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Die Antwoord $O$

$O$

by Roger Young / 29.10.2010

By most accounts Waddy Jones was always a bit of cunt. And now Ninja, with the fame rushing to his head, is starting to display the same paranoid cuntish tendencies. Witness his FB statuses of late, dissing magazines in general, Deadmau5’s production values and Sean Metelerkamp in particular. They read as a desperately insecure little stabs at hardcoreness; which is strange because if $0$ is anything to go by Ninja and crew have nothing to be insecure about.

Two thirds of the album is pure genius. The other is typed in angry CAPS LOCK, a weird combination of fronting and dissing of past collaborators that should make anyone nervous to work with him. (Will there soon be a Die Antwoord track dissing Griffin and his watkykjy.co.za’s asskissery?). If you are not with Ninja totally, you are against him; even if you’re with him you might just be using him. Ninja believes in ideas, he does not compromise his art to please people but he also seems to believe that all ideas are totally his own; strange for a man who collaborates so often and who draws so heavily on Roger Ballen, Watkykjy and District 9. We tend to make excuses for the behaviour of great artists (see Picasso, Hemingway or James Baldwin). Asshole-ish behaviour is often a necessary function of “the heartlessness of ideas” but how much leeway to be a prick does $O$ give Ninja?

Zef and hip hop are closely related, in essence. Zef, like early hip hop, takes whatever materials are at hand to enhance whatever it is you have; in zef terms, putting a spoiler on the back of your Opel to “look fancy”, in early 80’s hip hop space, learning to beat box or scratch because you can’t afford, or play, “real instruments”. In his twenty years or so of training to be a Ninja, Pre-Ninja Ninja, through various other projects, amassed skills, ideas about South African culture and outsider art as well as access to equipment and favours. He then put them through the dual blenders of zef and hip hop and found the gestalt of Die Antwoord. But where music journos and cultural theorists have got it wrong is that the relationship is between the artist’s persona and the audience, what actually glues them together, is the music. Without the music none of this would have happened. With this in mind it now falls to me to dissect the new pimped out version of $O$ in order to raise our hit count and leech some more traffic off of Die Antwoord.

Die Antwoord

Not surprisingly $O$ opens with a diss track, “In Your Face”, it’s target? Everyone who doesn’t like Die Antwoord but secretly wants to be them (but’s it’s okay because these holnaaiers don’t matter). With an opening chant of “jealousy makes you nasty. In your face!” set to an electrometal grind, with Yo-landi’s point perfect nursery rhyme rap style and Ninja’s description of what he does with Business Class wet facecloths, over a deep bass stoppy starty almost early Beastie Boys beat “In Your Face” is Die Antwoord at it’s most moronic thematically but on best form musically. Mosh pit action, lyrics to shout along to, peppered with breakdowns to get your breath back. But one question to Yo-landi; surely the purpose of fucking with someone’s brain is to make them think about it?

“Whatever Man” is Die Antwoord’s manifesto. Which is basically that they are totally aware of the intricacies of what it means to be a South African and that they don’t give a fuck. It’s very telling that this stating of “theme” has been moved from being the original $O$’s opener to second place. As if telling everyone that they’re better than them is Die Antwoord’s new artistic purpose. Next up is “Enter The Ninja” and what more needs to be written about ETN? It’s fucking Boss. The End.

“Wat Kyk Jy” is Robin S. on Crack with Ninja doing super laid back and creepy nasal styles. It’s like being an ecstasy dealer in the 90’s and getting caught cutting your pills with speed. Yo-landi shouts the anthem of a generation “Drive Fast Play Kak Music Loud”. Essentially it’s an ode to Watkykjy.co.za the website that turned them onto this whole Zef thing in the first place and set to something house music enthusiasts would call old school. Any one of the elements in this track, the beat, the synth, the chorus would sound silly on it’s own; as a whole it’s definitive Die Antwoord.

“Evil Boy” is everything that Die Antwoord do well, collaborating, mixing ideas, actually providing real discourse on a subject and then contrasting it against profanity and crassness, creating a slinky swapping cross cultural landscape. With Yo-landi and Ninja alternating mad flow with nursery school taunting. Wanga’s circumcision rap and Diplo’s beats take it next level, with Ninja and Yo-landi stretching themselves to new heights of playfulness with their flow. It’s only downfall, the District 9 references are starting to read like a marketing ploy. “Wat Pomp” is another track that displays how clever Ninja is at bringing in other artists to alter the landscape. Yo-landi’s rap is genius, Parow’s is one of his best still. Ninja’s is about how people are stupid because they never got Max Normal. But you know, dope beats and shouty chorus.

