Die Antwoord: Whoah. That's some hardcore marketing.

antwoord.jpg To promote their forthcoming debut album release on Interscope (news of which first broke here on Boing Boing), Ninja of Die Antwoord gets a full-back tattoo of the album title, $0$. (And yes, haters, it's real: Ninja explains to Boing Boing that the video documents an uninterrupted 11-hour inking session, all in one shot).

Video here.


  1. Black Star beer did that 15 years ago. Best cowboy tattoo won a Harley. That’s Montana for you.

    1. I have a feeling there in NO way you could sit for 11 hours work on your back. Even Matt Gone of mattgone.com would only sit for 8 hours at a time. Not impressed = I have no idea.

      1. You either need to take your sense of humor in for a tune-up or, I don’t know, maybe click the link…

  2. I don’t think you wanna know what the translation to those lines at the bottom at the end are…

  3. 4REAL, as someone once bled. I don’t care if the next album is called Street Map Of Central Dundee and when it comes out he gets a street map of central Dundee tatooed on his face, the fact is they’re as bogus as The Darkness, or Goldie Lookin Chain, but not as much fun as either.

    1. Richey was indeed for real, but so are Die Antwoord. Ninja had evolved from Waddy Jones via Max Normal to his current guise. Yo-Landi has been his faithful sidekick years, they have a child together though are not lovers.
      Artist and progeria survivor Leon Botha appears in Enter the Ninja video and nobody will doubt him – he will not waste his limited time helping to promote a joke.
      Die Antwoord are very real and the tattoo is 100% real.
      As a huge Manics fan, I haven’t been as excited about a musical phenomenon in quite a while.


  4. Don’t get me wrong, these guys are fun – I just don’t get the point in pretending you really buy into the act all the time. I’m more interested in the man behind the curtain.

    1. @theawesomerobot, I agree to an extent, but it’s still kind of fun if you’re in on it. And the music’s good enough that I don’t really care.
      Wait, the Darkness is fake? It’s kind of an homage and over-the-top but they weren’t like, characters or anything where they?

  5. Easy haters! Is KISS real? Is the Streets real? Do you think Tiny Tim’s persona is real? Any aspect of artistic self-creation going on with Rennie Sparks? Think tEENAGER cASE is not bogus? Stuff your phoney-hatin quest for ‘authenticity’ back up your *ss with the copy of Catcher in the Rye you cribbed it from. Why don’t you talk about the art instead of the artist? Our whole society is fucking obsessed with ‘process stories’ instead of discussing substance.

    Also, I don’t give a shit if you are impressed or not scifijizznik.

    1. haha, well if I wasn’t a phony-hater I wouldn’t end up with entertaining comments like yours! worth it!

  6. If Die Antwoord is anything like any of Waddy’s previous projects, he’ll get bored and move on to something new within a year or so. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Die Antwoord, but I’m even more impressed with MaxNormal.TV’s Good Morning South Africa (2008) and The Constructus Corporation’s The Ziggurat (2002). A lot of the material from Die Antwoord’s new album is actually recycled from these two projects. After delving into their back-catalog, I find myself playing Tik Tik Tik and Jellyfish a whole lot more frequently than Enter the Ninja or Wat Pomp.

  7. One more thing: All of the tracks on Die Antwoord’s site are streaming with all the vocals stripped out. Instrumental tracks only. Remixers, get in here, now!

  8. 11 hours? Either someone is exaggerating, the guy getting tattooed is a real big wuss, or that is the slowest tattooist ever! I can’t imagine that taken more then three, maybe four hours, max!

    1. Dude, that’s a huge tattoo. Why don’t you link to some pictures of yours and tell us how long they took?

      1. I have to agree… with you both.

        With the video being B&W, I can’t tell if it’s all rainbow colored or has embedded sparkles or bugle beads, but 11 hours is an awful lot for what is in effect just the outline of the tattoo-that-is-yet-to-come. Roughly a score of years ago, the inimitable Schmoe Dawg knocked how sensory nerves are wired in the skin of one’s back, I suspect the violent twitch factor is more likely a function of overall footprint than amount of pigmented skin — and I suspect it would be far too un-Ninja to have left in footage of the tattoo’s recipient huddled in a fetal position.

        Years later, I was at a diner with some friends when the guy seated beside me suddenly said, “Hey! I know what you have on your back!” Turns out he’d been at the shop that night; at the time he was still learning the trade, and he kept the stations and equipment cleaned and prepped in exchange for guidance and a place to work. At the time, he kept commenting on how quickly Shmoe was working; now, after a decade of tattooing and with his own shop, he was still amazed. “I couldn’t do it in twice the time,” he said. “I would’ve booked three, maybe four, sessions for that job.”

