Like so many people (including American rock god Fred Durst, top-of-the-pops icon Katie Perry and Riviersonderend) I have been blown away by South-Africa’s new runaway band Die Antwoord. Everybody who is anybody is talking about this band – and most of the buzz isn’t even in South Africa! Some of their songs have had more than a million hits on Youtube. Their early success is phenomenal. Like many South Africans I can’t totally place them. It is obvious they are taking the piss about the Zef culture in South Africa, but how much of it is real? Their songs/videos are very funny and much of it is staged, but I’m certain there is a lot of reality as well. Who cares? I don’t.
Many South-Africans, especially the more conservatives ones, won’t be impressed by this music. To me many of their songs are too vulgar and over the top, but Enter the Ninja is utterly brilliant and seriously gives me goosebumps when I listen to it. It definitely has strong elements of Marshall Mathers (aka Eminem) and, like some of his music, resonates with the dispossessed. And right now in South-Africa and the world there are many of those. The lyrics are serious (not like the other songs) and describe the fight for survival in SA.
Technically the rapping by MaxNormal aka The Ninja is astonishing. I had no clue we had such great artists in this media in SA. Although subsequently I have now heard Jack Parow as well and he is also damn good. The video, set design, website and all the other production elements are comparable with the best in the music business. Again it doesn’t even look South-African it is so good. The people that created this are serious pros.
Going forward will be tricky: they obviously want to nurse the global audience they now have, but they need to stay Zef and South African. If I were them I’d be careful of being too vulgar (for example “Jou ma se P##s” in ‘n Fishpaste Jar). I don’t think they need the vulgarity, because their music is brilliant enough. Enter the Ninja has lots of swearing, but it is justified, but “Jou ma se P##s” in ‘n Fishpaste Jar” is too much.
Nothing would please me more if Die Antwoord continued with this massive surge; I wish them all the best. Yo Ninja. GO!