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Max Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

by Yusuf Laher / 17.12.2009

“Max! Max! play ‘Hazel’s Joint.’ Come on!” yelled some drunk guy in the front row. “Ons is na die toekoms,” replied Ninja with a look of calmly threatening intent in his eyes that said, simply, “Max doesn’t live here anymore, move on.” Still the guy persisted. Ninja came over to us. I pictured a swift decapitation with minimal disruption. “Listen, I’m not gonna do that song, okay?” he said. And that was that. He did play “Super Evil” though.

I don’t know if the rest of their crew’s given up on them or just couldn’t make the trip, but tonight, Die Antwoord were down to two. With a laptop and their regular video backdrop, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and Ninja turned The Zulu Jazz Lounge into lyrical Swiss cheese, unleashing their own twisted take on the Cape Flats and thug life with the usual mixture of high energy and satire.

Covered in homemade prison tattoos, with a mouth full of gold and venom, Ninja seemed unusually pissed off and hateful. Stalking the stage like a wild animal in the corner, he spat out lines like, “Fuck Sweat.X and every one of their tracks. Markus Wormstorm is short and fat. They think I’m crazy. They think I’m a alien. Love me or hate me I’ll be back.”

This time, Watkin Tudor Jones (aka Ninja) has taken his role playing/method acting to all new levels of extreme, literally wearing his parody on his body: from gold teeth and a Bafana Cuts hairdo, to tattooing “Pretty Wise” on his neck in blue prison ink. Some say he’s crazy. Some think he’s lost his mind. But one thing’s for sure: the dude’s committed. So’s his wife and sidekick Yo-Landi, who’s also had some dental work and homemade tattooing done.

Another thing that’s undeniable is Ninja’s stage presence. The guy’s a born entertainer: explosive, volatile and intense. Every time I’ve seen him perform, as Max Normal, MaxNormal.TV and now as Ninja/Die Antwoord, he’s been nothing short of captivating. From all out angry rap to soulful R&B croons and laid back trippy wordplay. As usual, tonight’s performance included the customary Stage Dive of Doom.

Die Antwoord

Perhaps Durban was not ready for the stage dive!

It’s a bummer that, essentially, Yo-Landi and Ninja were just rapping over backing tracks, but songs like “Rich Bitch,” “Enter the Ninja,” “Wat Kyk Jy?” and “Super Evil” still banged with the kind of fury and menace I’d hoped for. Just picture the following chorus sung over a 2 Unlimited, Mortal Kombat-sounding track with a demented Afrikaans Smurf on backup vocals:

Ninja: Wat Kyk Jy?
Yo-Landi: Poephol!
Ninja: Wat Kyk Jy?
Yo-Landi: Poes!
Ninja: Wat Kyk Jy?
Yo-Landi: Fok jou!
Ninja: Wat Kyk Jy?
Yo-Landi: Jou naai!

Who knows what’s next or where their ongoing evolution will take them, but for now, Die Antwoord are an explosive, controversial and in your face live act. And even as a duo, they definitely still pomp…

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