Die Antwoord to sign with Interscope, Neill Blomkamp to direct next video


Photos: Xeni Jardin (top) and Sean Bonner

The South African rap-rave internet star known as The Ninja grabs my face by the cheeks. He leans forward and stares into my eyes, like a large savannah predator about to inhale a hamster.

"And that's what I did to Jimmy Iovine," he says. "He didn't seem to like it, but nobody told me it wasn't cool to do that. And then I kissed him on each cheek, because we were making a deal like you do with the mafia. Die Antwoord is in business with Interscope now."

It's been just over a month since a friend emailed me a link to their music, and I blogged here on Boing Boing. They had fans before, but what exploded in these past four weeks is the stuff labels and artists dream of: Die Antwoord became a living meme of unprecedented velocity, propelled into global megawebstardom faster than any act I've ever seen. Ninja tells me that in addition to shaking hands with Interscope, District 9 helmer Neill Blomkamp plans to direct Antwoord's next music video, they'll likely be performing at the Coachella festival, and a film is in the works.


I'm in a diner in Hollywood with my friend Sean Bonner early Friday morning, and we're eating breakfast with the Ninja. Between bursts of rapid-fire recollections, he stares at his granola for meditative pause: an Afrikaans astronaut hit by vertigo; a recently broke and obscure artist punched in the face by the the full force of fame.

"I'm not skinny like this by choice," he says, huddled over the table in a Ren and Stimpy hoodie adorned with John Kricfalusi doodles. "We had no money forever. Now, we're flying business class to America, and look at me, I'm eating berries and granola in Hollywood."

He says Die Antwoord is in LA for the first time. He's joined by his creative partner Yolandi Visser (who's sleeping in this morning, upstairs in the hotel), and their "consigliere" Jay.

"When we did the big meeting with Interscope, Jimmy Iovine was telling me all about how badly their business has been harmed by the internet," Ninja says, sipping black coffee. " I can understand that but I said, 'Jimmy, I want to give you a piece of samurai advice: Become the enemy."

The band's forthcoming debut album $O$, streaming in entirety on their website for free, is the first of 5 albums they plan to release. A sort of documentary film is in the works, too. "It's like an hour-long introduction to a music video, like Thriller, only you can eat popcorn while you watch it at the cinema," he says.

After breakfast, they're off to meet one of their creative heroes, director and high weirdness curator David Lynch.

"I used to smoke a lot of weed," Ninja says. "Then I got my hands on a David Lynch Twin Peaks box set, and I watched the whole thing in one sitting, and it blew my mind. Special Agent Dale Cooper said something about pot being bad for you, and that convinced me that maybe I shouldn't smoke pot anymore. All of this now might be a little harder to take if I were."


Die Antwoord have been eagerly courted by many in the Hollywood power elite during this first brief trip to LA.

"I don't understand how it happened any more than they do, but I understand how rare it is," he says. And he's right: labels spend millions of dollars trying to create what happened to them.

Fans have swarmed at every turn during their LA trip: this in a town where more conventional celebrity spottings are commonplace. A brief club appearance—"just me busting out one long rap-rave rhyme," says Ninja—turned into full-on moshpit hysteria, with underground music blogs describing the event as Antwoord's debut US performance, a carefully planned secret show. "It wasn't, this is all crazy," he says.

"The funniest thing has been the people on the internet angry that we were 'fake.' The only people who thought we were some kind of hoax were from the US and the EU. This is just real, it's who we are."

Ninja and Yolandi have long been fans of photographer (and onetime geology student) Roger Ballen, best known for his disturbing black and white portraits of South African mining town residents. When fame hit, they emailed their idol, and he agreed to shoot the $O$ album cover.

"The art you see in our videos, on the clothing, the tattoos, everything -- a lot of that is also inspired by the art of children, and the criminally insane," says Ninja. "They don't have that hard barrier between their conscious and subconscious minds, the creativity and fluid consciousness inspires me."

He cites other influences as diverse as William Gibson's novel Neuromancer, the rapper Eminem, science fiction movies, and the toy company Friends With You.

I ask about Leon Botha, an enigmatic figure who appears in some of the band's videos—Botha is 24, and has Progeria, a disease that often takes the lives of its victims at a far earlier age.

"We met at a DJ Qbert concert in South Africa and Leon was in the front, rocking out," Ninja recalls. They became friends and creative kindred spirits.

"When you're hanging around him, it's like you're hearing the voice of God, he's so present and immediate," he says.

"He's a beautiful soul," I say. We've swapped a few emails, and I was mesmerized by Botha's YouTube video monologues.

"We all are," says Ninja, "It's just that he's right there on the surface. He, more than anyone else I know, lives in the moment, because he know he could die the next. I mean, we all could die. You could, Xeni, I could take you out right now—BAM!"

His hand becomes a pretend-gun, and he shoots me pretend-dead.

"Haha! Just kidding. But he is aware of death, and of the preciousness of the present. And that's where the creative power is."


I remind him of the day Die Antwoord burst into dominance on Google Trends: February 3rd, 2010, some 48 hours after that first Boing Boing post.

"February 3rd was already a date I remembered," he replies. "My younger brother, his nickname was 'Boo,' he committed suicide 7 years ago on that day."

