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“People react to ‘District 9’ and Die Antwoord on the same level...”
February 1, 2012 10:30 AM   Subscribe

“I feel sorry for people who need to ask us: Is it real?” Ninja told me. Changing identities is the point — the more total, the better.
The New York Times interviews Die Antwoord's Ninja about their new upcoming (and self-released) album TEN$ION. Watch and listen to the first two NSFW singles: Fok Julle Naaiers and I Fink U Freeky.
posted by griphus (115 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Some thoughts (not mine!) about Die Antwoord and the new album.
posted by asterix at 10:39 AM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


And for anyone who doesn't know Die Antwoord, assume everything connected with them is not only NSFW, but may make you profoundly uncomfortable.

I like Die Antwoord, but they're not for the faint of heart. I get the sense, though, that they are the avant garde to where music and culture will be in 20, 30, 50 years.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:46 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


People react to ‘District 9’ and Die Antwoord on the same level...

Um...no. I enjoyed District 9.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:47 AM on February 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


I first listened to them because I couldn't stop, like watching a car accident. I soon came to deeply enjoy the strange and disturbing lyrics. Rapping along with them about a woman on a period giving blood crystals whilst fucking lots of huge strange black dicks.
posted by jjmoney at 10:48 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


You know, these two videos are probably the least -- if at all, really -- NSFW they've released so far in the visual sense. But, yeah, the lyrics are (wonderfully) foul. I'll alert the mods to tag the post.
posted by griphus at 10:48 AM on February 1, 2012


Admiral Haddock: "where music and culture will be in 20, 30, 50 years"

Sporting a hygiene problem?
posted by vanar sena at 10:50 AM on February 1, 2012


Great band, great visuals, I'll second what jjmoney says about not being able to stop listening and looking. A friend turned me on to Die Antwoord a while ago and I remain fascinated.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 10:51 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


look up some of their old maxnormal.tv stuff for a real trip.
posted by nutate at 10:55 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


where music and culture will be in 20, 30, 50 years

Limp Bizkit came out in the early '90s.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:56 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


They bust up a pair of Beats by Dre headphones. How can you not admire that.
posted by fungible at 10:59 AM on February 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Regarding my hygiene cheap shot, watch this in store performance of Enter the Ninja. The mundaneness of their surroundings compared to their projected image - particularly in their videos - is wonderfully dissonant.

Their music just feels old to me, though. Not nostalgic-old, just out of fashion. I guess I'm missing something.
posted by vanar sena at 11:01 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Limp Bizkit came out in the early '90s.

They're way smarter and more self-aware than Limp Bizkit.
posted by empath at 11:01 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Strange group, but I get sucked in.

BTW for Bay Area Mefites they're playing at Noisepop later this month.
posted by bitdamaged at 11:04 AM on February 1, 2012


I like them a lot, both the music and the performance art aspects of what they do.
posted by Forktine at 11:09 AM on February 1, 2012


For some reason Ninja reminds me of Falco.
posted by kingv at 11:09 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I like. However, I can't help thinking that the world needs a band that has no tattoos, piercings or body modifications yet who write killer lyrics about something that actually matters. I'm just a nostalgic old fart.
posted by Decani at 11:11 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Limp Bizkit came out in the early '90s.

I'd like to see Fred Durst make these delightful stuffed toys!

Really, if you see Die Antwoord and think Limp Bizkit, you're doing it wrong. It's like Duchamp and Joel Peter Witkin formed a collective so that could rap about their dicks. They're fascinating and revolting in equal measures, both intellectually and viscerally. I don't get the half of it, but it's a hell of a ride.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:12 AM on February 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


South Africa seems like the most frightening place on earth to me.
posted by rusty at 11:21 AM on February 1, 2012


South Africa seems like the most frightening place on earth to me.

America seems like the most frightening place in the world to me.
posted by New England Cultist at 11:23 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


It was interesting to read in the posted article the accusation that Die Antwoord is guilty of egregious cultural appropriation. I still like to watch and listen to 'em.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:24 AM on February 1, 2012


Ugh, White South Africans make horrorcore with eurobeats with a video budget and it's more Duchamp than Limp Bizkit? Duly noted.
posted by thecjm at 11:25 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


New England Cultist: Yeah, I actually think my imaginary picture of what .za is like probably mirrors much of Europe's imaginary picture of what the US is like. I'm not saying it's accurate -- I've never been there. Just that in my imagination, it's the place you go when you're tired of not being robbed at gunpoint.
posted by rusty at 11:28 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would almost say that these guy's videos are better then their music overall. They're always incredible in a visual sense. The music is pretty standard I guess but the videos are always awesome.
posted by delmoi at 11:31 AM on February 1, 2012


Rusty - in the thirty years I lived in South Africa (10 of those years post Apartheid) I have never been held at gunpoint. Or hijacked. Or been the victim of a hate crime. Or discriminated against because of my sexual preference. Maybe I'm lucky.
posted by New England Cultist at 11:33 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The electronic scene in South Africa seems to be wildly prolific and creative. I appreciate that immensely.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:33 AM on February 1, 2012


