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BEST OF 2014 | DOOKOOM FURORE

by Rob Cockcroft / 02.01.2015

Originally published on 16 October 2014

As you probably know, Dookoom (fronted by Cape Flats rapper Isaac Mutant) is in the eye of the shitstorm right after their controversial video for ‘Larney Jou Poes’ was published on the City Press’ site this Sunday, along with some considerable column space in their newspaper edition. The song and video has attracted a lot of comment and criticism from fans, academics, haters and racists. We got together with Isaac Mutant and producer Human Waste on a gloomy Sunday in Cape Town to find out more about the song and their take on the furore surrounding it.

Rob Cockcroft: You’ve said before that you’re not a political band/rapper, I guess most people would think of you as a ‘gangsta rapper’. What urged you to write this song?

Isaac Mutant: Those people that think I’m a gangsta rapper or think I’m this rapper, man, whatever you wanna call it, julle’s jas, julle almal is jas, fuck you. I write about topics that touches me, you check, that fucks with me. So to get back to your question about the larney jou punani track, it’s too big of an issue not to touch on it. You know me, my bru, I had to fuck with somebody and incidentally that issue is fucking there and it’s a white elephant and nobody wants to talk about the white elephant in the room. And I have family from one of those rural areas, from Vredendal. I never farmed personally. I’m too lazy to farm, fuck that, but I have friends in Ashton, Robertson, all these places. Especially in Paarl, as well, there’s quite a bit of people I know that’s actually been working on farms. And just chilling with these brasse it’s fucking infuriating, bra. The kak that these bras go through and it’s 2014. So how can an issue like that still exist? It’s a relevant thing and nobody wants to touch on it. Fuck everybody, I’m gonna touch on it.

Why did you write about it from a farm worker’s point of view rather than from your own experience of authority coming from the Cape Flats?

Isaac Mutant: It’s probably because of my way of writing. I always try to appeal to the universal because we’re not all in the same situation so I try to universalise the topic, you know. It became more of a larney type of thing, more larney as opposed to just the farm worker thing. Anybody that’s treating his people kak, any rich person that’s treating his people kak and benefits off that, that’s basically what this track is about.

It seems like there’s a drive from Dookoom to start gaining some international attention with this single and the upcoming EP. So why would you choose this track which could lead you to be put into that political band/rapper bracket like Death Grips when that’s not what you’re really about?

Isaac Mutant: ‘Cos it’s a strong one, man. And these people are not going to get help in this country. The whole world must fucking take note of this problem. There’s a problem happening here and it’s being swept under the fucking mat, like everything in South Africa does.

FINGER

Did you ever think academics would be dissecting an Isaac Mutant track?

Isaac Mutant: Ja, I’ve always known that. I just didn’t think it would be this track. I know how much skills I got. I got a few skills up my sleeves. This is not the first time, though. Antjie Krog – a few of my tracks as well – I performed for one of her gigs, years ago. So I knew Antjie fucking Krog had the fucking authority on Afrikaans, if she takes notice of something then it must be special.

So you didn’t have any inkling that when you put out this track that it would be this controversial?

Isaac Mutant: Uh-uh, if this is that controversial then how closed-minded is our society, bru? This is an issue that’s there. I didn’t create it. I’m just reporting or whatever. I was kinda stunned by that.

So what’s your take on all the backlash already? Seeing as it’s a Sunday and it’s just dropped.

Isaac Mutant: That’s kind of a gauge of how sensitive this issue is, this topic is, it’s kind of nogal kak sensitive. And, like you said, its only Sunday, bra, and it’s already like this. And it’s cool. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, you know, and that’s kind of what I wanted – movement. Some kind of dialogue is actually the point of this whole fucking thing.

When I first watched the video, the first thought I had was ‘Oh shit. This may actually be banned.’

Human Waste: There’s still a chance it might get banned. We got an email from Afriforum asking us to take it down or they would take action. They are claiming it’s ‘hate speech’ and ‘incitement to violence’. Obviously we disagree. We’re artists expressing anger at social injustice. I guess the lawyers will work it out.

Isaac Mutant: I don’t think so. Look, the video is now beyond Dookoom, you check. It won’t be banned. That’s like throwing fuel on the fire. That’s like making it more popular. I don’t think it will be banned. With the internet there’s always gonna be a leak somewhere, but it also depends on banned from what?

I suppose in the way Julius Malema was ordered to stop singing Dubul’ Ibhunu (Shoot The Boer) in public anymore.

Human Waste: Legal action would only get the song, the video and the message more attention. I welcome it.
To people who want it banned, I would say, try to understand that the point of the video is to express our anger at social injustice. We don’t hate white people or farmers. We don’t want to burn down farms or kill farmers. We just want to remind people of their humanity – there’s people working for R65 a day. How you gonna live off that and support your family? People are angry. It can’t go on.

fight

You haven’t had the launch of ‘Larney Jou Poes’, yet your music video debuted on the City Press today (Sunday) and already there are threats of legal action from Afriforum. Why did you agree to send it to them beforehand, ‘cos you can kind of predict their reaction, if not to stir controversy? What would you say to those who’re calling it a Die Antwoord-esque marketing tactic to create hype around the album release?