Die Antwoord

Yo-landi’s “Rich Bitch” with it’s smooove synths and slow staccato flow is sexy and untouchable and taunting on it’s surface but underneath is an astute discussion on how money and success can change you. It’s kinda eerie that they wrote this before money and success came to them. “Liewe Maaitjies” gets all slow ridey, like an early Massive Attack track produced in Fietas, a perfect ironic stoner track that sneaks in a few rhymes about having coloured blood. This is a theme that Ninja returns to and is probably the most pertinent thing about his discussion of South African culture. When he gets on this trip he exposes all kinds of hypocrisies in our current cultural climate. “Wie Maakie Jol Vol” is another classic co-lab with Isaac Mutant, Knoffel, Jaak Paarl and Scallywag’s complex high energy flows melting into a throwdown; again Ninja’s skill on this track is creating something using the contributions of many artists. Also includes a District 9 reference. And a Locnville diss; you know Locnville, the teen pop band that Die Antwoord are sharing a bill with for three dates in December.

“Fi$h Pa$te” replaces $uper Evil and is essentially about $uper Evil as well as the meltdown of the collaboration with Markus Wormstorm and Spoek Mathambo. Another nursery school chorus in Yo-landi’s spooky sexy voice, elastic synth and an early 90’s feel. Thematically a repeat of “In Your Face”; musically seductive and smooth it’s like being hypnotized by Hentai, it’s at it’s best when Ninja gets into the rhymes about his inner coloured.  “$copie” is a Nintendo like taunt, “Beat Boy” features Ninja sex fantasy flow against 80’s references with Yo-landi taking a back seat, just knocking out a sexy chorus. “Pretty Girls” is a skit that has a similar feel to the vimeo film they put out a few weeks ago; a presentation of the zen of white trash stupidity.

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S PIEL from Die Antwoord on Vimeo.

As Rich Bitch is Yo-landi’s moment, “She Makes Me A Killer” is Ninja’s and the standout track on the album. A mix of new romantic sequencing; tortured ballad-like vocals and tales of sexual failure, it’s an epic track that posits Ninja as a man moved to violence by his own insensitivity to women’s viewpoint. It’s also hilarious.

“Doos Dronk” is another colab; this time with Jack Parow and Fokofpolisiekar. It’s a genius examination of domestic violence, binge drinking and alcoholism. It’s high satire, irony or whatever you want to call it. Yolandi and Ninja bring their own special violence between a rugby chant like chorus’s set to a relentless driving beat. It’s Die Antwoord at their most chillingly effective.

When Die Antwoord is reaching the levels of satire and social commentary on tracks like “Doos Dronk”, “She Makes Me A Killer”, “Evil Boy”, “Rich Bitch” or even “Whatever Man”, I call them genius; then I regard his overprotectiveness of his ideas as a necessity to keep the vision pure. When he’s fronting like a park jammer on tracks like “Fish Paste” or “In Your Face”, I feel a little sorry for him, like all this validation has just taken him away from what was seemingly Die Antwoord’s original direction. Ninja and Yo-landi are loved the world over for the surface and aggression of their image; but Die Antwoord’s real power and genius lies in it’s pushing the boundaries between social commentary and profanity, their sense of humour and cunning intelligence when dealing with tough issues like the meaning of racial identity and sexual alienation. When they get primal, Neanderthal and angry; when they say “So what, this is all I got, so what, fuck you, I’ll make it fancy” then they are speaking for the disenfranchised everyman on many levels, capturing the source of frustration and poesklapping it into the void. When he’s the angry CAPS LOCK on the diss tracks and Facebook; I see him marching toward a lonely, wealthy Michael Jackson-like future and I just want to say, Ninja, come on, you’re better than that.

*Images © Andy Davis.

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RESPONSES (67)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Um…Super Evil is Sibot’s n the keyboardist from a band out of Reunion called Zong’s beat…they came up with the track, not Markus or Spoek…

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  2. Banned from Die Antwoord Facebook Group says:

    because I told Ninja to Go & Fuck Himself.

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  3. g says:

    yawn…

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  4. Based God says:

    bitches suck my dick cause i look like J.K Rowling.

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  5. James Bondage says:

    This one time I wrote, “I’d rather shove barbed wire up my urethra than go to a Max Normal.TV show”, on a friends wall.

    An hour later, the Max Normal.TV status was “[James Bondage’s Real Name] se ma se poes, I’ll barbed wire your poes” or something to that extent.

    True to internet threats, he did, and now I can ejaculate and urinate at the same time. It is awesome.

    Give me Constructus and Songs from the Mall. And a double headed cork.

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  6. TRC says:

    One of their notes from Facebook.

    NINJA, YO-LANDI and DJ HI-TEK started building Die Antwoord 5 years ago all on our own with a pc computer, some funky rap lyrics and a futuristik zef vision.We set fire to the South African underground in 2008 when people started hearing our spif new zef sound on the interweb.Even though though the big South African music festivals were too scared to book us, every single fokken car parked in the camping site at these festivals was always pumping Die Antwoord tjoons fucked up loud.Through our new zef music we also started making friends with some real soldiers who have stood by us through thick and thin like Zef Master Grif, the Wedding DJ’s, DJ Solarize and WANGA.

    We also started working closely with some fuckin talented photographers / cinematographers like Roger Ballen and Rob Malpage who helped us manifest a visual identity for Die Antwoord that was as strong as our music.All the music videos, short-films and photographic imagery we were creating was based directly on a full-length feature film we had been working on called THE ANSWER which is the story of how DIE ANTWOORD began.During this time we also met a kid called Sean Meterlekamp who took some photos of Die Antwoord.We became very good friends with Sean and let him into our inner sanctuary that not many people get access too.We also started telling Sean about a feature film we had been working on for the last 3 years called THE ANSWER.

