Die Antwoord is Nee (a death rap of a much loved SA music group)


Die Antwoord is one of those phenomena (yes I will admit that they are that big) that irritates my vibe. Why do you ask? Well the following facts set the background for this argument.

Die Antwoord (consisting of performers Ninja, Yolandi Visser and DJ Hi-Tek) became the first South African group to be invited to the absolutely massive (over 75 000) Coachella Music festival in Los Angeles, California which is an amazing thing… if you can overlook the fact that everybody from overseas now thinks that if you are South African you are Zef. Provided that this may just be down to ignorance and the inability of people from overseas to locate the Republic and realise that it isnt a jungle even after the World Cup, I am still concerned. So… what is so bad about being Zef???

Zef is a South African slang term that describes a unique South African style of living which is modern, extremely trashy and also includes way out-of-date cultural elements that should have stayed in the past.

Yolandi was quoted as saying, “It’s associated with people who soup their cars up and rock gold and shit. Zef is, you’re poor but you’re fancy. You’re poor but you’re sexy, you’ve got style.” – Thank goodness she’s got such a way with words (if she didnt have that undercut, she’d be quite tasty, I think, maybe).

I thought that their video Enter The Ninja, which was quite a lag when I first saw it, but after doing a little bit of digging and finding out a little bit more about their vibe I felt kinda cheated that these peeps were ones that were tasked with representing the South African brand globally. Now dont get me wrong- we dont exactly claim to be holier than thou around here at MyCityByNight but I like to think that we put forward an image that is still South African but far from trashy (most of the time). Die Antwoord’s fan page on Facebook and the 60 000+ members from all over the world along with the 3million other viewers of the Enter the Ninja video on Youtube clearly think they rock, but here’s more on why I disagree.

Their debut CD, $O$, will be released later this year by Interscope Records, the company which is responsible for, among others, Lady Gaga, U2, Sting, Eminem and the Black Eyed Peas and apart from having “rympies wat sal jou fokken kop skop”. (loosely translated as- rhymes that will kick your fucking head) Die Antwoord plans to make 5 albums in total along with a couple of films and feature films about the albums and band inbetween.

Now hear what I am saying, if you are like Jack Parow- a genuine dude who speaks the exact same way as he does when he spits the venom on his tunes and in his videos- thats awesome… Go forth and be you.

On the other hand if you are Die Antwoord’s lead vocalist Ninja (born Watkin Tudor Jones- yes thats fucking right, not very Zef) who was a part of the South African hip-hop scene for many years, fronting such acts as MaxNormal.TV who then decides to become a crude and rather vulgar chap (not the type you’d think would be nice to check in an alley when you’ve just withdrawn your daily limit from the ATM) its somewhat questionable. 

When asked in an interview whether Ninja was a character he said, “Ninja is, how can I say, like Superman is to Clark Kent. The only difference is, I don’t take off this fokken Superman suit.” – So what- he has now become the Ninja and embraced the Zef?!

I am all about entertainers who use personas to beef up the mystique and excitement around themselves (think Lady Gaga & Casper de Vries), but when you are famous for making music with good production, ok lyrics (Jou Ma se Poes in ‘n Fishpaste Jar springs to mind) and then go onto to make a series of films which are released globally, where you portray South Africans as being backward and a little bit country- I begin to question whether this really is the best thing musically that we have to offer to the world.

Granted I lagged at that Zef side video when there was a slow mo shot of Ninja’s swinging balls underneath Dark Side of the Moon boxers, I wont be rushing out to get their next album, or feature film, or foam sippy cup… But then again EMI Worldwide and Interscope Universal arent bidding for my soul hey Ninja?

Im a guy with a very particular view of life... im not quite sure what that view is just yet, but when I find out I'll be sure to let you know...