"This the only thing I can do, I can't do anything else," he continues. "It is what I love, and all I have ever wanted to do in my life. Now that all of this—" (he gestures toward Hollywood Boulevard, as a truck carrying leftover Academy Awards props cruises by) "—now that this is happening to us, it's overwhelming because you also realize that it could disappear right away. "

"I don't know what that's going to mean. But for now, I just know that we have a film to make, and albums to record, and shows to play."

"It's not bad."

# # #


  1. Congrats Xeni. Coachella! Such great news! In terms of it being an act, there’s nothing fake about Ninja’s vocal skills, and their beats are fire. An ‘act’ is a misnomer, this is a conceptual art piece of the highest order.

  2. Um, yeah, these guys used to be called Normal.tv and before that Constructus Corporation with a completely different sound….the new band are totally different personas.

    They are rap’s Sacha Baron Cohen.

    Good fun, but not just homegrown geniuses from the South African street.

  3. I know it’s probably a priority for these guys to get paid, but how cool would it have been for them to sign to, I dunno, Aletrnative Tentacles instead of Interscope. I fear for their well being. Godd luck to them – they’ll need it.

      1. KLF? maybe kinda, but no. Let’s see him burn a million quid and write the manual about how to do it. The JAMS are incomparable.

  4. Coming from SA, it’s pretty funny to thing that anyone thought they were real. They may not be real, but they certainly have verisimilitude.

  5. I’m aware of the many prior incarnations and creative projects, and of the “this is all faaaake!” and ” this is an act!” internet commentry, see the previous blog posts and RTFA. They’re performers, not Wikipedia editors or priests or politicians. And thank goodness for that.

    Ninja struck me as one of the most authentic, un-phony personalities I’ve ever encountered. Odd bits and all. He’s a fascinating, charismatic, intense guy.

    I don’t think what they’re doing fits the definition of an act or a hoax at all. I mean, cmon, it’s silly. Would you shriek such accusations at, say, DEVO or David Bowie or Lady Gaga? It’s a kind of popular conceptual performance art, made accessible through pop music.

    Whatever they are is something they take absolutely seriously. This is not Sascha Baron Cohen doing Ali G schtick at all. I’ve met Sascha, and seen his act, and while I respect it– it’s just stupid to say they’re the same, unless all you’re doing is skimming headlines.

    Whatever this is, and I don’t know how to define that nor do they: it’s real.

    The Interscope deal is an interesting choice for an internet-made act to choose, particularly in the same week as OK Go launches their own label.

    I’ll be interested to see what unfolds. I don’t think any of it is an accident, or something they’re jumping into naïvely.

    1. Noooo! If you’re in the sketch comedy caste, you must live out your life in the sketch comedy caste!

  6. I haven’t paid more than $10 for a concert in a decade, but I want to see these folks live. I bet they appear in NYC on the way to Coachella.

    1. they’ve already come and gone from NYC 2 weeks ago after they came to LA, hopefully they come through again though!

  7. This whole ‘real’ debate is ridiculous, their music says everything you need to know about how talented and serious they are. The idea that they are somehow fake for assuming an exaggerated persona is not something I hear being thrown at US or UK artists and seems to me a patronising and ignorant attitude. I think some people are just too close minded to appreciate what’s going on here. Just because there is humour in their work doesn’t mean they are not totally serious and ‘authentic’.

  8. As a person who grew up with hip hop and punk and witnessed some of the births of their bastard kids, Die Antwoord is some of the most genuinely creative stuff I’ve seen in years. Their success is unprecedented, and richly deserved.

  9. Love their stuff! And having a persona is not fake, its entertainment.

    I am buying their stuff as soon as they start selling it.

  10. They’re definitely the most exciting thing going anywhere near pop, that’s for sure. I’m always glad to see something just f**kin’ weird hit the mainstream.

  11. wonder full!! amaz ing! David Lynch blew Ninja’s mind, they blew my mind, perhaps David Lynch mind as well ! -of course they must be conscious of themselves, makes them cleverer, mindblowingerer!
    another moment of Xeni+world+ideas=mindblowingererness, more great ideas,culture!-is there a world record here?-it was only the other day that first post and videos were up and taking the world like lightning strike!
    jeetje m’n eetje!-(an exclamation=j.c.,-dutch is clever tongue!
    -ooh!-sidenote: I have been hit by lightning twice! really.

  12. An act? Real? Does it matter? We love them anyway:

    Gene Simmons/KISS
    Ozzy Osbourne
    Ziggy Stardust
    Insane Clown Posse
    Cyndi Lauper
    Bushwick Bill
    Weird Al
    Tiny Tim
    Sinead O’Connor

    Real or not real?

  13. A well deserved reward for a lot of hard work in my opinion. Their talent speaks for itself. The fact that they were prepared to go out on a limb and project themselves exactly how they wanted to be seen is a credit to their creative integrity. All the people who passed them off as a hoax sure look like idiots now! Massive respect – Ninja and Yolandi, The Gin Palace salutes you!!

  14. many thanks to boingboing for turning me on to DA back in early February.. would of hate to have missed this past month listening to $0$ before it went mainstream.