    Over the period of about a year or so we let Sean take photographs of Die Antwoord’s zef style we were developing.We also gave Sean access to all our secret locations like the ZEF SIDE and DRAGON’S LAIR which was going to be the backdrop to our film.Sean became obsessed with our ideas for the film and asked if he could shoot a short video clip from our film to use for his portfolio.We were a little nervous about this at first but finally agreed to let Sean film us on the conditions that NINJA would have final cut on the short-film and would co-direct the film with Sean.Ninja told Sean he doesn’t need to be credited for this, because Sean was using the piece to show-case himself.However we needed a very clear understanding from Sean at this point that we were the guardians of this world he was about to present with us.

    NINJA, YO-LANDI came up with the name ZEF SIDE and the idea for the video clip which was based directly on the feature film THE ANSWER we were working on. We had recorded the BEAT BOY song 3 years before this. This song was very special to us as it was Die Antwoord’s 1st song ever that our whole world poured out of.Sean organized some camera and lighting equipment.We all edited the ZEF SIDE video together with a friend called Haezer till it was nice and tight.We then put ZEF SIDE and ENTER THE NINJA onto DieAntwoord.com along with our raw $O$ album.

    When Die Antwoord started getting a lot attention in February 2010, some of our friends were fokken proud of us and continued to stand by our side.However Sean started acting fucking weird.When magazines from all around the world started asking for photographs of DIe Antwoord we asked Sean for hi-rez versions of the images we had created together so we could pump them out. These weren’t just ordinary photographs.These were over a years worth of super intimate art work that we had put everything on the line for to create.To our fokken amazement, Sean said, “No you can’t have them.”

    Sean then told us the small time advertising agency he had recently signed to (after he took all these photos) said if anyone needs these photos of Die Antwoord, they had to contact them directly. They told Sean that they need all these new contacts that were sitting in Die Antwoord’s inbox.This totally fokken freaked us out and we told Sean we have nothing to do with his new fokken advertising agency, but Sean just shrugged his shoulders and said he doesn’t know what to do .

    We then found out from other people that the owner of this small time advertising agency was this old evil bitch with a long history of bad news behind her.Sean’s boss then started announcing to the press that ‘Sean Meterlemp is The Answer’ and that Sean ‘created’ this band.

    We knew this wasn’t Sean speaking when we heard these mental rumors. So we met with Sean in private and asked him nicely to sort this chick out and only deal directly with us like we had been doing up to this point.Sean told us that his boss is a bit psycho and that he is bound by the contract he signed and that there’s not much he can do about her lies to the press.At this point, we decided to just let it all be and not make a big scene.We were kind of let down that Sean didn’t have enough of a spine to stick up for his ‘friends’ but we also thought, “Fokkit, let’s just carry on making new shit…whatever.”

    However when we heard last night that Sean’s boss had told the Guggenheim museum that her new up and coming director was the mastermind behind DIE ANTWOORD we kind of lost it.Sometimes enough is enough.

    With all this said, Sean is fuckin talented and a sweetheart, but in life it’s good to keep it real, tell the truth, and stick up for your friends.

    This is why we say, “A fake friend is worse than a wild animal because wild animal can harm your body but a fake friend can harm your mind.”

    And that’s why we also say “Love all but trust no-one.”

    There you have it.
    Straight from the horses piel.

    Love from NINJA, YO-LANDI and DJ HI-TEK.

    Once.
    Onto the next.

    Fokkit.

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  7. BM says:

    the mahala rimjob continues…

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  8. The JZA says:

    Roger, this is awesome and true.

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  9. alexd says:

    You sure can hammer together a winning phrase, Roger. Fierce vocab.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Paranoia is a beeyatch!

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  11. Shaun Dewberry says:

    Hey Roger,
    Congrats on a good balanced review.
    Pretty insightful and pleasant reading.

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  12. George Bacon and eggs. says:

    c);{D-I-<

    (look everyone a winking cowboy with mustache!)

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  13. George Bacon and eggs. says:

    c);{D-I-<

    (look everyone, a winking cowboy with mustache!)

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  14. WordWallah says:

    “With this in mind it now falls to me to dissect the new pimped out version of $O$ in order to raise our hit count and leech some more traffic off of Die Antwoord.”

    Love it.

    Going as Yo-Landi for Halloween tomorrow.

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  15. jolene* says:

    I used to use his hook for my personal mantra, and still have a lot of respect for the man (and lady)’s artistry and uncompromising vision, but I have a secret hope that he’s built a big explosive self-annihilating timebomb into Die Antwoord, because, well, it’s fokkin’ zef.

    (*jolene is my trailerpark name…)

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  16. c'mon says:

    ‘but Die Antwoord’s real power and genius lies in it’s pushing the boundaries between social commentary and profanity’…seriously Roger, maybe you should stop reinstating boundaries that were smashed decades ago, stop kissing ass (whilst trying to show you have an independent opinion) and listen to some good music for once.