America seems like the most frightening place in the world to me.
posted by New England Cultist at 11:23 AM


No small thanks to your fine work at the company, New England Cultist! North America Terror levels were up a consistent 11.6% over the last quarter alone. Keep up the good work, and you might have a place in the Pacific Office!
posted by FatherDagon at 11:33 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


As for Die Antwoord - as a South African, I just don't get them. Hulle is fokken weird.
posted by New England Cultist at 11:34 AM on February 1, 2012


I'm not seeing a premise that makes them fundamentally different from Odd Future or say, Peaches, other than their heritage. There's a lot of provocation for the sake of provocation and people eat it up. It's a cultural fascination that's not going away soon but that doesn't mean there aren't many more complex and perhaps even productive ways to artistically represent dystopia. True, Die Antwoord focus on something visceral and divisive but it feels directionless.
posted by I've wasted my life at 11:35 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Next time I get called out on Metatalk, I'ma post this.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:35 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


New England Cultist: Yeah, in case it wasn't clear, this has nothing to do with any reality about SA. I'm just telling you what my image of it is, shaped by media. Maybe it's just me, although I doubt it. I think South Africa definitely has an image problem. America is perceived as violent, yes. But that's also offset by a lot of other images of america -- "land of the free," rolling waves of grain and all that. You know? I think the image of SA outside of SA is almost always about poverty and violence.

But maybe it's just me.
posted by rusty at 11:38 AM on February 1, 2012


No small thanks to your fine work at the company, New England Cultist!

Don't thank me, thank the American media.
posted by New England Cultist at 11:39 AM on February 1, 2012


Their music just feels old to me, though. Not nostalgic-old, just out of fashion. I guess I'm missing something.
Different countries, different fashions. But yeah it sounds like music that was more popular here like a decade ago, but electronic music is still popular around the world.
posted by delmoi at 11:40 AM on February 1, 2012


I think the image of SA outside of SA is almost always about poverty and violence.

Having your perceptions shaped by the media is probably not a good way to go through life, and I am as guilty of this sometimes as anyone. However, I do know several people in the States, and what I hear from them sounds a lot more negative than what I hear from family and friends in SA.

South Africans are pretty much in two camps about the country: the older generations are extremely skeptic, while the younger generation see nothing but hope and prosperity ahead.
posted by New England Cultist at 11:44 AM on February 1, 2012


This is the Vernon God Little of music.

The rats are pretty cute though.
posted by srboisvert at 11:44 AM on February 1, 2012


Having your perceptions shaped by the media is probably not a good way to go through life

Thank you for the homily.
posted by rusty at 11:51 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you for the homily.

Welcome.
posted by New England Cultist at 11:54 AM on February 1, 2012


I really can’t explain my love of Die Antwood, but...

I am one those that first checked out Die Antwood to mock, and then was sucked in. They are the only real Rock thing I’ve seen in at least a decade, long after I thought Rock was dead, something I didn’t only have to listen to 5 seconds of to get (5 seconds clips, 10 if it’s "complex", is how I usually check out new music these days, you can usually learn everything there is to know about an artists career in that time). The music is stupid, like the Ramones were stupid. I sort of had the reaction to them that I did to Fight Club, I came to hate but ending up loving it.
posted by bongo_x at 11:55 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


"South Africa seems like the most frightening place on earth to me."
"America seems like the most frightening place in the world to me."


I sometimes check out forums of people talking about moving to other countries (I’m in the US) and there’s always tons of people writing "I’d love to visit the US one day, but I’m scared because of all the violence and craziness". I point this out to people here when they say that about visiting other countries. I know someone that visits France fairly often, and he met some French guys who had visited the US. He told them he was from Indiana, and for some reason these guys had gone there, and were stabbed. That was their impression of the US.
posted by bongo_x at 12:02 PM on February 1, 2012


Having your perceptions shaped by the media is probably not a good way to go through life

I'm pretty sure there are serious regional differences in the giant country of S.A.

New England Cultist: did you live in Capetown? I ask because a friend of mine returned there a couple of years ago for a visit with his family, after decades away (so: older generation). He was traumatized by the visit, starting from his arrival at the airport, and continuing throughout. He needed counselling in order to get back to work here in Canada.

It's only an anecdote, and I have no particular horse in the race, but I'd be interested in your impressions of Capetown in particular, if the rest of S.A. is embued with optimisim (a report I'm happy to hear).
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 12:05 PM on February 1, 2012


I love Die Antwoord for their short film especially for the scene where Ninja Plays dead. Heart. Warming.
posted by NiteMayr at 12:08 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


not_that_epiphanius - I was born in Bloemfontein (the Old Free-State, a then Boer-stronghold), but lived in the Cape (20 mins drive out of Cape Town) from the age of five until 29 when I came to NZ to study.

I would have perhaps understood better if your friend was traumatised by a visit to Johannesburg (which, really, traumatises even South Africans), but it's quite strange (for me) to hear that Cape Town was such a harsh experience for him. The Western Cape (which includes Cape Town) is probably the most laid back part of South Africa. There is still violence, of course, but it is hard for me to see why he would have suffered such shock at the experience.

