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On My Newfound Obsession with Die Antwoord


Ninja and Yolandi Visser have been making disturbingly fun music under the name Die Antwoord for over a decade now, but I didn’t come across their material until only recently.

Their unique name is actually Afrikaans for “The Answer”. The question must’ve been something to the extent of how should two individuals in Cape Town go about creating something utterly transcendent on their own terms. 

The answer was to embrace, inhabit, and manifest contemporary counterculture. 


Their unique style is exemplified by the alternating interplay between Ninja’s swagger and Yolandi’s high-pitched rhymes, both spoken with their characteristic accents. Not to mention most of their lyrics are multi-lingual, flowing between both Afrikaans and English. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t speak Afrikaans, but Die Antwoord’s lyrical intentions are apparent to me—to go unapologetically hard. 


In 2009, Die Antwoord released their debut album $O$ for free online and attracted international attention for their music video "Enter the Ninja". After briefly signing with Interscope Records, in 2011 they founded their own label, Zef Recordz, and released their second and third studio albums: Ten$Ion (2012) and Donker Mag ("Dark Power"; 2014). In 2016, they released their fourth album: Mount Ninji and da Nice Time. The fact that they’ve been able to generate their own label and blaze their own path speaks to how objectively well and efficient their sound resonates and sticks with the listener. You can’t believe what you’re hearing, so you want more of it. 


That is how it happened for me anyways. 


Their music was first presented to me as part of the antagonistic anthems in Far Cry New Dawn, of all places. It was utilized by Ubisoft so that the player would feel the tension, the pressure. The idea is that this was the music the post-apocalyptic bad guys dug the most, and you oughta be scared by it—& I was.

 

The two songs featured in the game were 2014’s Cooke Thumper! and 2012’s Fatty Boom Boom. They were the only artists to have 2 featured cuts in the game— likely because it just plain worked. 


There is something that is simultaneously comforting and jarring about their sound. Utterly uncomfortable and off-putting at first. There is rebellion in the fact that their sound is campy without trying to be. The musical themes are something of a dark sexual aggression. 

I recommend this group to fans of Big Grams, $uicideboy$, P.O.S., Lady Gaga, and Major Lazer (or Diplo in general).