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  17. JM Koet$ee says:

    Jassus, I envy the pyromaniacal way in which Mr. Jones can burn bridges. It’s an extravaganza.

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  18. Marc says:

    It’s great what they’re doing. Makes me truly proud and all that…but I just can’t listen to it anymore. Similar to a comedy CD – It’s funny the first time and then funny again when you play it for your friend and m a y b e again the third time when you play it for someone else.

    I need to see the live show.

    ‘cuntish’ What a word!

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  19. Chev Chelios says:

    Die Antwoord sucks. So did Constructus. Actually, everything after Songs from the Mall was a self-indulgent Waddy-wank. And that’s the fuckin’ WAARHEID.

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  20. A pedant says says:

    Can someone please PLEASE learn to tell the difference between its and it’s, PLEASE, I beg of you. Can’t take your writing seriously when you can’t do grade school punctuation.

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  21. Roger Young says:

    Sorry pedant that be thats the sub-editors job.

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  22. Shariff Ohmallabat says:

    Jealousyyyy makes you niiiiiiiiiice tea
    IN YOUR FACE !!!!!

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  23. Don Dada says:

    i love the way they lie about when Die Antwoord was created, that shit is not 5 yrs old, when i was busy recording MaxNormal.tv with them DA was just a movie concept that he had, he used to write down all my slang when i spoke and used to call me up asking what does ‘so ‘n so’ mean and can he use it in a rap and will it sound cool – shit was funny till he went all fake pollsmoor – on the Flats we don’t fuck with that shit cause it will get you killed, if it was cool all the rappers from the Kaap would of been representing that shit for YEARS, but it’s not! it’s kak serious and fucking dangerous, i warned him and told him i want nothing to do with that vibe as i have a family and actually live in the hood, not the CBD. Then i was sommer not cool anymore and was told ( in a nice way i must add) that they love me and and thanks for the lekker time – hey i must admit i had a blast with MNTV and was always paid on time, but don’t try and rewrite your history Watkin – it’s gonna come back and hurt you, as a yoga kop i thought you would understand the karmic repercussions of your recent actions, and nobody likes a naaibol, keep it for the stage and try and be nice once in a while – you will get much further in life, ek sal jou check oppie lang pad in ‘n kort broek – Neon Don.

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  24. Don Dada says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QcYxqvWCgg

    Total F**K – UP!
    here’s proof – we wrote this track like a movie script, had lots of fun running around the city in character for a couple of hours

    once!
    Duppie

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  25. Sweetibab says:

    Well done for writing a really insightful and critical piece, Roger Young. Critical engagement is really important for the process and longevity of exporting South African ‘cultural products’.

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  26. Carol Reed says:

    @sweetibab

    Are you being sarcastic? I hope so.

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  27. The JZA says:

    Neon Don, tell it bra.

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  28. Sara says:

    Is it really necessary to describe each song in such detail in an age where we can listen to the things off the web in a matter of minutes? Boring and verbose writing do not a review make. keep it snappy, this is the online age

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  29. GOW says:

    By far the best I’ve read on Mahala. Now please extend this to visual art.

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  30. Roger Young says:

    Well, most of my descriptions contain either breakdowns of the meanings that can be inferred from the lyrics or references to where the sounds or idea’s come from. Seeing as this is a piece about influence, collaboration and the ownership of cross pollinated ideas as well as about what ideas contained in the album are meaningful and what are just boastful, they are slightly relevant.

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  31. Fellow journalist says:

    It really is amazing how critics in South Africa only know “what they are talking about” as long as they write positive reviews. The public and band fans need to get with the fucking program and stop being blinded by their subjective horniness for their friends’ music projects. This is the reason why I’ve stopped covering local music years ago, and instead rather focus my writing towards covering art disciplines with emotionally mature audiences. Roger, I salute you.

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  32. Moose says:

    Great article. Sums up what I live an loathe about DA. More please.

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  33. gonzo nowhere says:

    I think i remember the opening of a Jones installation when he kept everyone waiting outiside for an hour … and then the first piece they were confronted with was the message “asshole” Ring any bells?

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  34. Fallow Journalist says:

    Duppie’s bit in that Max Normal TV song is GREAT 8|

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  35. watkin se moer. says:

    watkin (to his mother), that’s ninja (to his recent fans), has the unenviable reputation of having bunt bridges, pissed off, ripped off, back-stabbed or bad mouthed every person he has ever worked with in his paranoid and relentless drive to become bigger than steve hofmeyer. ask every musician, rapper, dj, manager, producer, photographer, video maker, promoter and record label he has worked with from the days of the original evergreen, through max normal / constructus corp / max normal.tv, all the way to die antwoord and they’ll are agree: waddy is a genius. but also just a good old fashioned self-serving doos. take the fame and fortune mr jones, it’s a very poor exchange for the fact everybody who’s had an opportunity to get to know you, work with you and be burnt by you, knows you’re a fake and hates your guts. wake up and smell the moer coffee.