Also, note that I did not say the whole of South Africa is imbued with optimism. There are definitely divisions.
posted by New England Cultist at 12:13 PM on February 1, 2012


I love Die Antwoord for their short film especially for the scene where Ninja Plays dead. Heart. Warming.

You see, I'm not sure how helpful it is to feeding back "Bring me my machine Gun" into a country's consciousness battling with the struggle for equality.
posted by New England Cultist at 12:17 PM on February 1, 2012


Thanks, N E C.
I asked because of my ignorance - which may have extended to getting the city in my story wrong.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 12:20 PM on February 1, 2012


I asked because of my ignorance

I must endeavor to do this more myself.
posted by New England Cultist at 12:25 PM on February 1, 2012


He told them he was from Indiana, and for some reason these guys had gone there, and were stabbed. That was their impression of the US.

Just stabbed? I think he misunderstood. That's like an American hug. They were welcoming them!

Strangely, most of what I hear from Europeans is that Americans are too afraid of everything.

Anyways, regarding Die Antwoord. Loving it, reminds me a bit of GG Allin or some of the later industrial / punk groups like The Genitorturers, Lords of Acid, etc. but obviously with more rap influence. I'm a sucker for this genre I think.
posted by formless at 12:28 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


"It was interesting to read in the posted article the accusation that Die Antwoord is guilty of egregious cultural appropriation."

That WAS interesting. Unless there's something in the SA culture I'm missing, or something in the Afrikaans lyrics that I'm missing, it seems the accusations of 'blackface' are revealing more of the critics than the band.

Is the band committing cultural appropriation? Well, yeah, duh. They are failed art-core rappers who dropped the openly self conscious lyrics and nerd imagery and adopted a gangsta-laden braggadacio and white trash stage personas. But are they directly ripping off black performers? Are they claiming to represent non-white South Africans as a means of mocking them? Are they claiming ties to unique aspects of the non-white culture?

Or do people assume the trashy gangster act must be referring to black SA's because everyone knows only blacks can be poor, illiterate and trashy?
posted by midmarch snowman at 12:31 PM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Of course Die Antwoord are not a true representation of South African culture. We must look instead to Jack Parow for such.
posted by komara at 12:36 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here is an informed critique of Die Antwoord which I found via asterix's link above. The writer is convinced that D.A.'s output is parody - I'm not so sure.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 12:40 PM on February 1, 2012


Of course Die Antwoord are not a true representation of South African culture. We must look instead to Jack Parow for such.

Jack Parrow is awesome and hilarious. And far more musically diverse than Die Antwoord.
posted by New England Cultist at 12:44 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Satanic Music Video Exposed!
posted by Sys Rq at 12:44 PM on February 1, 2012


Satanic Music Video Exposed!

He needs to look up the meaning of the word "subliminal".
posted by New England Cultist at 12:50 PM on February 1, 2012


I came to them via Clayton Cubitt. Interesting and stimulating music and presentation. I quite like I fink you freeky and was actually going to post it to MeFi, but this post is much better then what I had in mind, so bravo!

I can't say I find them all that "out there", though. You'd have to be pretty faint of heart to be made profoundly uncomfortable by this. Well, among blue readers anyway; I'll give you that soccer moms brought up on GnR might be put off by it.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:00 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


No worse than Foetus or any number of bands from the 80s and 90s. I don't think they are the future, just seem alien because of the South African ghetto culture which is unique.
posted by stbalbach at 1:23 PM on February 1, 2012


I ran a short clip of them a day or two ago, posted it to FB, and never knew there was more to them than that - it seemed like a musical "Eraserhead" snippet from some movie, and only lasted a few seconds IIRC.

Yay! New weird music to love!
posted by IAmBroom at 1:45 PM on February 1, 2012


Meh. Transparent, staged absurdity, for the sake of those who need more and more stimulation from the outside, because they are empty, inside. Welcome to the 21st century. Fans of groups like this live through these groups, vicariously; they are mostly seekers of sensationalism, because they have been fed images since day 1. Of course, Die Antwood knows that, all the way to the bank. Welcome to the post music holocaust, where deft musicians know how to "look" radically hip. I can't wait for the next step in the evolution of the clown show we call pop music. It's good for a laugh as background to Motown and Mahler. Oh, and btw, unlike Motown and Mahler, these "hip" nitwits will not be listened to 50 years hence. So, there is some justice.
posted by Vibrissae at 2:02 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ninja of Die Antwoord's expression in Amoeba Records is priceless, and summed up my feelings upon first entering one of their stores.

If you don't like funerals, don't kick sand in Ninja's face.

And if you're looking for the full and overwhelming scope of South African music, look no further than a continuously updated of South African labels on the Discogs forums. But if you'd like my current pick, listen to the Zoo City soundtrack. It's a soundtrack for a book, and it's oh-so-fitting. That's just a sampling of the tracks, the whole thing can be heard on MySpace.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:06 PM on February 1, 2012


Meh. Transparent, staged absurdity, for the sake of those who need more and more stimulation from the outside, because they are empty, inside.

