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Record Radar: Die Antwoord

I fell in love with these guys months ago, along with a lot of other people. And have been waiting for an entire record to come out. Apparently that's happening soon. In the meantime we've had to content ourselves with YouTube videos and instrumental tracks posted on their website.

South Africa's Die Antwoord have gained a HUGE following over the past year, through the power of the interwebs and on the strength of mainly one video clip. The track Enter the Ninja is so catchy I've had Facebook conversations about how the "IeieI I am your butterfly" part gets stuck in your head for days. And I, along with what seemed like my entire neighbourhood, went to see them live in Toronto last week.

In actuality, these rave rappers are art school bred. Ninja is just one alter ego of Watkin Tudor Jones, who was once known as Max Normal. Wikipedia says he's 45 years old.

It's a blend of elements, some familiar – rock, punk, hip hop, dance beats – some not so much – they rap in Afrikaans and have coined the term "zef." The visual aesthetic, some of which is provided by Leon Botha, an artist and, at 25, the oldest known survivor of progeria, is both compelling and disturbing. Botha is also seen in the Ninja video.

Is this the next big thing? Is the Zef side gonna hit the mainstream? I doubt it. Not in North America. There's not enough familiarity. One could argue that people said the same thing about North American hip hop but compared to Compton, South Africa is practically another world - and North American audiences need those reference points. 

But it's fun and the hipsters love it. Enjoy. Warning: Bad language and NSFW imagery.


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