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  36. zephyr says:

    here’s a fun (but true) story:
    press release says: “DIE ANTWOORD enters UK Top 40, signs to Rhythm Records for SA release and once-off JHB show on 2 Oct”
    journalist sez: ” I would like to review the new Die Antwoord CD for our magazine!”
    Press agent replies: “Die Antwoord has supplied us with a short list of publications and media they would prefer us not to liase with on their behalf, and is on that list, so unfortunately I wont be sending a sample to you for that purpose… It really is nothing personal from our side – thanks for understanding!”

    Artists censoring the media?..now wot duz that tell you about the state of affairs in p-p-p-Paranoia?

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  37. Andy says:

    Hey Zephyr that reads a lot like an email we received when we asked for a copy of $O$ to review. I paid and downloaded for our “review copy” from the Rhythm website. True story

    Waddy 1 Mahala 0

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  38. will says:

    this o sounds like a real dick. What a kak advert for south african music. Why should any of us support such a wanker? There is a shitload of good music out there. Fuck you mr jones. Great article by the way.

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  39. zephyr says:

    Aah, that’s Waddy Jones for ya – Mr. Self-Destruct.
    Our publication however wouldn’t waste the cost / bandwidth/ column space, we simply move on, giving the space to other SA acts who, unlike DA, need the exposure (good or bad.)

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  40. filipa says:

    its all fun and games till someone gets famous

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  41. die antwoord die says:

    waddy is a major cock. we all know this. da suks total balls. we all know this. here is a review posted today from the godfathers of music review which should be read by everybody who appreciates good music made by real people:

    http://www.nme.com/reviews/die-antwoord/11684

    out.

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  42. tah rooth says:

    The NME got it right…
    http://www.nme.com/reviews/die-antwoord/11684

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  43. Oh yeah... says:

    ‘I know who I am. I’m a dude, disguised as a dude, playing another dude!’

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  44. Don Dada says:

    Album Review: Die Antwoord -$O$ (Polydor)

    One album in and this Afrikaaner hip-hop joke is already past its sell-by date

    * October 29, 2010 | 0 Comments
    * Buy Die Antwoord Music from Amazon UK
    * Die Antwoord news RSS feed
    * More Die Antwoord news, reviews, videos and tour dates

    *
    *
    *

    OK, let’s knock this on the head now. At first, for half a crack-addict’s heartbeat, it was kind of intriguing. Vanilla Ice’s gold-toothed gypsy thief half-brother, a square fringed boy-girl sidekick thing with a chipmunk voice, some other guy and a video featuring a DJ with progeria (the genetic condition which makes its young sufferers look like they’re in old age) pedalling a new Afrikaans genre called Zef. Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and other dude tickled the zeitgeist’s fancy for three days in September 2009.

    But then it carried on. And on. And 12 months later, we woke up to Radio 1’s terminally unfunny bladder Comedy Dave singing along to ‘Enter The Ninja’, Katy Perry tweeting the track’s lyrics and Poly-fucking-dor reissuing an album the band already gave away for free. Which would be fine if Die Antwoord had the goods to back it up, but like Fischerspooner and ultimately The Darkness before them, their shit fell off the back of a lorry with a bump.

    ‘$o$’ sounds like the most half-baked efforts of Hadouken!, LMFAO and Eugene Hutz and is peppered with needless nursery rhymes, aimless ‘fucks’ and in the case of tracks like ‘Fish Paste’ would sound half-arsed back in ’94. Lyrically, meanwhile, it’s all drunk 14-year-olds-style abuse and fronting.

    It’s not all bad. The silence between the final track and the hidden track is the most welcome silence you’ve ever not heard. And actually that instrumental hidden track is OK, as is the pared-down rave-hop ‘Rich Bitch’ and ‘Evil Boy’, a kind of synthy fanfare rap hybrid produced by Diplo.

    A common theme across the album is that any haters are jealous (check ‘In Your Face’’s opening couplet’s rumination: “Jealous-eee makes you nasteee/In your face, in your face”). Fine. Colour me green, but please put this band down now.

    Tim Chester

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  45. Roger Young says:

    Jesus guys, why so much hate, Ninja be a prick but the beats are fucking sick on this album. And the best parts of the flow are the bits that people who don’t live here won’t get. All the “overseas” is interested in is the train smash of the performance not the substance of the music.

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  46. Jack Parrow! says:

    JP is 10000000000 times better that Die Antwoord.

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  47. sd3000 says:

    @die antwoord die
    It’s an opinion – everyone has one – the BBC seems to disagree with NME – fair to say people either love it or hate it.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/dx4z

    Confrontational South African trio strut the thin line between madness and genius.

