Die Antwoord performing at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles, California on 17 July 2010
|Origin||Cape Town, South Africa|
Die Antwoord (pronounced [di ˈɐntvoərt], Afrikaans for "The Answer") is a South African rap group formed in Cape Town in 2008. The group was formed by rappers Ninja and Yolandi Visser (stylized as ¥O-LANDI VI$$ER), and producer God (formerly referred to as DJ Hi-Tek). Die Antwoord's image is based on a counterculture movement known as Zef in South Africa, and incorporated elements of the work of photographer Roger Ballen.
Die Antwoord released their debut album, $O$ (2009), free online and attracted international attention for their music video for "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 (2014). They released their fourth album, Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid, in 2016.
- 1 Background and style
- 2 History
- 3 Media projects
- 4 Work with other artists
- 5 Artistic inspiration for music video scenes
- 6 Discography
- 7 Members
- 8 Collaborators
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
Background and style
Die Antwoord's male vocalist, Ninja, was part of the South African hip-hop scene for many years, fronting acts such as The Original Evergreen, MaxNormal.TV and The Constructus Corporation. Their debut album $O$ relates to their earlier work, specifically Good Morning South Africa. In the album, multiple tracks are sampled from, or are exact copies of songs on Good Morning South Africa, such as the "Rap Rave Megamix" (where the first glimpses of Jones's Ninja character was seen) were later reformed into the "Zef Side" video, and later "Beat Boy". Ninja told Rolling Stone, "Everything I did before Die Antwoord was me experimenting, messing around and trying to find Die Antwoord . . . everything before it was disposable. It was all throwaway."
Die Antwoord observed that journalists and critics, particularly in the United States, frequently ask if their creative output is a joke or a hoax. When asked if he was playing a character, Ninja said, "Ninja is, how can I say, like Superman is to Clark Kent. The only difference is I don't take off this fokken Superman suit." They have described their work as "documentary fiction" and "exaggerated experience" designed for shock value. Ninja told Spin:
People are unconscious, and you have to use your art as a shock machine to wake them up. Some people are too far gone. They'll just keep asking, "Is it real? Is it real?" That's dwanky. That's a word we have in South Africa, "dwanky." It's like lame. "Is it real?" You have to be futuristic and carry on. You gotta be a good guide to help people get away from dull experience.
Die Antwoord is known for their cult following, in particular the unusually prolific creation of fan art by their followers. Some of their music videos have incorporated artwork by the noted photographer Roger Ballen.
Die Antwoord's musical and visual style incorporates elements of a "zef" culture, described as modern and trashy, appropriating out-of-date, discarded cultural elements. Yo-Landi said, "It's associated with people who soup their cars up and rock gold and shit. Zef is, you're poor but you're fancy. You're poor but you're sexy, you've got style." Their lyrics are performed in Afrikaans, Xhosa, and English.
Debut album: $O$
Die Antwoord formed in 2008. Their name is Afrikaans for "The Answer" Their debut album $O$ was made available as a free download on their official website. $O$ features Cape Flats rappers Garlic Brown (aka Knoffel Bruin), Scallywag, Isaac Mutant, Jack Parow, and Jaak Paarl (aka Jaak). The album cover was shot by photographer Clayton James Cubitt. In 2009 South African cinematographer Rob Malpage (along with co-director Ninja) shot the video for their single "Enter the Ninja". The video features Cape Town artist and turntablist Leon Botha. The video received millions of views online nine months later, forcing them to move their website to a US-based hosting provider to handle the traffic. The single "Evil Boy" produced by American artist Diplo (also noted for producing M.I.A.'s smash hit "Paper Planes"), contained a verse by guest vocalist Wanga (a Xhosa rapper) in his native language, which rejects the traditional Xhosa passage to manhood achieved in part by circumcision, electing to remain uncircumcised; thus an "evil boy for life". The video has garnered over 26 million views as of March 2017.