  15. I find this whole thing fascinating. I very much enjoy the music of Die Antwoord, but I also very much enjoy the music of Freebass 808, Zion I, P.O.S., Root Beer, Sole and the Skyrider Band, Buck 65, El Guante, Blueprint, The Hilltop Hoods, Tha Blue Herb, Reggie Rockstone, K-Os, Active Member, Orishas, and a whole bunch of other acts who have taken hip-hop and pushed it in new and interesting directions. But none of those other groups have ever gotten the sort of sudden traction which Die Antwoord got. It’s really fascinating to me that they suddenly went from total unknowns to being a huge internet sensation so quickly. I honestly have no idea why them and not someone else. Somehow they’ve just struck a chord with people in a way I don’t understand. Some of the other international groups I mentioned have done quite well in their native countries, but none of them have taken the US or the internet by storm.

    Charles Hamilton managed to do pretty well for himself using internet mixtapes, but he did it over a couple of years of solid releases. He didn’t throw up a few songs, he did like five or six mixtapes each with a dozen songs before he really managed to build a following.

    Also interesting is the whole “real versus fake” debate. It’s abundantly clear if you look at the history of these artists that they are not as zef as they have been portraying in their videos. But they are authentically South African. It’s also clear that one of the things they have done in the past is to intentionally play off of expectations and appearances in hip-hop. This makes me like them all the more but for some people it seems to alienate them.

    It makes me wonder if the people with the knee-jerk “They’re fake!” reaction are as naïve as they seem to be. Do they actually feel, for instance, that most rappers who rap about selling drugs have actually sold drugs? Do they believe that country singers are really cowboys? Do they believe that professional wrestling is real? And if they do understand all of that, then why is Die Antwoord being not 100% what they portray at all surprising?

    In a world where concerts being lip-synced is only newsworthy if the audience complains, what is it about Der Antwoord which causes people to feel tricked? Is it that we’re used to our entertainment figures pretending to be more glamorous than they really are and that by doing things in the other direction, pretending to be more white-trash than they really are, people got suckered in? Was there some sense of connection special to Die Antwoord which gets broken once people realize that their stage personae are not 100% authentic?

    It’s all terribly fascinating to me because I really honestly don’t know the answers to these questions. I’d be curious if there’s anyone reading who does feel more of a knee-jerk “they’re fake” reaction and is introspective enough to try to reason about why they feel this way about Die Antwoord in particular. If there is, please share. I’m very curious about what motivates this reaction.

    Also, similarly, if there is another who wants to share why they find Die Antwoord more compelling than other similar acts, I’d be curious to know that as well. And if anyone has thoughts, but doesn’t want to share them publicly, feel free to email me at KeithIrwin (at) yahoo.com

  16. I’ll be upfront- I don’t think the act is very good. At all. I watched their live YouTube cuts. I’ve heard better local acts in my hometown. No, I’ve heard better rappers free forming on the train I take my kid to school on. That being said, I think everybody makes their own luck and deserves their shot.

    On that note, this is what I got from the video: “Neenja *squeek*! Neenja *squeek*!”. At least I smiled :)

  17. Ahhh, so, the “it’s not real” people: do you think 50 cent is real? Do you think he talks to his mom like that? Do you think David Byrne talks to HIS mom about people tripping outside a factory? Because, really, any musician has what’s called an ACT, and that’s because they put on a persona in order to tell the story they have in mind. The ACT is just that: at least partially artifice in order to communicate that which they have come to feel. I’m willing to bet that I could squeal “It’s not reeeeeeal!” after watching you relate to people at a party. But in the end, it’s as real as it gets; which is to say, it’s communicating that which you wish you could actually tell your mom. But instead you’re telling us, and we get it, it’s cool. But ease off of all the other people, Die Antwoorp, etc. They’re cool too. Just ease off.

    P.s. WOO HOOO!

  18. i agree with xeni, this is not ali g. schtick. this is something different, so different, that people just don’t know what to think- which is why you see so many discussions over the true nature of Die Antwoord.

    as someone who’s traveled around the world & now lives in europe, i constantly marvel at how hip-hop has perforated the consciousness of so many cultures, so many youth. it’s become world-wide, beloved by people all over who feel trodden upon & want to come out blasting defiant rhymes instead of succumbing to circumstance.

    Die Antwoord is a part of this. i get the feeling that perhaps they got tired of everyone telling them that they’re just a bunch of crazy redneck white people who shouldn’t be doing hip-hop. and so they said YES, WE ARE CRAZY REDNECK WHITE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DO HIP-HOP. and they went to the extreme, holding back nothing, FULL-FLEX moerfokkers.

    i love the pride & defiance they demonstrate, unashamed of who they are or where they come from & how just freaking weird they are unafraid to be. i think that is why they have resonated with so many. say what you want about the music, Die Antwoord presents us with very traditional hip-hop attitudes in their own unique context & style.

  19. Oh please, great and illustrious deities of booking, let them play Coachella. If necessary, I am willing to sacrifice a goat or something. A spider. The spider crawling uncomfortably close to my keyboard.

    There. It’s done. We have a deal, right?

  20. The thing that makes these guys so compelling *is* their authenticity.

    It’s a rare commodity in the bullshit, plastic music world of today.

    Sadly it seems inevitable that they’re going to get chewed up and spat out by the very machine they rile against.

  21. What really goes on (A Tribe Called quest), you ask? I say: Shit’s real (Mic Geronimo)… It’s all real (Pitch Black)… no wait, it’s: Beyond real (Jigmastas).