      2. I sapose i missed my chance to reply to comment made on my comment but i’ll toss it up here anyways. Antinous I’m not sure how comfortable I am posting pictures of my work on boing boing but i’m five foot six, average build, and have a back piece which consist of a large japanese type figure with large solid black pieces making up the background. It covers one half to two thirds of my back, with more then 50% of that area recieving ink. IMHO it is about the same area of actual ink and has alot more detail, color change, ect. I sat for five hours total for that piece. I’ve sat for maybe forty hours total for all my work. I’ve worked in several tattoo shops for several years in the past and have seen several hundreds if not thousands of tattoos, and more then several dozen full back pieces. Large black work is some of the quickest stuff i’ve ever seen done by the people i’ve worked around. FYI almost all of them hated doing it, it’s boring work.
        In response to some of the other comments about his use of an alternative type of equipment, “prison style”, that is a possiblity i failed to imagine. It is also one that seems to make the most sense. I should have noticed that there was no gun in the video but i just thought it was made up of shots with the artist wiping away blood and ink.
        I do understand that different artist work at different speeds, i have work from a half dozen plus and have worked with dozens of different artist. I now, after reading the comment made relating to this post, would have to say that it seems to me the tools used are what made it take as long as it did. I still think that any artist who has gotten some time doing the big “tribal” or other types of large black pieces could bang this out in well done fashion in five, six hours max. With a needle and a bag of ink? I have no idea, kudos to the artist and the client for going that route, shows a certain dedication to the art, respect.

    2. It looks like the whole thing was down by hand, without a gun. I could definitely see that taking 11 hours if that’s the case.

    3. Antinous is right. That tattoo might not be particularly complicated, but it’s huge. I have a tattoo of the Dali skull on my lower back that’s about the size of one of those dollar signs, and it took two sessions and a total of four and a half hours. I’d be willing to bet just filling in the black part of that big-ass yin-yang probably took around 5.

    4. speed varies greatly by artist – my current artist does areas in 2-4 hours that took my old artist over 6. Also, doing large areas of solid color well (especially black) requires working slower than typical shading – needle group plays a role, packing in solid black is not typically done with the larger groups that make doing big areas of shaded color go faster in order to give a more consistent tone. 11 hours seems long but not beyond believable, I give him credit as that matches my longest single session.

  9. I’ve met enough redneck Afrikaaners to know that this guy probably has at least six toes on at least one of his feet and that his father is quite likely his cousin too.

    You can take the dutchman out of the trailer park…
    …but that’s about it.

  10. I can’t believe you guys are actually debating the logistics of this tattoo.

    1. Why not discuss it? Someone brought it up and the whole video is about the tattoo.

      I’d love to know who the artist is. [Tattooists rarely get credit in any media even if their work is the centerpiece.]

      Also, I agree with those who say that 11 hours is possible for this work, particularly if you count design, stencil and that old school method tattooing the design.

      And yes, I’ve seen people do straight sessions that could go 11 hours +. It’s rare and it’s not pretty but possible.

  11. i feel like i just watched rocky balboa lace up before the big fight!

    enter the ninja!
    (a golan-globus production)

  12. For Ninja just to spend 11 hours and tattoo his entire back to sell records… I’m sold!

  13. Look at the completed tattoo in the last few seconds of the video and compare it carefully to the image shown on the screen right after. It’s not the same.

  14. 29 comments and no one has commented on his Spongebob boxers? What is this world coming to?

  15. The truely amazing thing about Die Antwoord, is that they almost have 70.000 worldwide fans on FB, have had millions of hits on their website, have played at Coachella and are lined up for both Hard NY and Hard LA in July, and they actually haven’t made a single dime sofar selling their music.

    The game has changed.

    1. Really? Somehow I doubt they didn’t get paid for their Coachella appearance, particularly since they were the most anticipated act there.

      They’re going to be gazillionaires before it’s all said and done. I have a lot of respect for Die Antwoord, but it would be silly to assume they’re not in it for the money. Their music, edited for content, is radio-friendly. It’s not like they’re making unmarketable music.

  16. Now that what I call a marketing guru. Guess it will be a real tattoo when I read the article on their poes cool fansite here at –> http://www.dieantwoordzeflings.com

    Why would he place a fake tattoo if his bodies is full of real tattoos already?? The photo looks pretty ‘real’as well, but that doesn’t count…i know folks…Anyway, LOVE DIE ANTWOORD!!!!

  17. @takeshi: What Marcel said was “actually haven’t made a single dime sofar selling their music”. They’ve made money in the music business, yes – but they got paid for appearances, t-shirts, etc etc. They simply haven’t made any money in the “You give me $$, I give you a copy of the music” part of the business.

    But then, a *lot* of big-name bands have been selling out stadiums for years while actually losing money to their labels selling their music due to the way the labels do business.

    1. As a touring musician, I would contend that making money for gigs is the same as making money selling your music. You’re just selling it live, and for a limited time.

      Not to mention that almost all musical acts make more from touring than record sales.

  18. Hello? The tattoo is WRONG! He presumably wanted one that matched the album art but it DOESN’T. The yin yang symbol is backwards. Major ink fail that he’ll live with for a long time.

    1. The ‘backwards’ yin yang likely occurred as part of the stencil transfer process (mirroring the image) and does not significantly alter the content so I doubt it will bother him especially since he will only see it in a mirror

  19. A lot of people seem to have a large emotional investment in disliking something/someone who asks nothing of them.

    It’s funny how on the internet people (commenters) have forgotten the radio principle, if you don’t like it change the channel/website.

  20. Can I just add that putting the instrumental versions of the songs on their website today for the remixers to rip and play with is another act total websavvy genius on their part.

  21. Die Antwoord are to the white South African underclass what minstrelsy was to the black U.S. underclass. There is a long history of “artists” profiting from mocking the powerless.

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