Review : Die Antwoord - $O$
PitchforkDie Antwoord were always a group of musicians of course, but chances are you didn't first hear about them because of their music. More likely, you first encountered them as a viral video, a meme, a performance art collective, a joke that left you searching for the punchline, or some combination of the above. Hell, when we first profiled the group, it was under the headline "Who the Hell Are Die Antwoord?"
Our introduction came last winter, when Boing Boing first posted a pair of their videos. Combining documentary elements with a surreal undercurrent, the clips were funny, confounding, and unique, the sort of thing that you forward to your friends and then do online detective work to learn more about what you're watching and sharing. There was a full music video for their second single, "Enter the Ninja", but the first thing most of us were entranced by, the element that articulated and contextualized in some small way who DA were, was a promotional piece about the group called "Zef Side". There was music in it, but it served only as a soundtrack to the band's off-the-charts personalities-- you got leader and MC Ninja's testicles dancing in Pink Floyd shorts in slow motion, along with the first hints at fellow MC Yo-Landi Vi$$er's strident, low-rent toughness, which was eventually cited by David Fincher as a potential cinematic look for the femme-hero of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo books.
Ninja and Yo-Landi aren't just striking visual curiosities, either; they're underrated MCs and pop personalities-- much more talented on the mic than they're credited for. They're also captivating live, where the visual fakery of what they do isn't lost; the simple challenge and central difficulty of their debut record, $O$-- most of which was released as a free download last year-- is to fully put across who or what Die Antwoord are when all you have to guide you through their world is recorded music....full text
SputnikmusicA lot of people are going to use Die Antwoord as a reason to muse on modern pop culture, and how this couldn’t exist any other time than right now. I’m going to do that. Die Antwoord are the latest band to get the internet hype treatment: 1.5 million YouTube views in a week, a full-length Pitchfork article, numerous blog reviews, and some people even caring that Fred Durst tweeted about them. What initially sparked this interest was people watching and asking, “r these guys fo real?” The answer is that they’re about as real as your grasp on the English language. Their popularity continued, because we all love things that admit that they’re fake (because that’s the truest form of honesty), e.g. Lady GaGa and Sacha Baron Cohen movies.
In the introduction track “Whatever Man,” frontman Ninja announces in his faux-African accent, that he “represents South African culture.” He then lists groups of people (black, white, African, et cetera) and he says, “I’m like all these things – all these things ***ed into one person.” Then it becomes outrageous in a way that these words can’t fully translate to you. Female member Yo-Landi Vi$$er’s digitally altered squeaky vocals enter and a simple beat begins “Wat Kyk Jy.” The first understandable word said is “ninja,” and the lyrics remain both obscene and ridiculous from then on. One can only make out some of what is being said, considering all of these funny voices dropping in to contribute only a few lines. There are a lot of “guest rappers” on this album – which isn’t uncommon for rap music at all. The reason I use quotations is because it’s been speculated that all of the guests are just the guy who plays Ninja making other sounds with his face.
The next track, “Enter the Ninja,” is their most popular YouTube video, probably because it’s one in which the lyrics can be heard completely. After Yo-Landi croons the chorus for the first time, Ninja yells, “Yo I’m a ninja. My life is like a video game.” He elaborates on this premise for the remainder of the song. At one point, he stops rapping to contemplate exactly what is happening around him. “***! This is like, the coolest song I ever heard in my whole life… Look at me now, all up on the interweb! Worldwide! 2009! Futuristic! Enter the Ninja!”
The album continues with stomping beats laid down by DJ Hi-Tek, catchy choruses, high-pitched vocals provided by Yo-Landi Vi$$er and obscene lines from Ninja and his multiple personalities. (Personal favorite: “I fit right in! I fit cock in your mother!” from “Wat Pomp.”) It’s not monotonous, though. Die Antwoord don’t exclusively stick to this formula. In “Rich Bitch,” Yo-Landi takes the mic for the entirety of the song and tells us that she is, guess what, a rich bitch. A mother***in’ rich bitch, in fact. “I Don’t Need You” is nowhere near as frantic as the tracks that precede it and humorously uses auto-tuned background vocals in the chorus. By the way, auto-tune is acceptable as long as it’s intended to be funny. “Dagga Puff” is the obligatory rap album homage to marijuana. Its beat sounds like it came from a music box in a nursery school, and its chorus goes “Early in the morning smoke a big fat spliff, nothing quite like it, like a spaceman spliff.”...full text
McsavageNext time somebody asks me what the the answer to life is..that’s so what i’m saying ( that and 42).
Over on Dlisted, Die Antwoord made ” Hot Sluts of the Day” with legendary editor Michael K calling them equal part horror and awesome.
Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing didn’t really say anything, but the mere fact that they cracked a mention says enough. The comments section of the post is well worth reading to get a feeling of what foreigners think of them. Here’s a little copy/paste incase your ass is too lazy to make the jump....full text
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