  22. Die Antwoord are as authentic gangster as NWA ever were. Ice Cube is a trained architectural draftsman, for a start.

    I just hope that the newfound success will let Ninja get his secret fairy tattoo seen to ;)

    1. The secret fairy tattoo might be fake. The only place I think you can see it is in the one video where he talks about it. It is definitely not visible (concealed with make-up?) everywhere else.

      1. Said tattoo is visible in a couple of the MaxNormal.tv live videos from 2008 or so, as well as the video where Waddy goes nu-rave:

        In the same video, he basically mulls over the idea of going street and changing to an Afrikaans accent to become more popular.

        I think that Waddy has played things right. Yeah, it is a persona but it isn’t exactly hidden. At the same time, it is as real and committed as his home made prison tattoos.

        Once Die Antwoord gets a bit stale, then there should be no surprise if they reinvent themselves.

  23. whats wrong with reinvention.. its real because its current. Waddy has always been an original.

  24. Does Waddy remind anyone else of early David Byrne? Not just the way he looks, but the kind of laconic intensity?

    I know I know I know, the music is as far away from old TH as you could get… but isn’t this the way these things go? Clearly some insanely talented people working here, and smart too.

    Anyone complaining about the lack of “authenticity” just doesn’t get the whole character-driven performance thing. …or do you think the Gorillaz are really a bunch of animated primates?

  25. The reason South Africans are objecting to their ‘fakeness’ is that the image they are portraying is not their own creation. It’s a mimic of an actual South African racial sub-culture. They are co-opting (and in a way making fun of) a very real South African group of people. If it was an original idea nobody would care. But instead it’s more like Mr Private School (Parktown Boys High School, to be exact) who dresses up on Friday nights to look all Gangsta. I go to the same DVD store as him, he doesn’t talk like that for fuck’s sakes. He sounds more like Prince William. That’s the problem. If it’s a stage character, lose it when you’re off stage. Or people will think you’re a phony, and would they be wrong?

    BTW I like what they’re doing with their music and videos, just give it a rest when you’re not performing. Also, I should note that Yolandi really is like her stage character, except with less expletives.

  26. just so everyone knows they are a hoax and you’re fooled and I’m not

    The more people rant about Die Antwoord being a hoax or whatever, the more their name will spread.

    Godspeed hoax rumors and debates!

    Didn’t any of you learn anything from the iPad? All you dorks have been ranting all over the place about it, but all that has done is spread the name “iPad” far and wide to the populace who don’t care about the dork grievances and want to buy one now. Apple couldn’t be more pleased. And, just like how the iPod was derided against and succeeded, so will the iPad.

    Did you know that artists will sometimes put inconsistencies into their works on purpose, just so the fanbase will note them and debate them?

    If you are someone discussing how Die Antwoord is a hoax all over the internet, you should be thanked by Interscope. And, you should also reevaluate your own life (and your critical thinking skills while you are at it).

    Die Antwoord is SOOOOoooo Boing Boing. I love it.

    Now start bitching about how Boing Boing isn’t accurate like Yahoo! News. Hahahahaha…

  27. “Jimmy, I want to give you a piece of samurai advice: Become the enemy.”

    Sage advice but I think it’s a little late for the major labels.

    Not that they would take it anyways. They’re terrified of being any else but what they are.

  28. When I first saw Die Antwoord, I knew what it was in terms of the History of Ninja etc.

    However I loved it the first time I saw it, I love what it personifies, and loves what it shows.

    It may not be new to South Africans to have people making up South African Satire (think Evita), but dude… no one has quite done it like this yet.

    And lets remember what the most important thing here is…the music and the act, thats what I want to see when I go and see them perform and che3ck them on the internet etc.

    If you are a South Africa who doesn’t like Die Antwoord obviously you are either a) jealous b) an evangelistic Christian c) a sour poes who takes life way to seriously

    All groups and sub-groups (gangstas, punks, emos, goths etc) all dress up, are all an act, the way they talk, dress act, its a choice…they were not born like that, and they will all tell you that they are as real as anything.

    So why cant Die Antwoord become a serious sub-culture.

    Whatever clothes you wear , whatever you do, ,you are conforming to a marketing sub-culture

    Die Antwoord is taking all the shit to the naxt laval, and its awesome.

    I personally cannot wait for them to come and perform in Cape Town again…its going to go the fuck off and I am going to conform to the freak that is Die Antwoord!

  29. I think you guys are a little confused about “fake”. Most people who sent that video around did so because it was fkn awful. One of the best awful videos. They were laughing at them. Now when you find out that the people who made it were aware of how terrible it was. Then it switches around. And the joke was on the people who sent the video around. Trolling 101.

    Pop stars have NOTHING to do with the internet. sorry. wrong generation.

  30. I’d read a little of what you posted before on these guys, but I only listened to them just now.

    Really? This is what’s so exciting? This makes you want to write prose about some guy grabbing your face?

    It’s not bad, but I did not find it interesting or groundbreaking in any way. I wish them the best, but I don’t see a reason for all the fuss.

  31. Well I like it a whole damn lot. The more I listen to it, the more it grows on me actualy. They know how to combine elements. I’m listening to old school hip-hop moves, kempie hard house themes, and some very original beats and sounds all wrapped into one.

    And really, the guy with the PC Computer, he’s really something.

  32. It appears Boing Boing has the power to make international megastars at will… If I send in a photo could they please do the same for me? By… er Wednesday, if possible. Rent’s due on Friday and I don’t want to cut it too fine.

