Watkin Tudor Jones

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Watkin Tudor Jones
Watkin Tudor Jones (Ninja) in 2012
Watkin Tudor Jones (Ninja) in 2012
Background information
Birth nameWatkin Tudor Jones
Also known as
  • Ninja
  • Max Normal
  • The Man Who Never Came Back
  • MC Totally Rad
  • Yang Weapon
  • Destructo
  • Waddy
  • WAD:e[1]
  • Ninjie[2]
Born (1974-09-26) 26 September 1974 (age 46)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actor
  • music video director
Years active1993–present
Labels
Associated acts

Watkin Tudor Jones (born 26 September 1974),[4] better known by his stage name Ninja, is a South African rapper, songwriter, record producer, and director. Jones is part of the rap-rave group Die Antwoord. Jones also has had a number of acting roles, including a self-styled role as Ninja in the 2015 Neill Blomkamp film Chappie.[5]

Early life[edit]

Jones was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1974.

According to Die Antwoord bandmate Yolandi Visser, Jones has been on the South African hip hop scene since he was 13. He frequented nightclubs where he would develop his skills as a rapper.[6]

Career[edit]

1993–1996: The Original Evergreen[edit]

Jones was part of the South African rap band The Original Evergreen, which were signed to Sony Music.[7] He released one single with the group, 'Puff the Magik', which was banned from radio for its controversial lyrics about marijuana usage. He left in 1996 to release a solo album under Chameleon Records.[8]

2001–2002: Memoirs Of A Clone and Max Normal[edit]

In 2001, Jones released his debut solo album Memoirs Of A Clone.[9]

At the time, he was the lead vocalist of Max Normal, a hip hop act, which released their debut album entitled Songs From The Mall in 2001, which he disbanded in 2002.[10] Their last gig was played with Faithless on the group's 2002 South Africa tour.[11]

2002–2003: The Constructus Corporation[edit]

When Jones disbanded Max Normal in early 2002, he and musician Sibot invited Markus Wormstorm and Felix Laband to collaborate on The Constructus Corporation project, which resulted in the concept album and graphic novel The Ziggurat, released on 3 June 2002.[12]

Jones asked Anri du Toit, better known as his Die Antwoord bandmate Yolandi Visser to lend vocals for the project. She was credited as Anica the Snuffling.[13]

The Constructus Corporation disbanded in 2003.

2005: The Fantastic Kill[edit]

In 2005, Jones released his second solo album The Fantastic Kill.[14] It was released in France in 2007 as MC Totally Rad And DJ Fuck Are Fucknrad under the name Fucknrad.[15]

2007–2008: MaxNormal.TV[edit]

In 2007, Jones resurrected and revamped Max Normal as the 'corporate' hip-hop group "MaxNormal.TV."

The new lineup consisted of Watkin Tudor Jones revising as Max Normal, and Anri du Toit as Yolandi Visser. The band also featured Neon Don playing various recurring characters and Justin De Nobrega making instrumentals.

The group released their debut and only album Good Morning South Africa in 2008.[16] A DVD featuring 13 skits, music videos and short films was released in the same year, titled Goeie More Zuid Afrika.[17]

2008–present: Die Antwoord[edit]

Jones is currently a member of the South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord. The group was formed by Jones as Ninja, Anri du Toit as ¥o-Landi Vi$$er and producer Justin De Nobrega as HITEK5000 (formerly referred to as DJ Hi-Tek and God). They have since added a second producer Lil2Hood.[18] Die Antwoord is part of the South African counterculture movement known as Zef.

The band released their debut album $O$ in 2009. It was made freely available online and attracted international attention for their music video "Enter the Ninja". They briefly signed with Interscope Records, and left after pressure from the label to be more generic. du Toit 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."[19]. They formed their own independent label, Zef Recordz and released their second album Tension through it.[20]

They have since released 2 other albums; Donker Mag in 2014[21], and Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid in 2016.[22] As well as this, Jones played a self-styled role as Ninja in the 2015 Neill Blomkamp film Chappie.[23]

Controversy[edit]

Zheani Sparkes and sexual assault allegations[edit]

In March 2019, Australian musician Zheani Sparkes released a diss track titled "The Question" detailing an alleged sexual assault on her by Jones in South Africa in 2013. Sparkes claimed that Jones drugged her, as well as human traffick[ed] her to Africa, and sent sexually explicit photos of her to cast members of Chappie. He also expressed having an active interest in her because of her resemblance to his now teenage daughter, Sixteen Jones, who in 2013, was only 8 years old.[24][25][26]

A conflict between Die Antwoord and Sparkes ensued on social media afterwards, where Jones accused Sparkes of catfishing him.[27] In September 2019, Sparkes filed a police report in Queensland, Australia formalizing her accusations of sexual assault and revenge porn.[28]

Italian-American singer Dionna Dal Monte also accused Jones of sexual assault, which she claimed occurred at a Die Antwoord show in 2014. Jones has denied all these allegations.[29]

Fight against Andy Butler[edit]

In 2019, a video from 2012 surfaced, showing Jones and Die Antwoord bandmate Yolandi Visser fighting Hercules and Love Affair founder Andy Butler while calling him insults that could be seen as homophobic, such as "faggot". Butler openly identifies as gay.[30] After fighting him, Visser and Jones alert security staff, and, while crying, Visser claims she was sexually assaulted in a bathroom by Butler. Later on in the video, Jones tells her that her performance was "Oscar-winning".[31][32]

Jones responded on Facebook, claiming that the person who filmed the video edited it to make it seem like he and Visser were in the wrong. He claims that Butler harassed them in the days leading up to the fight, and that it had nothing to do with him being gay. Jones also claimed that he told Visser to act as "dramatic as possible" about what Butler did to avoid getting detained by security after the fight.[33]

Die Antwoord was subsequently dropped from the lineup of several upcoming festivals.[34]

Personal life[edit]

Jones has a daughter, Sixteen Jones, born in 2005 from a previous relationship with Die Antwoord bandmate Yolandi Visser.[35] He also has 3 adopted children. Tokkie and his sister Meisie were adopted in 2010, and Jemile was adopted in 2015.[36]

Jones lives in Cape Town.