Parliament Funkadelic.

Argument over.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:08 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


for the sake of those who need more and more stimulation from the outside, because they are empty, inside. Welcome to the 21st century. Fans of groups like this live through these groups, vicariously; they are mostly seekers of sensationalism, because they have been fed images since day 1.

I just like the next level beats.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 2:45 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and btw, unlike Motown and Mahler, these "hip" nitwits will not be listened to 50 years hence.

blah blah, off my lawn, etc...
posted by empath at 2:55 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability."
posted by empath at 3:02 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I liked Ninja better when he was rapping about weed with Original Evergreen #hipster
posted by PenDevil at 3:05 PM on February 1, 2012


Vibrissae: "Transparent, staged absurdity, for the sake of those who need more and more stimulation from the outside, because they are empty, inside."

No dude, that describes me pretty well, but I'm much more likely to go listen to power noise if my synapses need a good thrashing. This doesn't quite jiggle the same nerve endings, if you know what I mean.
posted by vanar sena at 3:18 PM on February 1, 2012


I find that their weakest aspect is the actual musical content. Maybe I'm listening to the wrong things, but I watched the "Fink" video yesterday, and it was just really boring from a musical standpoint—uninteresting repetition, harmonies, overall structure.

However, I think their political approach / visual production compensates for that.
posted by polymodus at 4:10 PM on February 1, 2012


Would anyone care about Die Antwoord if they didn't make videos? It mostly just sounds like Hakkuhbar played at half speed, with a squeeky girl doing half the vox.

Maybe I just wish more people listened to Hakkuhbar.
posted by FatherDagon at 4:18 PM on February 1, 2012


I find that their weakest aspect is the actual musical content.

Huh. I really like the production. I find their live performances completely boring in terms of both music and visuals. I'd like them more without the self-conscious offensiveness. But I must admit that I like a little horrible in my awesome.
posted by The World Famous at 4:31 PM on February 1, 2012


When some rapper I care about references them overtly in lyrics, that's when I'll pay more attention. Right now I'm too busy with this dude.
posted by cashman at 5:18 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sigh, man, I am about the least elitist, snobby, whatever music fan but I have spent the past few years watching person after person stumble onto these no talent hacks. This is all style, all production and, to me at least, these two appear to be absolute dimwits.

Also, their endless backing, day after day after day on Boingboing, from Xeni Jardin isn't helping their case any.

Emperor your clothes are somewhere else.
posted by Cosine at 5:31 PM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I love how corporeal their art is. Bodies are front and center -- tattoos so bad they are almost (but not quite) good, bad haircuts, harsh lighting meant to expose imperfections, and bodies so unbeautiful that they become beautiful. People above have asked if their music would be interesting without the videos, and that seems like the wrong question. Theirs is performance art of their entire bodies, to a certain extent of their entire lives -- it's about playing a role so totally that you literally embody it. The music is just one piece of it; it's a fantastic project.
posted by Forktine at 5:35 PM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh, and btw, unlike Motown and Mahler, these "hip" nitwits will not be listened to 50 years hence.

empath: blah blah, off my lawn, etc...


No, just cut my grass, and maybe you can fill up your head with a few interesting tunes off my turntable. btw, Die Antwood, you are no Elvis Presley, and you certainly are no Funkadelic. They were first and original, in their space. They were leaders. You, Die Antwood are the latest flavor of poseur for the overproduced, oversold, and bankrupt pop scene. Some people may like you. That's cool, but you are art with a small "a"; and music with a small "m"; a footnote to fill a few column inches, because arts entertainment news is slow today; you're just ahead of the vapid wannabes that are more about shock than soul. Kind of a Rush Limbaugh of pop - loud, tasteless, and dimwitted. Will anyone be singing your songs in 50 years? I doubt it. Will anyone be singing Presley, Mahler, and Funkadelic in 50 years. Hell, yeah! I'm taking bets.
posted by Vibrissae at 7:19 PM on February 1, 2012


Yeah, I got that you were a pretentious nitwit the first time you posted. They're probably not timeless art, but they're very clever and well produced.
posted by empath at 7:26 PM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is all style, all production and, to me at least, these two appear to be absolute dimwits.

I honestly don't know if they're pretending to be dimwits or not, but the fact that their previous act was so completely and utterly different makes me doubt it.
posted by empath at 7:28 PM on February 1, 2012


I'm not sure what exactly to think about this. I can see/hear the appeal, want to like some of it, find other aspects of it incredibly tedious and predictable.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:08 PM on February 1, 2012


I love how people think they're a fake product of studio hype, like studios have been churning out white-trash Afrikaans surrealist rappers who look like meth addicts left and right (leaving aside that they aren't even on a label any more).
posted by empath at 8:26 PM on February 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


you certainly are no Funkadelic

When I brought up P-Funk upthread, it was as a reminder that style-over-substance is nothing new.