  33. the only thing I want to know is where in the hell can I get some dark side of the moon boxer shorts?!?!

  34. I think people underestimate the quality of South African music. We have a whole breed of musician that are top notch quality and releases great albums and live shows. I think Die Antwoord makes it more accessible. They are still a breed on their own and if you are not Afrikaans you miss a great deal of the music message and comedy. Around 1995 there was a great break through in Afrikaans music acceptance and cultural growth. I would suggest looking up Battery 9, Fokofpolisiekar, Karen Zoid, Wonderboom and the list goes on.In SA you have a perception of what live shows and albums should sound like and of course musicians try to emulate what happens in the States and Europa and normally do a much better job. I have been to countless shows in the States, Germany Canada and nothing compares to the great South African shows. Perhaps it is just nostalgia perhaps something different. Hier begin the revolusie!

  35. I think they are fantastic. Musically they remind me of Tatu, mixed up with Dizzee Rascal, with liberal doses of the aesthetics of Gwen Stefani – M.I.A – Lady Gaga.

    I think the problem is that some people thought that the interview material in the “Zef Side” clip was factual, that they all grew up as neighbors in the ghetto and make their music on a “PC computer”, certainly “The Young Turks” seem to think so at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mqymiIQMUs

    I love the way they are moving, they resonate with what Lady Gaga is doing and what Eric Warehiem is doing in music video direction, a sort of hyper-kinetic quality about it that goes well beyond simplistic distinctions of “real” and “fake”.

    And in their grittier element they partake of that Jackass / Terry Richardson / Harmony Korine kind of eroticized post-industrial, post-poverty, post-future redneck identity that is way cool.

    Baudrillard would love it!

    Keep up the good work Die Antwoord and BoingBoing!


  36. South African music is at a special place right now. It’s something to be a part of. There are many great unsigned bands and acts, many of whom are well worth looking into if you’re a record label. Just saying.

  37. fokken fre$h futuri$tik my brahs! die antwoord se rympies skop nog net so hard teen die koppe !! kom net weer once in a while terug na die SA’s toe !

  38. i really love die antwoord, for both who they appear to be as people and for their music.

    i agree with the fact that there’s really no such thing as a ‘fake’ performance when the music is so clearly and highly developed.

    but i think the reason think they’re fake in a certain sense is because they take the performance into their real personalities sometimes during interviews and things like that. it’s one thing to create a persona for the sake of art that might be the product of an idea of a personality that lives within you. but it’s another thing to exaggerate or distort who you actually are as a person when you’re presenting yourself in a public light. and they’re guilty of the latter to some extent.

  39. Interscope is just arm of the satanic music business, and we have another “artiste” who’s ready to step up to the plate to be chewed to bits by Moloch.

    Poor guy thinks he’s all that and is gonna take on the world and he’s really about to help selling guns and sugared soft drinks.

  40. Do they actually make the music? Does he actually rap? Does the guy in the back actually make their beats? Is the alien-girl really their hype-girl?

    If all these answers are “yes”, then they are real. Period.

  41. What’s with the “authenticity” in rap, anyway? No one expects an opera diva who sings in Il Trovatore to actually throw babies into fires when she’s off stage. Why do we expect that kind of credibilty in rap performers?

    I’d rather have performing artists portray a concocted persona than actually be criminals off stage. I don’t need to see someone destroy themselves or others for the veracity of their art form.

    Whether or not Die Antwoord’s background is factual or not, their music has truth to it. I like ’em. Thanks for showing them to me.

  42. Are his terrible tattoos real and does he always look constipated or is that just to look “hard” for pictures?

  43. Great that Waddy and his missus are getting theirs after over a DECADE of pushing the boundaries when most south african youth were confused about their identity because of the political turmoils. I am still waiting for the Constructus Corporation and MaxNormal to get their recognition in the world. If anything MaxNormal was truly something special that still hasn’t aged after almost 10 years.

  44. Only downside to Die Antwoord is the 10,000 hipster girls who are even now giving themselves the Yo-landi. Gonna be monkbangs and mulletbacks as far as the eye can see.

    As for authenticity, shit. I don’t care. I like the music, I like the videos.

  45. i have officially been generation gapped like a chevy short block engine spark plug. …yes.
    that said… enjoy whatever there is to enjoy about this, fight, frong, find someone to fornicate with. Wake up in an alley wearing nothing but a traffic cone.
    Just, for the love of god, don’t make me watch his trousers again. ..like a weasel beating a hamster to death on coke, or a bunch of grapes dipped in naptha and exited to plasma state..or oh gawd…

    1. for the love of god, don’t make me watch his trousers again

      But that‘s what brings in my demographic.

  46. Well its about time that a South African group makes it into the big! well done ninja and the sos crew – but to all you non south africans there are many more brilliant musical acts that are proudly south african – how about checking out Fokofpolisiekar who are ultimately responsible for the enormous growth within the south african music industry oover the past few years- and their spin off groups namely Aking, Van Coke Kartel and Die Heuwels Fantasties.

    Other awesome South Afrcan bands like Kidofdoom, Yesterdays Pupil, Taxi Violence, The Narrow, Springbok Nude Girls, Kobus and Jack Parrow! If any of you regular readers enjoyed Die Antwoord take a look at some other great and original South African acts.

