single Back At It.

Ah, cengtri AKA bonceng tri, which roughly translates to three people riding on a motorcycle. This very unsafe practice is common in Indonesia, often with children in tow. 

These cats are practically Indonesian royalty. Gustika Jusuf-Hatta, the granddaughter of founding father and first vice president Mohammad Hatta, wrote in a tweet that the cats belong to her aunt. She also says her cousins made cameos in the video.

One of Jakarta’s iconic monuments, the Monumen Selamat Datang (Welcome Monument) which is also widely known as Monumen Bundaran HI (Hotel Indonesia Roundabout Monument). The monument was built to welcome the participants of Asian Games IV in 1962 under the order of Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno. The monument was designed by Henk Ngantung, Jakarta’s vice governor at the time.

These are cincin batu akik or stone rings, usually worn by middle-aged men. It became a huge trend collectible trend that swept the nation a few years ago, and it was not at all rare to see Indonesian men wearing a number of huge gemstones on their hands a la Thanos.

This is the male version of Ondel-ondel, a large puppet figure used in traditional Betawi folk performances. Once reserved mainly for festivals or to welcome important guests, these days Ondel-ondel are often used as props for street busking.

An aerial view of Taman Anggrek Mall, one of the biggest malls in Jakarta located in West Jakarta, where Brian was raised.

This shot was likely taken at Sunda Kelapa Harbour in North Jakarta, where many wooden boats are docked.

The teenagers in this scene are practicing pencak silat, the Indonesian traditional martial art popularized in The Raid and its sequel.

In several scenes, Brian is seen having dinner at a warung tenda, which is basically a pop-up restaurant situated on the roadside. Other than traditional fares such as pecel lele or nasi goreng, Japanese food is actually one of the most popular menu items sold on the streets.

In the last scene, Brian is seen partying with his father, Heru.

On Sunday, Brian’s label 88 Rising released a short video showing President Joko Widodo “pleasantly listening” to Kids during their meeting at Bogor Presidential Palace earlier this month. Brian is seen awkwardly bobbing his head at the beginning, as if he was anticipating a reaction from the hard rock and metal-loving president, who retained his flat expression throughout the video. In a deleted tweet, Brian said he was afraid that Jokowi would think his song was “trash”. 

Today, Brian released the tracklist for his upcoming album The Sailor, which will be out on July 26. Though there are not as many featured artists listed as compared to his previous album Amen, seeing Wu Tang Clan’s de facto leader RZA and labelmate Joji among the names, on top of the incredibly amazing and moving Kids, has us super hyped for The Sailor.

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