Funkadelic played funky music with lyrics helpfully explaining that Funkadelic played funky music. It was mindless and repetitive, and the musicians looked ridiculous. It was some of the dumbest shit that ever existed.

Yet, despite all that, Parliament Funkadelic are nearly universally loved. Why? Because FUN, that's why.

Die Antwoord are also fun. But you're right; Die Antwoord aren't Funkadelic--Sometimes Die Antwoord actually say things worth hearing.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:31 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq: Are you saying that the lyrics to "Icka Pricka" are not poetry at its height of expression? Ahem. If I may quote the great G. Clinton:

Lifting weights with his tits (icka prick and iron pussy)
Doing pushups with his clit (yucka fuck and muscle cunt)
Disgusting!
Icka prick and iron pussy
Yucka fuck and muscle cunt
There ain't no decent dick in Detroit


Anyway, MUSIALLY speaking, I think Parliament, Funkadelic, and Parliament-Funkadelic are/were way ahead of these cats in terms of originality and in terms of ear appeal -- they just do MORE and do it better. But, much of that will be down to personal taste.

I think there's something in this, but I personally don't hear what has people up in a lather, either in the music, the lyircs, or the delivery. The music sounds like re-hashed european dance and electronica stuff to me, and while both are decent rappers, I don't think they are really all that compelling in their style (there's a clunkiness or sing-songy patness to Ninja's flow at times -- I like Yolandi better in terms of sound and rhythm, just more intriguing and ear catching than he is). I think someone like Kool Keith or MF Doom are more interesting and lively in terms of aggro, off the wall presentation, and someone like Aesop Rock is far more innovative in rhythm and lyrics. It's not terrible (to me), but listening to samples of some of their other projects, I'd say the Constructus Corporation sounds (upon initial exposure) more intelligent and competent.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:45 PM on February 1, 2012


YOUR MUSIC SUX AND I AM COOL BECAUSE I HATE YOUR MUSIC!!!

OLD MUSIC IS BETTER! NEW MUSIC SUX!

WELCOME TO R/METAFARKCHAN!
posted by IAmBroom at 8:49 PM on February 1, 2012


The music sounds like re-hashed european dance and electronica stuff to me,

Yeah, real rappers would never rehash european electronoica.
posted by empath at 8:52 PM on February 1, 2012


Yeah, I got that you were a pretentious nitwit the first time you posted. They're probably not timeless art, but they're very clever and well produced.

Bad taste knows no bounds. "very clever and well-produced" - uh, yeah, like a sale on pineapples in February, in Maine, at your local Safeway, seen by a tourist from Zimbabwe.

"Die Nitwit". Hey! that's new and fresh - try looping it and mouthing some random words while showing off some tatts and looking "remote". Wow! Amaaazzzzing!! God, bad taste is so damned *juicy*. It's like looking/listening to a philandering Televangelist. You know you're listening to shit, but you can't stop watching. Yeah, juicy, like that.
posted by Vibrissae at 9:13 PM on February 1, 2012


empath: “Yeah, I got that you were a pretentious nitwit the first time you posted. They're probably not timeless art, but they're very clever and well produced.”

I thought they were pretty cool and interesting when they first came on the scene, what, a year or so ago? Or at least that's when I remember first hearing about them. But that was mostly because i didn't know a damned thing about them, and their image and sound was fascinating on the surface.

Perusing their lyrics and getting to know them through interviews introduces one to the notion that they are indeed on Limp Bizkit's intellectual level. Well, no, that's not fair. As stupid as they are, I have not known Limp Bizkit to spout blatant and virulent homophobia and racism before and then try to justify it.

That kind of ruins the "cleverness" for me. This is what turned Leni Riefenstahl from a potential landmark director into a footnote of history: her allegiance to odious causes. That may not seem fair, but there you are.
posted by koeselitz at 9:39 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Geez, did I just Godwin myself? I'll see myself out.
posted by koeselitz at 10:22 PM on February 1, 2012


I've wasted my life not watching that video I've wasted my life. Thanks!
posted by mannequito at 12:31 AM on February 2, 2012


Serious question as a post hoc thread reader: Vibrassae, were you drunk?
posted by Chipmazing at 5:05 AM on February 2, 2012


As stupid as they are, I have not known Limp Bizkit to spout blatant and virulent homophobia and racism before and then try to justify it.

They're probably closer to eminem than Limp Bizkit. But yeah, I get that objection to them and I'm not going to argue it.
posted by empath at 5:46 AM on February 2, 2012


Count me as a growing fan, as one of those oddly obsessed with Yolandi.
posted by tr33hggr at 8:20 AM on February 2, 2012


*"and as one"
posted by tr33hggr at 8:30 AM on February 2, 2012


I just wanted to come back after reading the comment that not_that_epi linked to above. I get that Die Antwoord are parody (they act like drunk burn-outs but actually aren't) in a way that reminds me more of "Ali-G" than Eminem. They also claim a lot of cultural syncretism that may not be deserved but may be a calculated commercial appeal to the melting pot ideal, and might be trying to buy access to cultural currency (such as the Bring me My Machine Gun reference) they didn't earn but... I dunno... it doesn't seem hateful to me I guess. They seem to actually appreciate what they're doing and enjoy immersing themselves in the 'zef' culture, even though its an act.