Human Waste: We’re not sure exactly how Afriforum got hold of it. City Press sent it out to a few people to get their opinion for the article. Some outraged citizen probably passed it on to them.

People keep talking about ‘cheap’ shock tactics. I’m assuming that’s what you mean by ‘Die Antwoord-esque marketing tactics’. I don’t really get the point. We made this song. We’re promoting it. All musicians do that. We just happen to have a heavy track with an amazing video about a serious topical issue. The media are interested because it’s a zeitgeisty type scenario – farm workers are pissed off. Advertisers are always creating hype about products and services – that’s their job. Our job as artists is to create music that gets heard. That’s what we’re trying to do.

This is the first single off your forthcoming EP, A Gangster Called Big Times. Can you let us in on some of the other themes and topics you explore on the album?

Human Waste: Themes? Yeah. Addiction, anger, frustration, life, death – universal shit. Human shit. Emotions and shit.
I don’t see anything we’ve done as controversial, but I guess everyone has different ideas of what that word mean. It’s controversial to me that farm workers only get R65 a day. To some people it’s controversial to be angry about that fact.
Isaac had a dream about a gangster called Big Times. It was very portentous and seemed appropriate.

Care to respond to these Youtube comments?

Youtube Comment 1

Human Waste: I guess Facepalm486 is saying that farm workers are expendable and that they are lucky to have any kind of job, even a horribly paid one. That seems like a cruel and brutal way to look at society. I guess this person doesn’t have a very good grip on the history of apartheid and the continuing effect it has on black people in South Africa. I would suggest that he or she should try and get in touch with their humanity.

youtube Comment 2

Human Waste: I like this comment. I don’t know what Zef means – it’s something to do with Die Antwoord, right? Shout out to Ninja. I don’t smoke pot.

Isaac Mutant: That’s what a pothead would say. I’m coloured. Zef is white.

golf

Dookoom’s EP, A Gangster Called Big Times dropped on iTunes yesterday. Get it HERE.

*Lead image © Mads Norgaard

**Editorial images © Bryan Little

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RESPONSES (8)
  1. Zombolina says:

    Storm in a teacup really,look at the number of youtube views and the few ruffled bonehead feathers-hardly a furore for fucksakes. I have no problem with folks giving out about fat,lazy farmers or gunning of social justice but the song is pretty kak in terms of flow and production and very forgettable.

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  2. Somerfaan says:

    eish, so now it’s gloves off. these guys didn’t listen to anything Mandela said. burn down the farm? it takes almost 2 decades for the vineyards to establish, so destroying the only chance for work is really clever? also, the beats can’t compare to Death grips or Run the Jewels. this band is less authentic than the Antwoord

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  3. ma2ka says:

    I fuckin love it doods. Juslaaik makes me miss da cape all over again

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  4. BrasseVannieNCape says:

    For something that is “universalized”, to be representative of any type of situation where a person is being extorted by a rich person, it seems to be extremely specific on its intended attacking target and milieu in which it is applicable. Also lyrically and melodically unoriginal.
    Give it two weeks and the hype will have passed.

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  5. Isaac Mutant says:

    Ja it is extremely specific. From the title u would get the universalised point that jumps at u screaming “LARNEY!”.
    And then dai anne naies se ma se poes.

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  6. ma2ka says:

    Isaac Mutant – da 1 truly honest oke left on da block.
    #Nkandla Jacob Zuma had many farms
    Many farms had Jacob Zuma

    Da unoriginality is da whole point

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  7. Daager says:

    I dont think tv makes people violent so why should music. If dookoom genuinely care about these issues in our country great, but if they are using a very volatile ongoing issue to sell records, thats pretty cynical considering how many people have been murdered on our farms.

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  8. Walter says:

    Фредди Октябрь 6, 2012 8:19 м. В основном, I started waitchng Teen Wolf because of Sterek and also a little bit because of Derek himself. Obviously there isn’t that much Sterek in it so why haven’t I stopped waitchng? Simple as that, I fell in love with the characters. Teen Wolf is the first show I’ve ever watched without hating a character. I tried to figure out why and I came to think that maybe it’s because I can understand why the characters act the way they act, except for maybe Kate, I will never understand or like her. But the thing is, I can actually sort of relate to everybody and I can also feel sorry for everybody, no matter what they’ve done. I don’t like, for example, what Allison is doing in the last few episodes but I understand why she’s doing it and I can’t hate her for it. I understand what her father is and why and I understand his pain when he sees that things aren’t as simple as he’s always thought. Same applies to every other character in Teen Wolf. I just love how they all actually do have more or less understandable reasons for what they do and I love how you can basically choose if you want to like a character or not and if you want to feel sorry for them or not because the show only gives you this character the way he is and it doesn’t decide for you.

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