Comments 18

  1. suppose u gotta re-invent until you get something that works. all things considered, max normal, constructus n all the rest were utter shit.
    met a dude that went to school with wadkin tudor jones and he reckons he had a moment somewhere and became a buddhist. a proper buddhist with the haircut and the orange robes, barefoot the works.

    funny how the pendelum swings

    1. @jb- seriously?? A buddhist? Wow. Well yeah- I dont really like the antwoord either… Pity that everyone else out there disagrees and thinks its awesome to be Zef if you’re not… Its like that whole Wigga thing in the US. Aargh bleh

      1. Honestly this doesn’t suprise me there are hundreds of references to Buhdissim in his music. Honestly I think he’s great, you guys should focus less on what kind of a person he is and focus on the ART he makes

  2. to be famous, at any cost…. well, we all saw what happened to Micheal Jackson.

    and Jack Parow rocks. It wouldnt surprise me if they stole zef from him. hell, waddy comes from tableview, nothing zef about it except bad drugs and ugly bitches. not a cortina in sight

  3. Um…

    I have to disagree with this article. I think the fact that someone can become a character and stay that character with tattoos and gold teeth and everything is fucking amazing. Its like being an actor I guess. People should realise that Die Antwoord, is an act, its not real. Its like imagine Johnny Depp stays in character as Captain Jack Sparrow for the rest of his life just because he is very convincing and does it well, and he loves the character. Its the same thing. Waddy is doing it because he loves the character. And what people should realise is, is that Waddy Jones is all about the entertainment. Die Antwoord is all about entertainment. They make people stop and stare. Listen to Beat Boy and tell me if you think these dudes are serious. They mind fucking the world. Have you ever been mind fucked?

    What really works on my poes is, all the people that have some kak to say about Die Antwoord, has no clue about what the fuck they are about. They still on the topic of ‘is it real?’ ‘is his tattoos real?’ ‘does he really come from belville?’ Google the kak and even better, listen to the fucking lyrics and laugh. Dont be serious and shit and try to review their music like you reviewing a Radiohead album. I mean come on.

    If people really wants to talk about some serious shit, talk about how kak our president is, and how our country is a fucking one party state. DA is just as fucked up as the ANC. Talk about the lack of opportunity for the young, because politicians are stealing couple of million almost everyday. Music is there for the fun factor. Not for people that want to sit on their high horses while intellectualising something as Die Antwoord. Hit a bong and chill out. Be easy dudes.

    Seriously.

    1. You got your own views as we do… I personally think they are bunch of talented musicians especially Waddy who moved from Max Normal into Die Antwoord.

      Yes, its entertainment, yes its all an act and yes he did go to sinns of style and get Tyler to do his tattoos with his left hand. Bro, they portray South Africa in the most minimalist way, a trashy and unclassy way and ALL uneducated masses from America infact all around the world love and enjoy die antwoord and IMMEDIATELY think “OH kiff, thats how South Africans are” – Ma Se Poes in Vis Paste Jarr… KIFF!!!!!

      I got alot of KUK to say about them and I know enough about them to say what I want, I personally cannot handle them, they suck, their sound is shit, their raps are fucking meaningless (Ricky has mentioned in the article about Jack Parow and how his style and raps are all about his stuff and how he is true to his roots) and they are South Africa’s biggest musical export. Pssshhh, come now! As I said earlier, those views above are Rickys views and that how he sees it. Kind of the same way the rest of MCBN sees Die Antwoord. SHIT!

      Thanks for getting back to us and letting us know your thoughts… By the way, talking about Die Antwoord is some serious shit (if you put it into musical context) and seeing that we are a music and nightlife blog I think its almost applicable that we do talk about it. We would never want to sit and talk about the polictical drag and bullshit day in and day out otherwise people like you wouldnt be reading our “rubbish” hehe

      Dont you worry, we will all smoke a bong – sit back – chill the fuck out and take it easy… I just need to stress again, these are Rickys view and this is his platform to express himself.

      Die Antwoord can fall off the planet and die for all I care… 😉

  4. I feel you dude. I understand. Wouldnt want to see Jacob Zuma or Helen Zilles faces on this blog, that would suck major ass. I really do respect your opinion. I know a lot of people out there that has a lot to say about Die Antwoord. Mostly hate and disgust. And I accept that. Im not no groupie or major fan but I really do appreciate their production, and their lyrical content, because their production is jus, whether they working with Diplo or Hi Tek. Their lyrics is about mad cape town stuff, like Class A drugs and general coloured culture which I find calming. Maybe because its almost the whole truth, and even though they white, they at least get the story right. I guess what i am trying to say is that I dig their concept as well as their execution. It beats other Camps Bay kak like Locnville and all the commercial Goldfish cheese. I want musicians to keep it real the way tupac kept it real, even though its just through lyrics.