That being said, I couldn't parse half the references written by SA's commentators who are ambivalent about the cultural connotations of the Die Antwoord act. And his objection to White Trash kinda just illustrates growing up poor and white in Capetown is different from growing up poor and white in Oklahoma in a way that I'm probably not going to understand. So I'll just say that I'm probably not the biggest cheerleader of of Die Antwoord's music, but Yo Landi is genuinely a very interesting performer. I personally know at least one woman who listened to their last album a dozen times before laying down vocals on hip hop track one of her friends was working on.
posted by midmarch snowman at 8:47 AM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, Vibrassae, if you're going to hatefully dismiss someone who's creating music just because they don't have the cultural import of Elvis, Motown or Mahler, you're just going to sound like Mr. Harold Weir.
posted by midmarch snowman at 8:55 AM on February 2, 2012


Yeah, I used to think YoLandi was just a hanger-on but she's definitely the more interesting of the two.
posted by empath at 8:57 AM on February 2, 2012


Music, and especially music videos, is performance. Performance is projection, it isn't who the person actually "is". There is no "real" music vrs a "performed".

I'm not sure parody even makes sense as a term for music, and especially music videos.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:15 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


It seems like "parody" only makes sense as a term for music when you're trying to justify racism or homophobia.
posted by koeselitz at 9:27 AM on February 2, 2012


I'm not sure parody even makes sense as a term for music, and especially music videos.

Uh...
posted by empath at 10:20 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


empath: I wasn't saying anything about "real" rappers, but you do kind of make my point about Die Antwoord's (lack of) musical originality by linking to Afrika Bambaata -- are D.A. doing anything significantly more interesting or advanced musically than A.B.? Also -- You seem to be very personally invested in defending them against any naysayers. I'm not saying anything like what Vibrissae is saying. I don't think they are terrible. I just don't think they are AWESOME SAUCE.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:49 AM on February 2, 2012


I think trying to explain them is like trying to explain comedy or dancing, but I look at them as one big art project and not so much as musical innovators. The fact that their not in any way innovative and seem to be channelling a weak version of Vanilla Ice is part of the package. And yet it’s not really comedy, partly because they won’t give even a slight wink or a nudge. That’s what makes it work for me, they know that most people are just going to hate it without the clues. If you’re saying "But I’m not sure they’re joking", well that’s the point, maybe they're not.

Things like the Adult Swim shows that are blatantly silly and make sure you know it don’t work for me. My humor runs more to things like Bob Newhart than Jim Carrey, and I see DA as a version of deadpan. But they also do some really interesting and creative things, and they’re not going to show where the line that divides those areas is, or even acknowledge that it exists. What if the Nu-Metal version of Vanilla Ice put out an album that had moments of musical sophistication and insightful lyrics mixed in with the nonsense, and he wasn’t at all kidding? I see DA as saying "we are not going to give you a clue about how you should react to this, in fact, we’re going to try and confuse you".

I am predisposed to like that kind of stuff I guess. When I was a young man I was in a band. One of our rules was that you would never deny, and would agree with, any rumor or speculation about the band. It had to be done with a completely straight face and would from then on become part of the story. It wasn’t that we would make up stories about ourselves, we would let others do it. It was interesting to see who bought it completely, who thought it was stupid, and who was just frustrated by it. We thought it was funny, but comedy is subjective.
posted by bongo_x at 11:41 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


empath, are you trying to convince me that the Weird Al version is any more silly the the original? I'll give you though, if there is parody in music, Weird Al hits it. But is parody of something that is already artificial, so the idea that he is, perhaps, 'faking it' anymore then the people he parodies might not make sense.
posted by Bovine Love at 11:58 AM on February 2, 2012


The question of whether their professional personas are who they really are in real life is as irrelevant as it is obvious. No performer is, in real life, who they are on stage, etc. Some are sort of similar to their professional persona, and maybe that's the case here. But it really doesn't matter.

As I said above, I do like the production of the music. It's not groundbreaking or particularly interesting, but it is very slick and very professional, and I like it. Their videos are the same way - super professional, super slick, well-produced. And what's interesting is that the super slick, professional production goes right down to stuff where they're just sitting there making faces at the camera and "defending" their more controversial lyrics and antics. Literally every single thing they do is so tightly and professionally controlled that it is damned impressive.

Whoever the actual brain is behind the thing is not only brilliant, but has an almost unprecedented level of control over the enterprise. It's fascinating. To profitably sell the fantasy of an imagined offensive, trashy, low-brow culture in such an incredibly expensive, polished, high-brow package is just brilliant. And to actually pull it off is really impressive. They're spending millions of dollars to convince people that they're low-brow. Just, wow.