    Once again Die Antwoord you guys are awesome thank you for exposing the pure originality that is South African creativity only great things can come from your success! Hopefully it will bleed over and touch some of your fellow struggling musicians back home!

  47. Die Antwoord has generated a huge discussion in popular media around race, class, culture and authenticity. I can’t remember the last time an SA band created discourse on these subjects. And therein lies the genius. It works on many levels. It’s crazy, super-high energy fun entertainment, but it also makes you think (or not, depending on whether or not that’s your thing). In short, it’s exactly what I expect from art.

    BIG UP Die Antwoord. What a great story.

  48. Very proud of Die Antwoord – moer hulle hard Waddy! Don’t let those capitalists fok met jou my broer!

  49. If you dig the tunes, well good on you for it, if it’s just about the music for you it’s great, I like them too, but don’t buy the image, it’s middle class kids playing dress-up. They are the South African Vanilla Ice.

  50. Those who demean this most excellent group as Vanilla Ice or Ali G only demonstrate that they have no understanding of all of the above. It’s sort of a lego brick type of understanding of art. Humor + white + middle class + hip hop = Ali G. Or Vanilla Ice. Because that’s the zone of reference for some.

    There are certain subtleties that are lost for those who are not comfortable or agile enough to mix peanut butter with chocolate and chocolate with peanut butter. These are people who order their minds like a video store. As in… western movies go in the western movies category and concert movies go in the concert category.

    If someone had the temerity or poor taste to make a western concert film, the categorists would decry the abomination as inauthentic, unfocused, when really they are just shedding light on their own inflexibility. This group is fun, creative, and the music and personalities kick ass. I’m not sure what else one would want from entertainers, or artists, if you prefer.

    Memo to some: Al Pacino is not in the mafia and Sir Alec Guinness was not able to levitate objects with his mind. Also, Snoop Dogg is not an actual canine. Just so we’re all straight.

    1. >Those who demean this most excellent group as Vanilla Ice or Ali G only demonstrate that they have no understanding of all of the above.

      You do acknowledge that these actual are people from a relatively privileged Middle Class SA British background pretending to be Afrikaans, a different socio-ecomonic population descended from the Dutch who are not only less economically privileged, but had a history of being oppressed by the Brits for a good long time, right? Those are facts easily verified now.

      They may be ridiculous, sure it’s a joke, the Vanilla Ice comparison is not about “authenticity.” When Middle Class American white kid(s) form a musical act and start playing ethnic dress-up imitating a group of lower socio-economic standing, some stock comparisons are inevitable, and rightly so. The “but it’s funny” thing is no trump card, it’s just going to dredge up a digression on the opinion that some kinds of joke, say, as a poignant example, racist jokes exaggerating stereotypes, might be funny to some people, but they’re still wrong on some level.

  51. AWE MA SE KINNES! Ninja aka Max Normal aka Wadey Jones has been rapping for like more than ten years. So I’m proud of homie. The first time I heard and saw them perform at Ramfest Feb 2009 I knew it was the craziest thing I’d ever heard, also the hottest and most original hiphop to ever come out of Cape Town.
    Also on the issue of them jacking the so called “Cape Coloured” style, Ninja or Max Normal is well known and loved on the “Cape Flats” aka the hood so he got a pass. Oh yeah I went to the same college as Yolandi.
    Show dem Ninja show dem.

  52. Does boingboing know what a meme is? Apparently not.

    I love DA more than anyone else and have followed them since before you picked it up, but an artist gaining popularity is not a meme no matter how strange, unusual or disingenuous the artist is. It’s popularity, plain and simple.

  53. >> You do acknowledge that these actual are people from a relatively privileged Middle Class…

    I don’t acknowledge that.

    I haven’t read anything which references their socio-economic background. If you have information, cite it.

    And even if they are middle class or upper class, or even ridiculously, obscenely wealthy, so what? I wasn’t aware that there was some sort of income threshold for performing hip hop. Please let me know what that specific dollar amount is, as perhaps we can implement some sort of vetting system whereby artists allow public review of their financial assets to ensure that no one is putting one over on the public by “pretending” to be impoverished.

    According to this page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_threshold) the “common international poverty line has been roughly $1 a day, or more precisely $1.08 at 1993 purchasing-power parity.” So, we need to make sure that the members of Die Antwoord, or indeed any hip hop act, do not make more than that threshold.

    >> … SA British background pretending to be Afrikaans…

    Why is it that some people have such a hard time understanding the difference between performing and pretending?

    >> Those are facts easily verified now.

    Do so.

    >> They may be ridiculous, sure it’s a joke…

    Incorporating humor into one’s creative endeavors does not make “it” a joke. Is that your understanding of humor, its role? Set-up, then punchline, cue laugh track?

    >> … the Vanilla Ice comparison is not about “authenticity.”

    I think it is.

    >> When Middle Class American white kid(s) form a musical act and start playing ethnic dress-up imitating a group of lower socio-economic standing, some stock comparisons are inevitable, and rightly so.

    Wrongly so, in my opinion. Very wrongly so. I think stock comparisons rarely shed light. These people are white and they perform hip hop. So, Vanilla Ice gets brought into the discussion? Mostly, I find that lazy.

    What is “ethnic dress-up?” Am I supposed to dress only within the Epcot Center/Small World band of what is considered appropriate for my race or nationality? I’m from California, so I guess I need to either dress as a surfer or cowboy.