Interscope deal and $O$ re-release
Following the success of the video, Die Antwoord signed a record deal with Interscope Records. In April 2010, they performed their first international concert at the Coachella Music Festival, in front of 40,000 people. They then toured internationally in support of $O$. Shortly after, they joined the 2011 Big Day Out circuit which took them to New Zealand and Australia, sharing back-to-back sold-out sideshows with M.I.A. At the end of 2010, Die Antwoord won the Myspace Best Music Video of 2010 award for their debut video, "Enter the Ninja".
Interscope dispute, Zef Recordz and independent Ten$Ion release
In November 2011, Die Antwoord left Interscope Records over a dispute concerning their upcoming album and its lead single, "Fok Julle Naaiers". Visser explained that Interscope "kept pushing us to be more generic" in order to make more money: "If you try to make songs that other people like, your band will always be shit. You always gotta do what you like. If it connects, it's a miracle, but it happened with Die Antwoord." Die Antwoord formed their own independent label, Zef Recordz, and released their new album Ten$Ion through it. The release was in association with the Good Smile Company (a Japanese company that is also making Die Antwoord toys) and Downtown Records, which is handling the marketing and distribution for the record worldwide. Ten$Ion included three more singles following "Fok Julle Naaiers": "I Fink U Freeky", "Baby's on Fire", and "Fatty Boom Boom". The singles included on Ten$Ion began to bring Die Antwoord more into the global spotlight as they were invited to perform on American talk shows and featured in an Alexander Wang advertisement. However the album was met with average to poor reviews by many critics. Ten$Ion was followed up with a non-album single, "XP€N$IV $H1T".
Summer 2013 European tour and Donker Mag
Following the release of "XP€N$IV $H1T", Die Antwoord set out on a brief tour across Europe from June to July. Soon after they began touring, snippets for a new single called "Cookie Thumper!", which was to be accompanied by a music video, were released. Around the release of their new single, Die Antwoord also announced the title of their third album, Donker Mag, which was released on 3 June 2014. The video For "Cookie Thumper!" was released on 18 June 2014 on Noisey's YouTube channel. The video has over 28 million views as of January 2017. On 20 May 2014, "Pitbull Terrier", the second music video from Donker Mag, was released on Die Antwoord's YouTube channel. The video has over 26 million views as of January 2017.
Suck on This and Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid
In February 2015, Die Antwoord announced that they had started work on new material with DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill. On 19 May 2016 the duo released a mixtape entitled Suck on This on SoundCloud. The mixtape features productions from DJ Muggs, God (indicated to be DJ Hi-Tek), and The Black Goat. The track list includes the previously released "Dazed and Confused" and "Bum Bum" as well as "Gucci Coochie," a collaboration with Dita Von Teese. A teaser for the song's video was released on 18 May 2016. The mixtape also includes remixes for some of the group's previous songs including "I Fink You Freeky," "Fok Julle Naaiers," and "Pitbull Terrier." On July 22, 2016, it was announced that the album would be titled Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid. The album was released on September 16, 2016. The first video from the album, "Banana Brain", was released on August 31, 2016. It has accumulated over 21 million views as of January 2017. The second video from the album, "Fat Faded Fuck Face," was released on Vimeo rather than on YouTube, due to its adult content, on December 16, 2016. The video has over 900,000 views as of January 2017.
In an interview with Exclaim! magazine in 2010, the group revealed they have a five album plan. According to Ninja, "We'll be dropping films between each of the albums, feature films... We have one we're working on for next year called The Answer. It's like the story of how Die Antwoord started. But that's like, our power, and where our energy is at right now."
They have filmed a short film with American filmmaker Harmony Korine. The short film premiered at SXSW as Umshini Wam (in reference to the Zulu struggle song "Umshini wami") and features "furry costumes, wheelchairs, a music video breakdown, and plenty of zef slang." The film is available online.