It does remind me a lot of Eminem. And that's where I start to be troubled by it. Because it's the resurgence of what I think of as Asshole Music. Music, video, etc. that sell the appeal of a character who is an angry, inconsiderate, total jerk about everything all the time, and who then defends that position with more anger and dickishness. Limp Bizkit and Korn and Eminem and so many other things that were popular at that time all embodied the asshole ethos. Yes, yes, Eminem was more high-brow than Limp Bizkit, blah blah blah.

And people went out of their way to justify all the arty reasons why it was totally cool to love Eminem's terrible assholery. It was just a character, he was rapping about important issues by playing the part of the terrible stuff we should fight against, etc. But at the end of the day, all it does is fill the world with the noise and fury of assholes. It seemed like you couldn't turn on the TV, computer, look at a magazine, etc., without seeing this scowling asshole looking back at you and either hearing his shrill asshole character shouting vile hate at you or reading or hearing some apologist explaining why it was OK that the airwaves were full of his hateful crap.

And then it died down and we were more or less free from that particular flavor of highly-marketed, media-saturated awful assholery. And it was really nice. For a while.

But now the era of the asshole is back, apparently. And we have this sneering, scowling, asshole (or group thereof) shouting or growling crap at us to the sound of really catchy beats and synths. And we're back in the process of analyzing whether or not we ought to hate it because of its offensiveness, etc. And we can get into all sorts of metacommentary about the appropriateness of the use of various offensive terms in the context of where they're from or who they are or what statement they're trying to make and all that same old stuff everyone always talks about when offensive art becomes popular. And that's fine.

But it's ultimately not about whether or not it's technically ok for them to use certain terms or whatever. It's about one more wave of angry asshole music filling our screens and speakers with scowling assholes and whether or not we really want that element back in our lives.

Is ninja really that guy in real life? Does he really scowl like that all the time and talk like that all the time? I hope not. Because that would really suck. To be like that all the time? Come on. That would really, really suck. And it would suck to be around him. It would suck to work with him. And I can't imagine any producer of music, video, or anything else would want to put up with it for very long, as teams of them have obviously been doing now for years.

But it doesn't matter. I really like their music. It's well-produced and catchy, and I just happen to be into synth music at the moment, so it hits a sweet spot. But then I remember that I really just don't want a scowling asshole in my life anymore.
posted by The World Famous at 12:19 PM on February 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


As stupid as they are, I have not known Limp Bizkit to spout blatant and virulent homophobia and racism before and then try to justify it.

Examples, please. The only homophobia I can see is drenched in irony. And not Vice Magazine 'it's not homophobia if it's a joke' irony, either. Real-ass satirical-with-a-point irony.

The bit at the end of Fok Ulle Naiers, for example: Here we have a gay man (DJ Hi-Tek), gangsta-ly threatening to, among other things, "eat your asshole"; the use of "faggot" is subversively repurposed, used in the all-too-common hiphop sense of 'coward,' to refer to homophobes. The last line, "You can't last 2 minutes in my world, bitch," essentially says, Seriously? Gay = Coward? You might want to rethink that.

It's pretty obvious if you bother to actually listen to it. (Though, of course, it's bound to be misinterpreted by millions of people who won't do that. *Sigh.*)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:34 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


D.A. doing anything significantly more interesting or advanced musically than A.B.?

Do they have to be? Music doesn't advance, it changes.

The bit at the end of Fok Ulle Naiers, for example: Here we have a gay man (DJ Hi-Tek), gangsta-ly threatening to, among other things, "eat your asshole"

Not that I think they did it on purpose, but that section is essentially a paraphrase of Catallus 16
posted by empath at 1:47 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq: “Examples, please. The only homophobia I can see is drenched in irony. And not Vice Magazine 'it's not homophobia if it's a joke' irony, either. Real-ass satirical-with-a-point irony.”

Seriously? I mean, even completely ignoring the latest crop of stuff, haven't you seen "Evil Boy"? They even put in freaking subtitles to spell out the "GAYS KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF ME!" bravado. So that was supposed to be ironical?
posted by koeselitz at 3:27 PM on February 2, 2012


And I have to say, Sys Rq, your "subversive" rereading of "Fok Julle Naaiers" is a little questionable. "Faggot" refers to homophobes? How exactly do you draw that conclusion? I mean, your assumption that "my world" means "the world of homosexuality" seems strained at best, to me. Either way, yeah, I don't like 'ironical' homophobia, either, and if this is supposed to be anti-homophobia, then it's such a change of gears for a group that's already been known to spout strident heterosexist stuff that they can't have expected anybody to grok their supposed expression of solidarity with gay civil rights movement.
posted by koeselitz at 3:32 PM on February 2, 2012


empath: I wasn't saying it has to "advance." My point, which is really just more about personal taste, is that Bambaata -- even after all the years -- sounds like he is, in his context, doing something fresh and interesting with pre-existing material. Die Antwoord's music does not sound fresh to me in the same way. But, then again, I am not a fan of the particular types of music they are using, so whatever.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:35 PM on February 2, 2012


Oh, and another example, drawn out by the excellent article asterix linked above:

“The new album, tellingly, hardly has any Afrikaans lyrics on it... That is, unless you don’t count the odious lines ‘Ek’s ‘n lanie, jy’s ‘n gam/want jy lam in die mang/met jou slang in ‘n man’ in ‘I Fink You Freeky.’ For those who don’t understand Afrikaans, translated that reads ‘I am a boss, you’re a child of Ham/’cause you’re locked up in jail/with your snake [penis] inside a man.’ Let me break that down. ‘Lanie’ is colloquial coloured slang for a white boss. As for Gam, it’s the Afrikaans for Ham. That’s the Biblical Noah’s cursed son Ham. In Apartheid’s theology coloureds were deemed children of Ham, i.e. the cursed ones. The rest is self explanatory and recalls the homophobic lyrics on their last song.”

