For those of you unfamiliar with South African rap-rabble-rousers Die Antwoord, did you enjoy the cave on the moon you have been living in with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears?
Zef city USA
For those of you unfamiliar with South African rap-rabble-rousers Die Antwoord, did you enjoy the cave on the moon you have been living in with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears? Cold up there? For the rest of you, the performance artists/all-around rascals you know and love from the “all up in the interweb” have finally released the U.S. version of their 2009 record “$0$.”
If you honestly managed to miss them somehow, here’s what to expect: Frontman and long time musician-of-all-trades Ninja delivers his Afrikaans-drenched rhymes with whip-smart sharpness and a disjointed staccato quality not often employed in the American hip-hop scene. The closest comparison I can make would be a far filthier Eminem all grown up (and after he smoked six packs of cigarettes a day).
The Ninja’s counterpart, the deliciously named giftige cherrie Yo-landi Vi$$er, sounds very close to what you’d expect to hear if someone fed a guinea pig some crack and taught it a bunch of filthy words. I do mean that in the most complimentary way possible. I swear to god, you cannot stop listening once her vocals start. The childish, cooing quality of her voice paired with the gangster-rap bravado and downright aggression of her rhymes is an otherworldly experience at least. I absolutely believe she is a butterfly, but I’ll still be damned if I’d give her any lip.
For those of you unfamiliar with the original release, you won’t notice anything askew, but for the rest of you; let me talk about the major changes. Most immediately noticeable is the cutting of the original YouTube intro “Whatever Man,” but that lasts 10 seconds and isn’t a huge loss. A bit harder to swallow is the exclusion of the caustic “Wat Pomp?” which was one of the best tracks on the original and featured vocals by Jack Parow, another up-and-coming (and definitely worth hearing) Afrikaans rapper. The track is available as a bonus, but word has it Jack’s verse was cut. Even more baffling is the exclusion of “Very Fancy” and “Liewe Maatjies,” two other standout tracks, in favor of “Rich Bitch,” which is arguably the worst song on the record.
“Evil Boy,” “Fish Paste,” “In Your Face” and “She Makes Me a Killer” are all new to this version of the record, and while they are all strong tracks in their own right, the overall product is less focused and loses some of the cohesion and a lot of the endearing quirkiness of the original release. However, while it’s a shinier package with more mass appeal, the off-the-deep-end charm does remain and that’s really the important thing.
If you’ve read any reviews of Die Antwoord that weren’t full of self-righteous shock over them not being “real” enough (nice detective work, guys! You must have been on the Internet researching for upwards of six minutes!), you’ve probably read the reviews full of self-righteous shock over their lyrical content. Pardon me if I fail to stifle a gigantic yawn. I hate to bring up Eminem twice in any 24-hour period, but this is all the same tired moral grandstanding and attacks on a strange new sound that critics levied at him. Sometimes a shrill voice and some hair-raisingly vile imagery are just good marketing. Sometimes it makes a damn good record. This happens to be both. ?