    >> The “but it’s funny” thing is no trump card, it’s just going to dredge up a digression on the opinion that some kinds of joke, say, as a poignant example, racist jokes exaggerating stereotypes, might be funny to some people, but they’re still wrong on some level.

    You’re implying this act is inappropriate in the same way that racist jokes are inappropriate? Is that how you view this group? As a racist joke? Don’t imply it. Say it. You imply that they are inauthentic, mocking, not serious, and racist. You also implied their part in a cycle of oppression based on their supposed national origin. Did I miss anything?

    That’s a lot to lay at the feet of a musical group who seem mostly content to jump around, rap, and generally seem to have and promote a good time, in an inclusive and respectful manner.

    I don’t understand this “not real” jag people get stuck on. I’m pretty sure the Village People did not literally consist of a cop, Native American, construction worker, sailor, or cowboy.

    1. I’m pretty sure the Village People did not literally consist of a cop, Native American, construction worker, sailor, or cowboy.

      You take that back!!!

    2. If you’d like more information on their background, it’s not hard to discover, you really ought to spend a minute or two of quality time with google, to make sure your own preconceptions align well with the way things are. Perhaps that initial point actually matters, perhaps it doesn’t – you’ve admit you don’t know and don’t have the energy to do your own basic research.

      Besides that, I haven’t used the word “authenticity” other than to say that’s just not what I am talking about, so sorry I’m not replying to your text wall in detail, but this is a not the kind of discussion I find meaningful.

      1. Making an assertion(s) and then chiding me for not sourcing your remark is poor form, whether you find this discussion meaningful or not.

  54. Tupac went to the Baltimore School for the Arts. He played the Mouse King (not an actual mouse, nor king) in the Nutcracker. He was named after a Peruvian mercenary (not of Peruvian descent). Tupac also remarked that his favorite music was the soundtrack from Alain Boublil’s Les Misérables (not French).

    Despite some of the challenges they faced, I suspect Tupac’s family made more than $1/day. Hence, not poor by UN standards.

    Who exactly *IS* authentic or worthy of performing hip hop?

  55. A LOT of what Die Antwoord is, is going to get lost in translation. People in South Africa at least either “get it” and rock out with it, or they just scratch their heads and go WTF are these clowns doing. One of the main dividing lines in SA is probably the swearing. They seriously use the most vulgure afrikaans there is… and its awesome! It just doesn’t translate with the same flavor to english. Poes = pussy (kind of, depending how you use it). Naai = fuck (and just sounds really dirty.)

    “kyk hie hoes it. Kan ek my piel binne in jou poes sit” – You would never ever eeeeever say this to anyone, even just saying out loud there must be something wrong with you, but Die Antwoord did, and they made it sound cool, and thats part of what makes them awesome!

    Ruffly translated “Hey how you doing? Can I put my dick in your pussy”. I was even laughing as I typed that.

  56. Listen, here’s some info. Waddy and Yo had their MaxNormal Video for “Total Fuck Up” when i first saw it about 1,500 hits or less back 2007. It was actually Chuck D from PE who sent me the link on his FB account (before he jetted off SM). We both were digging them immensely, Chuck thought they were hilarious. I then contacted Waddy & Yo about reppin’ them in North America. I never did sign anything b/c i had no money or interest from the music people i contacted. I sent out there music to TONS of people in the industry. Including some rude morons who told me they were garbage (you know who you are). Simply put i could not generate interest in them..i LOVE them and still do! They deserve this and work very hard.They are truly the sweetest most down to earth people you will ever talk to. Anyone going on about “real” should get some “real” and find your own voice and be as courageous as Wad & Yo have been. I only wish i had found interest for them sooner or that i had the $$ at the time to properly represent them. I don’t care how they got where they are or where they are going- i am just totally STOKED that their fam is living good & finding the success they totally deserve! Thank you Xeni for mentioning them and seeing what i did in their creative work!!!! Love the crazy canuck, Laura @org9

    ps I know other bands you *could* mention that are pretty amazine too. Try Kap Bambino from France(they rock).. just sayin’ :P

  57. One more lil’ thing from the peanut gallery – Wad & Yo DESPISE RACISTS AND RACISM. So discussion over. BOOM! Thank you very much.

  58. Just thought I’d share this video by Jaak (Jaak Paarl from track 5, Wie Maak Die Jol Vol’);

  59. People here don’t like to scoff and put things down much here, do they? I must be easy. I’m not too hip to like anything.

    I like how Ninja and Yolandi are playing with a rat in the interview on their site.

  60. This is the first time ever that I can say I’m proud to be South African. And I probably like Die Antwoord even more than people outside SA, because I can understand all their lyrics and know how liberating they are. (Honestly, swearing in Afrikaans is deliciously NASTY; English doesn’t hold a candle.) But I also think the source of Die Antwoord’s appeal has less to do with Baudrillardian post-everything wankery than it does with the fact that they have found, ironically enough, a genuine way to channel raw South African emotion. That’s what I’m proud of.

    This may sound wussy, and maybe it’s just me, but it’s as if they’ve unlocked the gate that lets white South Africans step out into the world, comfortable in our own conflicted skins. Fearful but rebellious, angry but tolerant, civilised but boisterous. And OK with all that.

    I was going to say that you need to be a South African to understand this, but thanks to Die Antwoord, now you have an inkling.