Discography[edit]

The Original Evergreen[edit]

  • Puff The Magik (1995)

Max Normal[edit]

  • Songs From the Mall (2001)

The Constructus Corporation[edit]

MaxNormal.TV[edit]

  • Rap Made Easy (2007)
  • Good Morning South Africa (2008)

Die Antwoord[edit]

Solo[edit]

  • Memoirs Of A Clone (2001)
  • The Fantastic Kill (2005) (released in 2007 in France as MC Totally Rad And DJ Fuck are Fucknrad)

Filmography[edit]

  • Goeie More Zuid Africa DVD (2008)
  • Tokoloshe (2011)
  • Umshimi Wam (2011)
  • Chappie (2015) – features "Baby's On Fire", "Ugly Boy", "Cookie Thumper" and "Enter the Ninja".[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Anything But Normal (archived)". Levi's Original Music Magazine. 9 September 2008. Archived from the original on 24 March 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  2. ^ Donker Mag (album), Raging Zef Boner (track 5), line 1 and repeated throughout track (lyrics)
  3. ^ "Die Antwoord to sign with Interscope, Neill Blomkamp to direct next video". Boing Boing. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Max Normal - Music, Movies, Merchandise". Web.archive.org. 5 March 2007. Archived from the original on 8 December 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  5. ^ ScreenPrism. "Why cast Die Antwoord in "Chappie"? What is Zef? Was all the obvious product placement good or bad | ScreenPrism". screenprism.com. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  6. ^ Dazed (26 February 2015). "Yo-landi Visser's rise from hood rat to heroine". Dazed. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  7. ^ Barker, Jean (4 February 2010). "24 Facts: Die Antwoord". Channel. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  8. ^ "The Original Evergreen". Discogs. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  9. ^ "Watkin Tudor Jones Jnr.* – Memoirs Of A Clone". Discogs. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  10. ^ "Max Normal". Discogs. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  11. ^ Barker, Jean (4 February 2010). "24 Facts: Die Antwoord". Channel. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Ziggurat – African Dope Records". Africandope.co.za. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  13. ^ "High Energy Shit – Die Antwoord klettern aus dem Netz – Netzpiloten.de". Netzpiloten Magazin (in German). 27 August 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Watkin Tudor Jones – The Fantastic Kill". Discogs. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Fucknrad – MC Totally Rad And DJ Fuck Are Fucknrad". Discogs. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  16. ^ "MaxNormal.TV – Good Morning South Africa". Discogs. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  17. ^ "MaxNormal.TV – Goeie More Zuid Africa". Discogs. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  18. ^ "About". Die Antwoord. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Die Antwoord's Totally Insane Words of Wisdom". Spin. 7 February 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  20. ^ "Die Antwoord leave Interscope, will release "TEN$ION" on their own new indie label". Boing Boing. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  21. ^ "Die Antwoord Reveal 'Donker Mag' LP, Share New Video". exclaim.ca. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  22. ^ "Album Review: Die Antwoord – Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid". DrownedInSound. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  23. ^ ScreenPrism. "Why cast Die Antwoord in "Chappie"? What is Zef? Was all the obvious product placement good or bad | ScreenPrism". screenprism.com. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  24. ^ ZHEANI - THE QUESTION, retrieved 13 February 2020
  25. ^ "What Happened with Zheani and Die Antwoord?!". All Metal Everything. 11 March 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  26. ^ "Aussie Rapper Accuses Die Antwoord Of "Trafficking", Sexual Abuse & More In Explosive New Diss Track". Music Feeds. 21 March 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  27. ^ DIE ANTWOORD - CATFISH #🇦🇺🐱🐟, retrieved 13 February 2020
  28. ^ "Zheani pressing sexual assault charges against Die Antwoord's Ninja". Tone Deaf. 16 September 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  29. ^ Bossi, Dominic (15 September 2019). "Australian woman accuses Die Antwoord singer Ninja of sexual assault". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  30. ^ says, Karrie (29 August 2017). "Hercules and Love Affair's Andy Butler on the Business of Being Gay". The Fullest. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  31. ^ "Die Antwoord axed from festivals for 'homophobic attack' on Andy Butler". NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM. 20 August 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  32. ^ Yolandi makes fake sexual assault allegations. One night in Adelaide., retrieved 13 February 2020
  33. ^ "DIE ANTWOORD". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  34. ^ Norris, Chelsey (26 September 2019). "Die Antwoord Reschedules Dallas Show Amid Controversy. We're Not Surprised". Dallas Observer. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  35. ^ "Meet Sixteen, The Daugther [sic] Of Ninja And Yolani Vi$$er – 2oceansvibe.com". www.2oceansvibe.com. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  36. ^ "YOHO! MAGAZINE". Die Antwoord. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  37. ^ JonathanBarkan (20 February 2015). "Die Antwoord Featured In Latest 'Chappie' Featurette". Bloody Disgusting!. Retrieved 13 February 2020.

External links[edit]