    “Is this Die Antwoord terrible, like the worst thing ever, or the most amazing thing in the entire universe?” That is the rhetorical question posed on the press release for this debut Die Antwoord long-player by the group’s snarling MC and figurehead, Ninja (or Watkin Tudor Jones as his mum knows him). Inevitably, perhaps, the answer lies somewhere in between; but that $O$ struts the thin line between madness and genius, or more accurately between provocative wilfulness and striking innovation, is indubitable.
    A confrontational rap-rave trio, hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, Die Antwoord (‘the answer’ in their native brogue) have already sent out considerable frissons courtesy of their skin colour (there apparently being something inherently befuddling, if not politically perplexing, about the notion of white Afrikaans hip hop) and the unconstrained vigour of their music’s mashed-up aesthetic which had already made them a serious internet wow before Universal/Interscope signed them up earlier this year. Soaked in the ‘Zef’ music (chavvy, synth heavy ringtone rap, essentially) of the gangster-ridden Cape Flats district, Die Antwoord’s sound is no African township jolly but, rather, an uncompromising urban, international melange – imagine a grimier, saucier M.I.A.
    Built on DJ Hi-Tek’s inventive beats and riven with Ninja’s bruising raps and mic partner Yo-Landi’s helium-voiced, curiously ‘girly’ choruses (“Jealousy makes you nasty” goes the feisty refrain of In Your Face; “I’m a mother-f***ing rich b****” goes the rather brusquer, hilariously accented Rich B**** – unsurprisingly the album comes with an explicit content ‘parental advisory’ sticker), it’s a cartoonish smorgasbord that somehow coheres. Ninja’s pins and needles Afrikaans, meanwhile, remains as rhythmically impressive as it is impenetrable.
    That opaque quality doesn’t stop the most convincing cuts, like Wat Kyk Jy? (a barroom threat, along the lines of ‘what are you looking at?’ apparently) – all skewed house beats, Darth Vader vocoders and machine gun rhymes – from drilling into the cerebellum, while the coquettish, Yo-Landi-helmed choruses of $copie and Beat Boy (the latter’s rap alluding to such outré activities as ejaculating, gulp, into a champagne glass) evince a sensual, almost oriental pop sensibility lurking beneath the slanted hip hop belligerence.

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  48. sd3000 says:

    And Duppie, it sounds like Ninja went where you weren’t prepared to go and now he’s reaping the reward for it. Dit sit nie in enigeiemand se broek nie.

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  49. JM Koet$ee says:

    Ugh, was does Mahala now feel previously exploited by Die Antwoord?

    Dada: “he used to write down all my slang when i spoke and used to call me up asking what does ‘so ‘n so’ mean and can he use it in a rap and will it sound cool”

    Mmm, doesn’t sound like someone ‘discovering his inner coloured’. Sounds like a marketeer doing research. Did someone say cultural appropriation? I thought so…

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  50. David says:

    Sonoma State Star > Arts & Entertainment

    Die Antwoord provides rare originality
    By Lacie Schwarz

    Published: Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Courtesy // vancouver.concertaddicts.ca
    Although Die Antwoord may not be for everyone, they provide a break from the usual mainstream pattern.
    Chances are that you’re either going to absolutely love this album, or you’re quite frankly not going to understand what the band is trying to do at all. I fall into the first category. “$O$,” the first full length album produced by Die Antwoord delivers with hard hitting beats that invite a lot of body movement and un-paralleled originality.
    The band consisting of Dj Hi-Tek , and boyfriend/girlfriend duo Yo-Landi Visser and Ninja doesn’t have a genre that they can categorically fit into, they seem to be creating a new genre all of their own. The band, whose main members resemble Brittany Murphy’s character from the movie “Spun,” only rocking a super legit mullet, and Ninja, who looks like Vanilla Ice’s un-kempt half-brother probably isn’t the easiest band to market. The band’s look and sound could come off appearing both wildly-odd and bordering on gimmicky if the listener isn’t familiar with a little of their history. They’re South African rappers, who coined the term, “Zef” to describe the sound they’ve arrived at. It is a culmination of many different sounds and cultures and roughly translated, “Zef” means South African white-trash hip/hop.
    The band hit stardom online before they signed to their current label. Some of their songs like “Beat Boy” and “Enter the Ninja” had over 20 million views combined before they even released their first CD. Their self-proclaimed “next-level” beats and hard to fully understand lingo lends to the originality that just completely envelops every aspect of “$O$.”
    The song, “Enter the Ninja” mixes Yo-Landi’s dramatically-sweet voice with Ninja’s fast paced yet heartfelt lyrics. He pulls from early 90s hip/hop roots, but channels emotions that reflect on how his style and his sound made him an outcast.
    Lyrics like, “Been cut so deep, feel no pain. It’s not sore” show that even though the band does come with pretty hard-core personas, they still maintain the ability to talk openly about actually feeling apart from the typical type of heartfelt music that only touches on relationships and breakups. It is like they’re not trying to fit into a category in order to gain fans, they’re just being Die Antwoord and not really worrying about who they’re impressing besides themselves.
    “Rich Bitch” catches Yo-Landi completely in her element. The beats sound like DJ Hi-Tek laced a video-game track with modern hip/hop beats then added a dance element making it nearly impossible to listen to the entire song while remaining in your seat.
    Yo-Landi details how, in her life, before finding solace in music that, “I was a victim of a dark situation” but doesn’t do so in a whiny or overly-dramatic manner. She describes how life used to consist of her counting change and not having much of a future, but transitioned to a whole new life style after music became a huge part of her everyday life. She comes off sounding a little bit vulnerable and confused as to how she defines herself. She claims to have made enough money to put her in the upper bracket pay-grade, but still claims, “fuck the upper-class,” like she still hasn’t come to terms with her status and refuses to end up like her main-stream hip/hop predecessors. Her soft, almost angelic face and voice and small stature don’t do justice to her in-your-face lyrics and demeanor.
    “Scopie,” is the song that most closely resembles what you may hear on modern radio. The lyrics appear to share a close relationship with something Beyonce or Lady Gaga may produce, but with an awesome Afrikaans accent. It is a song about a man wanting to get some play, and not having the easiest time getting anywhere with it. Yo-Landi’s line, ‘I got what you want boy and you’re never gonna get it” sounds a bit like American pop music, but the ridiculously dynamic sound they produce is un-matched by any group found in America. The content of the song is fairly dirty, but it’s fun and playful, so it doesn’t come off vulgar or off-putting.
    Die Antwoord found their niche in pop culture by utilizing Youtube. This tactical strategy made their songs widely popular amongst fans in every continent. “Beat Boy’ is arguably the song that captured their large and unsuspecting audience. The song had over 11 million views before “$O$” ever hit the market. It captures and perfectly displays the dynamic the three members have created in just the few short years that they’ve been a cohesive group. It’s the sexiest of the songs and combines enough genres to rightfully give the band a style of music to call their own. The electronic beats combined with a 90s pop style bordering on having “Macarena” style tendencies blends perfectly with the old-school American hip/hop that’s employed throughout the entire song.
    If there’s one song not to miss it’s, “Doo Dronk,” or roughly translated, “Get Wasted.” It reads like Scottish drinking music, taking place in a bar packed with angry, drunk people who just want to let off a little steam. In combination, the accordion, lo-fi production of the song, thick accents and hostile disposition probably won’t create a sound that will find itself on the top of the best sellers list.
    It may not be for everyone, but it is perfectly suitable for an audience that finds itself continuously disappointed by the direction of popular music.
    Very seldom does a new band arrive at a cohesive and completely original sound like Die Antwoord manages to do with “$O$.” Though the album may never reach chart topping status, it does have the potential to be an outlet for fans whose cries for actual originality have not been heard until now.