    Persoanlly Im more of an dark electronica fan, artists like Nine Inch Nails and Felix Laband keep my blood pumping. And on the occacional day some Michael Cassette when I feel like smiling:) I dont really find the time to indulge in the radio friendly 3 minute edits of a commercial Locnville track. Lifes too short. The majority of cape town is not about that. But i guess its how you grew up and in which situation. Im sure the Rondebosch boys and Camps Bay laaities would rather be into the whole glitz and glam shit, where most coloured volk and people that grew up in a much harder environment would prefer the harder more darker stuff. Like detroit techno. This is just my opinion, sorry if Im generalising. I must apologise if Im offending anybody. Hope you get what im trying to say over here.

    1. As I said earlier, this a platform to express yourself. So dont worry about offending anyone with what you said above. If it got racist or was just blatantly rude, than an apology might be in order. I am just a little busy so cant give you a proper answer but will do so later and respond to your comment. I would like to give you my thoughts on that 😉

      Laters!

      1. @Swedish- So you are basically saying that if I tatoo myself, act like a poes and then really get into acting like a poes then you are going to think I’m as good as Johnny Depp? Ag I dont know hey. I didnt write the article because I want to “sit on my high horse while intellectualising something as Die Antwoord”- but rather because I was a bit concerned that some guy is pretending to be someone he’s not and then selling and branding it as South African to the world. I dont know about you, but I’m the furthest thing from ZEF on the planet & would never pay money to listen to or view peeps talking about people’s mom’s and their vis vaginas- I can get that for free in Mitchell’s Plain.

        @Felix- I just think its a similar thing to all those rappers who pretend to be gangster even though they went to Harvard- Waddy is a good businessman, no doubt about it- I just really dont want to listen to stuff that he’s made up about a lifestyle he knows absolutely nothing about.

        @Kreg- glad you share my view there, hehe. As you said though- this is a forum open for debate, with no right or wrong answers!

        Its good to hear what you all think too 🙂

  5. bwahahahahahahahahahahaha Ricky, brilliantly said!!!!! you win the RSA interwebz x10000 for that reply. its not enough that we have to listen to american fake ghetto cockroach shit being spewed everywhere, now we got our own version of it

    he may be a good business man, but in a former incarnation he has done it by fucking a mate of mine out of recording studio fees, so I guess he really has gotten into his role.

    @swedish. mate. we have enough poese in this country without one going out there, making money out of it, and by doing so turning the rest of us into poese. people like him are one of the reasons why this cuntry is exactly that. disgusting is a mild way of putting it.

    but hey, stupid music for stupid people hey

    1. @jb- thanks mate!… and THERE you have it

      Ps nice extra little bit of info on Waddy there 🙂

  6. Hey didnt mean to tramp an on any ones toes. I guess we can all agree ‘each to his own’ right? Some people like Flash Republic and Locnville and Goldfish. and Dean Fuel (lol) and some people like to wear Ed Hardy and Le Coq Sportiff. I dont. Some people prefer radio 3 minute edits. I mean. Each to his own. I think a lot of the people who are totally against Die Antwoord are the people who dont understand the culture that Tudor Jones is referencing.

    But its all good yo. You guys just keep going to The Fez, Assembly, and Trinity, and enjoy yourselves. Keep doing your thing. Life goes on.

  7. Wow thanks for this great input like omw you guys are so cool! Im going to listen to 5fms top 10 now! Flash republic is playing right now and Locnville is next. Probably number 1. I love SA pop music its so cool and, poppy! Dean Fuel is hosting the show btw. HE IS SO COOL OMG I LOVE DEAN FUEL!!! Hype media rocks my socks. Tonight im going to the Fez! hey maybe i will see you guys there?

  8. WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU TO WRITE A COLUMN ON MUSIC YOU OBVIOUSLY DONT LISTEN TO OR ENJOY. Thats like Slipknot writing a fucking article on 50 Cent, who gives a shit what one has to say bout another. Also there not representing anything except there style of music, (just bucz lady gaga is world renown does that mean shes representing all of america?) your a dumbshit. DRRRR so how bout u shut the fuck up n stick your head up ur ass (literally) bcuz uve aldy done so figuritivly.

    1. Um ok… This my opinion and you dont have to agree… while you’re at it- go get an education and try to “nt spk lik dis”.

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