In fact, that same site has a very good discussion of all the things that are wrong with "Fok Julle Naaiers" from a South African perspective.
posted by koeselitz at 3:43 PM on February 2, 2012


... and, in case you don't want to search for it, here's the video for their older song "Evil Boy," which (according to their own subtitles) includes the immortal lyric:

LISTEN HERE
YOU FOKKEN ASSHOLE
I DONT WANT TO GO
TO THE BUSH WITH YOU
DONT TOUCH MY PENIS
IM NOT A GAY
THIS PENIS IS FOR THE GIRLS

Brilliant satire and incisive parody there.
posted by koeselitz at 4:04 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


-The World Famous-
>The question of whether their professional personas are who they really are in real life is as irrelevant as it is obvious. No performer is, in real life, who they are on stage, etc. Some are sort of similar to their professional persona, and maybe that's the case here. But it really doesn't matter.<

Yes. I’m always amazed at the debates about whether music and musicians are authentic or contrived, it’s always both, that’s part of the gig.

I hear exactly what you’re saying and this doesn’t strike me the same way for some reason. I’m not into Eminemem and the other people you listed for the very reasons you stated (among others). DA to me is more like Marilyn Manson or Alice Cooper, only more deadpan and subtle.
posted by bongo_x at 5:19 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brilliant satire and incisive parody there.

You're aware that Wanga's rap there is a protest of his tribe's practice of genital mutilation of young boys, right?
posted by empath at 6:01 PM on February 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Holy crap, that is interesting, empath. And the phrase "I don't want to go to the bush with you" means something completely different from what one would think. I actually think I like that song now.
posted by koeselitz at 9:45 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The video makes it more obvious.
posted by empath at 10:28 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The video makes it more obvious.

No shit.

Could people please look at even 1/10th of the context and nuance of DA's songs before going for the knee-jerk criticisms which have been preempted by the band themselves?
posted by Forktine at 1:31 AM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


empath: “The video makes it more obvious.”

What? No it doesn't. I've watched that video about five hundred times, because I liked the song but was annoyed by that bit in the middle. Where exactly does the video explain this?

Forktine: “Could people please look at even 1/10th of the context and nuance of DA's songs before going for the knee-jerk criticisms which have been preempted by the band themselves?”

We're offering largely informed criticism. "You just don't know, man" is only a wall you can hide behind for so long.

And I'm still more than a little bothered by the way the band throws around the n-word and other racial epithets. But you can love that if you want, or pretend it's just fine. At this point, I don't mind feeling like this is a good group that's made one or two really terrible decisions with lyrical directions. Why do you feel the need to whitewash it?
posted by koeselitz at 8:22 AM on February 3, 2012


Where exactly does the video explain this?

Well, it's not obvious unless you know what you're looking for, but the ghostly-looking dudes stalking Wanga are wearing ritual Xhosa paint and garb. I FPP'd that video when it came out, so there's a bunch of info in that post.
posted by griphus at 8:24 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here is a video (NSFW, of course) they posted to Vimeo explaining the use of the word faggot. Which ends with extended Evil Boy penis figurine fencing.

You have to at least admit "I'll fuck you 'til you love me" isn't exactly an ordinary homophobic boast...
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:46 AM on February 3, 2012


griphus: “Well, it's not obvious unless you know what you're looking for, but the ghostly-looking dudes stalking Wanga are wearing ritual Xhosa paint and garb. I FPP'd that video when it came out, so there's a bunch of info in that post.”

I would like to submit that this falls into distinctly "non-obvious" territory.
posted by koeselitz at 8:47 AM on February 3, 2012


koeselitz, kudos for backup up off a strong opinion when you received more data. Not everyone can do that.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:18 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would like to submit that this falls into distinctly "non-obvious" territory.

What the hell were you doing while the rest of us were learning the 3 Rs in elementary school? Reading, wRiting and Xhosa male circumcision Rituals.
posted by griphus at 12:43 PM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


You have to at least admit "I'll fuck you 'til you love me" isn't exactly an ordinary homophobic boast...

Mike Tyson.
posted by empath at 1:06 PM on February 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


empath: Wow. That. Wow. Would never, ever have known that was a Tyson reference! Of course I guess I'll stand by my statement about it not being an ordinary boast, since nothing Tyson does could be considered "ordinary."
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:28 PM on February 3, 2012


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