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  51. die cuntwoord says:

    @neon don
    I feel you man. As a ‘collaborator’ of waddy’s too, it is perplexing to get my head around the more esoteric rationale I.e ‘why would /God allow such a poes to go large’.
    And I see this sentiment echoed and growing as da’s status grows.

    I have a few comments that might help put things in perspective. And lessen the feeling of being cheated.

    Waddy, despite fame, still needs to live with himself. Infact moreso as the fame will no doubt magnify his false personality and skewed moral compass.

    Die Antwoord is a musical fail. Any musician such as yourself knows that on a deep level – there is no soul in the realm DA operates in now. Think.. Justin Beber – or the pussy cat dolls. True soul can never be bought or replicated.

    Friends – no one can replace true friends. When waddy comes back to SA or even as he tours the globe he is surrounded by false friends. Sinister.

    Time. Firstly in terms of the bridges he will burn at the level he works at now and in the pop realm DA inhabit. Time is a killer for this genre. True musicians that deserve praise are timeless and not always in fact hardly ever arise from popular culture.

    Focus on your art. Be the best you can be and this already elevates you to a place waddy wishes he could be. A place of substance, genuine depth and above all true artistic creativity. Something waddy has never had but has always looked to people like you to steal from. And continues to do so now.

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  52. David says:

    Die Cuntwoord – are you too scared to use your real name? Especially seeing that you also collaborated with Waddy? Who are you?

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  53. Khalil says:

    Amazing. When shitty rap lyrics come from art school students, ‘rich bitch’ is some form of social satire. Yet, if it was rapped by nicki minaj I bet this review would not even exist. I think this review is a testimony to the lack of substance or intrinsic value in all that we call art today.

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  54. sd3000 says:

    @Khalil WTF? That’s like saying Andy Warhol couldn’t paint or William Burroughs couldn’t write.

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  55. Roger Young says:

    @Khalil

    In art context is important. If the lyric “Rich Bitch” was indeed rapped by Nicki Minaj, you are correct, this review would not exist. If, however, Nicki Minaj rapped “I’m a Rich Bitch, a MOTHER FUCKING RICH BITCH, I do my own thing, when the phone rings, etc” in an Afrikaans accent with a rat on her shoulder while some emaciated fucker bounces around in the background flipping the bird to the camera, then this review would exist x10000000

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  56. Khalil says:

    While I would normally not reply to any of this, as I consider it a waste of time, I think that the replies given to my post have inspired further and deeper discussion into the phenomena of post modern art.