In 2014, it was revealed that Die Antwoord would appear in the Neill Blomkamp film Chappie. In an interview, Ninja states that "Neill is, like, our favorite director, so when he asked us to be in Chappie, it was like a complete freak-out". In the film, Die Antwoord star as two gangsters (also named Ninja and Yolandi) who act like the parents of Chappie, a sentient robot, and teach him how to be a gangster. The film was released on 4 March 2015.
Work with other artists
The photographer Roger Ballen helped design the set for their music video "Enter the Ninja". Ballen co-directed the I Fink You Freeky music video. The Erdmann Contemporary Photographers Gallery in Cape Town featured some works of Ballen from the video.
Bitter Comix's creator Anton Kannemeyer released some work featuring Die Antwoord in 2011. He described the song "Doos Dronk" with the words "if ever there were a song that sounded like Bitter Comix, this is it." During 2013 Die Antwoord turned down an offer by Lady Gaga to perform the opening act for her South African "Born This Way" tour.
In 2014, the duo sampled Aphex Twin's "Ageispolis" for their "Ugly Boy" single. In the music video, a man wearing a mask resembling Aphex Twin in blackface can be seen with a hoodie that reads "Hello, My Name Is God" and his symbol can also be seen on a hoodie worn by Yo-Landi Visser in certain shots. Aphex Twin and Die Antwoord also performed together at London Electric Dance Festival in 2010.
Artistic inspiration for music video scenes
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid||
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|Title||Album details||Peak chart
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|Suck on This: Pre-Candy Mixtape||
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
Danc/Elec Digital Songs
Billboard Twitter Real-Time
|"Enter the Ninja"||2010||45||37||—||—||—||—||5|
|"Fok Julle Naaiers"||—||—||—||—||—||—||Ten$Ion|
|"I Fink U Freeky"||2012||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Baby's on Fire"||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Fatty Boom Boom"||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"XP€N$IV $H1T"||—||—||—||—||—||—||non-album single|
|"Cookie Thumper!"||2013||—||—||—||—||—||—||Donker Mag|
|"Dazed and Confused" (featuring God)||2016||—||—||—||—||—||—||Suck on This|
|"Bum Bum" (featuring God)||—||—||—||—||—||—|
(featuring Dita Von Teese, The Black Goat + God)
|Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid|
|"We Have Candy"||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Fat Faded Fuck Face"||—||—||—||—||16||—|
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"Pitbull Terrier" (God's Berzerker Trap Remix)||2016||—||—||Suck on This|
|"Enter Da Ninja" (The Black Goat Decapitator Remix)||2016||—||—||Suck on This|
|"Spectacular" (Seymour Bits featuring Die Antwoord)||2010||Seymour Bits|
|"Dis Iz Why I'm Hot (Herrschaftized)"||2016||Time & Dust|
|"Wat Pomp"||2009||Die Antwoord|
|"Enter the Ninja"||2010||Rob Malpage|
|"Evil Boy"||Ninja and Rob Malpage|
|"Rich Bitch"||2011||Kobus Holnaaier and Ninja|
|"Fok Julle Naaiers"||Ninja and Ross Garrett|
|"I Fink U Freeky"||2012||Roger Ballen and Ninja|
|"Baby's on Fire"||Ninja and Terence Neale|
|"Fatty Boom Boom"||Ninja, Terence Neale and Saki Fokken Bergh|
|"Banana Brain"||2016||Ninja and Terence Neale|
|"Fat Faded Fuck Face"||Yolandi Visser|
Former touring members
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- Peak chart positions for albums in Australia:
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- http://www.billboard.com/artist/300909/die-antwoord/chart?f=2160. Missing or empty
|title=(help)|title=Die Antwoord - Chart History: Top Album Sales
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- Claire Scott (2012): "Die Antwoord and a delegitimised South African whiteness: a potential counter-narrative?" 26:5, 745-761
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Die Antwoord.|
- Official website
- Watkykjy Website which covers Die Antwoord and related culture.
- "Die Antwoord Interview with ION Magazine July 2010". ionmagazine.ca.
- Analysis of the $O$ album from South African magazine Mahala
- Roger Ballen/Die Antwoord exhibition