  61. My GAWD! Hilarious. Amazing how so many people are into this. I Suppose it is because Die Antwoord and their music is so different? When I listen to their…uhm…music I picture a group of pals from Fietas in their Ford Cortina (or modified Uno) driving through the streets of Brixton, windows wound down fully, Black Labels clenched between their legs or sipping on pre-mixed Brandy-and-Coke from Fanta Orange tins, chocking on it as they check out the shocked faces of grannies and school kids who are walking on pavements. In post-Apartheid South Africa where Malemas, Zumas and other idiots are hogging the limelight, what better way for whites to reclaim a bit of attention by turning up the volume of Die Antwoord’s…music. “Wat kyk jy?, Fokkof, jou ma se poes, moffies, Fok jou” etc will definately get some attention? I am not surprised, am amused (but for how long?) and cannot see myself spending any money on this….music. But people will buy into this, so to speak. I almost wet myself, laughing as I listened to it. Funny. :-)

  62. This article is doing the rounds on the interwebs. Can you please comment on it? Is it true?

    Reports that Die Antwoord signed recording deal are false
    Caitlin Ross

    Reports that South African internet rap sensation Die Antwoord have been signed to a major US record label are untrue, although the group did meet with a major record label during their trip to Los Angeles.

    “I know that the Interscope deal is all over the net but nothing has been signed yet. Negotiations are underway so no details can be made available at this stage,” said Diane Coetzer, press manager for Die Antwoord, on Thursday last week.

    A Google search with the words “die+antwoord+sign+us+record+label” yielded 36,400 results, but news that Interscope Records, who represent the likes of 50 cent, Black Eyed Peas, M.I.A and the Pussycat Dolls, have signed a deal with Die Antwoord has been presumptive.

    Band members Ninja (aka Waddy Jones, previously of MaxNormal fame) and Yo-landi Vi$$er are on their way back from Los Angeles after their rapid ascent to international celebrity, due largely to their YouTube music video Enter the Ninja.

    Shortly after the videos release on February 2 it went viral, with the result that millions of hits crashed the group’s local server and caught the attention of overseas music industry players.

    The group has been gaining in popularity as the icon of the rise of “zef”, a word that describes blue-collar South African culture and lifestyle – Ninja can often be seen in nothing but his boxer shorts and Yo-landi opts for head-to-toe gold synthetics when performing songs with titles like Doos Dronk, Wat Pomp, and Wie Maakie Jol Vol.

    Although many of the group’s international fans are unable to understand the mixture of English and Afrikaans rapid-fire lyrics, they have embraced the music and videos, posting reams of comments praising it and sometimes requesting translations. Die Antwoord’s Facebook fan page is swamped with pleas that the group come to various countries and one fan yesterday (subs: Thurs) posted a photograph of her new tattoo that reads “Ninja”.

    Die Antwoord’s website has received over 20 million hits in the last month.

    1. If this is fake, so is Madonna, who changed her whole act from the 90s to more modern. It worked for her.. As did it work for Shakira doing the new pop stuff.. And Nelly Furtado who I remember singing “I’m like a bird…” and not “she’s a maneater…”. Artists change their look, sound and image according to what the public likes.. And lo and behold, Youtube liked it!

  63. Crazy, I was just typing to Eminem on twitter, telling him to sign these guys, and now i find out jimmy iovine is, im sure em gets to many twitters to have read mine, but coincidence man,,,, coincidence

  64. I live in Norway far away from SA. In present time Roger Ballen exhibit in Oslo. After his artist talk I asked him a few questions about his relationship to Die Antwoord. He answered:”Intersting question, because I got an E-mail yesterday(Wednesday 13.October2010) from this rap group, where they say that they appreciate my work. I don`t know Die Antwoord. I have never talked to these people. I hear that they are going to earn millions because of inspiration from my photos.” He didn`t know how to react! On one hand it`s nice that someone likes your work, on the other hand it feels a bit dirty not to ask for permission. Well, I gave him an article (this link) http://www.yalelawtech.org/uncategorized/why-die-antwoord-made-me-care-about-american-copyright-law/ , so he would see more positive on the subject. I was a bit confused about this answer, so I asked Die Antwoord on the FB fan page. Are you working together with Roger Ballen or are you just inspired by his work? The answer from Die Antwoord: They deleted my post! I think without Roger Ballen they would never break on YouTube. The visual makeup is so important for their breakthrough. What would Roger Ballen be without The Boardinghouse, and what would Die Antwoord be without Roger Ballen? Maybe the idea of a pure work is false?

  65. The first time I saw the video “enter the ninja”, I literally got chills. This group, fake or real, is definitely into some weird stuff….and I say buying into them is like messing with dark forces!!!!!!!!!!

  66. people talking about fake / authenticity etc.. you are condescending wankers.
    anyone who thinks they’re smug by saying they’re fake – get a life.
    If you don’t like their music fair enough, but to judge them on their authenticity is completely lame “holier than thou’ rubbish

    heaps of punk, metal, hiphop etc artists i like are putting on a ‘persona’ music videos and albums and live performances would be so boring if everybody was 100% ‘genuine’
    but i guess there are a lot of people who get a sense of being superior by getting in first on criticising something fresh and upcoming

  67. Check out Die-Antwoord.net for the latest Die Antwoord news, best pictures and videos!

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