    You tell me that in art context is important, something that is surely true. Indeed, the gestalt of art can be much more than music, you can consider Die Antwoord performance art and one would have to look at the entire thing to come up with these reviews about their work… but it makes me think, are you really talking about context, or are you talking about the artist? Where am I going with this? Recently Kanye West made a 38 minute video that is a lot weirder and more referential and, by appearances, symbolic than anything ever done by Die Antwoord. Yet, no one is building ten page essays on it because due to Kanye’s trajectory as an artist we acknowledge that maybe these things aren’t exactly symbolic, ironic, or ‘contextual’ but that they are merely purely aesthetic and ultimately don’t mean shit, at least not as much as they’d appear to mean had they been made by someone else. Yet, Die Antwoord produces a video with a bunch of penises, scribbled walls, rat suits, and other things that aren’t exactly related to their whole ‘Zef Culture’ act (and those that want to argue that there is a thematic relationship in it all, please, come to someone else with that BS. Evil Boy might feature a castration rap and the monsters might represent pieces of african folklore, but hop up in the club in my underpants and typical egotistic rap along with see you later masturbator have little to do with it all). Here we get into something, and it’s the weird and referential, innately pretentious, nature of post modern art and what really makes you write this review, which is very far from context. You don’t write a review like this when Lady Gaga shows up in a leather nun or nazi outfit, you don’t write it when any rapper comes up with some mildly weird highly referential shit, you write it when Die Antwoord does it. Why? Die Antwoord were art students, they were made famous by the blogosphere, and they’ve been related to a circle of people that due to very clear prejudices we consider smarter and it pushes us to treat anything they do as art, no matter how ridiculous. You write this not about art, but as a competitor in the art critic market practicing intellectual masturbation around their latest fascination.

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  57. Khalil says:

    To the other person that commented, writing is a more sensible subject. We’d have to go on for hours in order to decipher the value of writing since writing has never been a purely aesthetic opinion, there has always been a prevalence in the importance of subject, even so more than form, that makes criticizing writing a lot more difficult. Plainly, there’s no way of valuing works of writing in a way that transcends the time or place in which they were done.

    Concerning Andy Warhol, there’s certainly nothing telling us that Andy Warhol could paint. And for all it concerns, Andy Warhol could not paint, the fact that we pay so much for workers that were easily replicated by his workers at the factory could simply tell us that. What Andy Warhol did was sell an image, an image of himself and his generation, and under that image make millions of his mediocre art, and he did it well. Andy Warhol represents this well because he’s the true father of this branch of post modern art, he marketed himself as a quirky individual and got people to pay for soup cans to distinguish themselves from others as cool metropolitan types. Hip consumerism and this type of competing for art interpretation spotlight/celebrity trivia journalism start with Warhol, Die Antwoord are just late grandchildren.

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  58. sd3000 says:

    whateva man

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  59. Roger Young says:

    @Khalil

    I write about Die Antwoord because my field is South African music, film and culture. And as music they’re pretty damn good. Also, they’re pop music and fucking popular so even if their level of discourse is quite basic, the fact that they’re getting it out and into the collective consciousness is pretty fucking relevant. You have to realise the basic level of discussion their audience is used to in order to understand why this is relevant. But seeing as you spend all your time reading art theory text books and not in public you wouldn’t know this.

    The Kanye video is the scariest and most intriguing thing I’ve seen in a long time but, like I said, not my field.

    and Gaga? There are other people doing a far better job than I ever could of dissecting her. And you know, not my field.

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  60. bad man says:

    A word to the sheep – Get off watkins dick before it too late –

    http://www.dieantwoordzeflings.com/

    http://twitter.com/maryannehobbs/status/21196717371

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  61. Andy says:

    Bad Man – wa ha ha! Watkin’s mask is slipping. It could all be over before christmas. He’s blowing it big time…

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  62. Kropotkin says:

    Sounds like we the audience are having as hard a time separating Waddy from the music as he is finding center. Blunt does that. Still, I love the album.

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  63. Anonymous says:

    dis net julle kaapstad naiers wat rush op die kak praat na die jol

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  64. Doug says:

    I discovered Die Antwoord about the time this review was written, but just found this review today.

    Regardless of people’s opinions (I tend to agree with Khalil), I find it disappointing to see past collaborators speaking out against the group, particularly Neon Don. Don: I’m a fan of yours. But I never would have heard of you, or any the other artists from South Africa that I now love, were it not for finding Die Antwoord first and exploring their works backward. Regardless of your personal feelings, it’s sad to see you publicly spit on the man that led me to you.

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  65. some more noise says:

    I, like Doug, am finding many interests through backwards exploring Die Antwoord. Despite his cuntish behaviors, ripping off people like Jane Alexander and it seems countless musical collaborators and culture makers, he is drawing in attention that can bring positive things. The hate does no good. Die Antwoord is bringing a lot of attention to South Africa and it’s culture. What will people find when they look into it that is worth attention. Ninja may be a dick and despite not meaning to he is giving everyone that’s been around him a chance to be heard.

    Also Khalil’s knowledge of Andy Warhol is severely lacking. Warhol was a successful illustrator before he was known as an artist. He could paint and there’s a lot of evidence proving that. There are some connections to Die Antwoord and there are also connections to artists far earlier than Warhol. There’s a lot to learn there and it is really interesting, but Khalil put his ego before the research and prematurely ejaculated with his own intellectual masturbation.

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  66. Karry says:

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