Watkin Tudor Jones

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Watkin Tudor Jones
Die Antwoord Ninja on the street.jpg
Jones in December 2012
Background information
Birth name Watkin Tudor Jones
Also known as Ninja
Max Normal
The Man Who Never Came Back
MC Totally Rad
Yang Weapon
Born (1974-09-26) 26 September 1974 (age 42)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Years active 1993–present
Associated acts Yolandi Visser
The Original Evergreen
The Constructus Corporation
Die Antwoord

Watkin Tudor Jones (born 26 September 1974),[4] also known by his stage name Ninja and formerly Max Normal, is a South African rapper, record producer, and actor, best known for his role as frontman of rap-rave group Die Antwoord.

Jones comes from Johannesburg, South Africa where he attended Parktown Boys' High School. Jones left school in 1992, one year before graduating. He spends his time between Los Angeles and Cape Town.

Jones was a part of the South African hip-hop scene for many years. He has had many different stage personas, including with the Sibot-produced The Fantastic Kill and Markus Wormstorm-produced promo-only EP "Emmanuel Rothchild - My Favourite Songs" and "Markus Wormstorm Is Not Gay", and fronting such acts as The Original Evergreen, MaxNormal.TV and The Constructus Corporation.[5] He is best known as Ninja from Die Antwoord.

Jones has embarked on various other endeavors, notably graphic art and stuffed animal making.

Yolandi Visser, Jones's former partner[6] has been a frequent collaborator and is also a member of Die Antwoord. The two have a daughter together, named Sixteen.[7]

Max Normal[edit]

Jones was the lead vocalist of Max Normal, a live hip hop act, which released their debut album entitled Songs From The Mall in 2001. The band performed at various festivals around South Africa, including Up the Creek, Splashy Fen, and Oppikoppi. They also played in London and three shows at the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium.[8] A second version of this band evolved into the 'corporate' hip-hop group MaxNormal.tv in which they released an album, Good Morning South Africa, in 2008 with a sound not unlike the later-formed and more well-known group "Die Antwoord." They were a South African hip-hop crew that performed live wearing three-piece suits while frontman MaxNormal delivered his motivational speaking style raps to the audience. He also illustrated his lyrics to help the audience follow which were projected onto a big screen above the live performers and are triggered live to the beat by Max's personal assistant, Yolandi Visser, in a PowerPoint presentation style.

In early 2002, Jones disbanded Max Normal, just as the band was reaching South African stardom, headlining festivals like Oppikoppi and charting on 5FM (citing being creatively stifled as reason). He relocated to Cape Town and began collaborating with DJ Dope of Krushed & Sorted and Felix Laband on the music for a multi-media project he had conceptualised involving a graphic novel with soundtrack and live show. These sessions spawned the Man Who Never Came Back track on African Dope's Cape Of Good Dope compilation in 2002, but gradually mutated into The Constructus Corporation outfit. Yolandi Visser, listed as Anica The Snuffling on the credits, was also involved.

The Constructus Corporation[edit]

When Jones disbanded Max Normal in early 2002, he and long-time DJ partner Sibot invited Markus Wormstorm and Felix Laband to collaborate on his ambitious The Constructus Corporation project, which resulted in the concept album / graphic novel The Ziggurat (ADOPECD009 African Dope Records 2002).[9]

After a production process including mix and master by Krushed & Sorted, In June 3rd, 2002, "The Ziggurat" was released. This is an 88-page pink hard-covered book containing a hand-written hiphop fantasy story by Jones, which follows the adventures of two kids on a giant futuristic floating world / shopping mall called The Ziggurat, with detailed etched digital illustrations by artist Nikhil Singh, a soundtrack CD on which Jones plays several different characters, and a bonus blank CD at the back of the book with instructions on where to download an entire second album of music and narrations for free, with which to fill the CD. The Constructus Corporation disbanded in 2003 after releasing The Ziggurat.

Die Antwoord[edit]

Main article: Die Antwoord

Die Antwoord is a rap-rave group formed in 2008 and composed of Ninja, Yolandi Visser and DJ Hi-Tek.[10] The band self-identifies as a melange of several diverse cultures all mixed into one.[10] Die Antwoord toured Europe in April 2010 and the U.S. later that same year.[10] Their debut album $O$ was made available as a free download on their official website.[11] In late 2009 South African cinematographer Rob Malpage co-directed (with Jones), co-produced (with Left Films and Die Antwoord) and lensed the video for their single "Enter the Ninja".[12] The promo became a viral video on the internet nine months later, delivering millions of hits to the official Die Antwoord website, eventually crashing the website's server.[10] The video also features South African progeria sufferer Leon Botha, a prominent Cape Town artist.[13] Die Antwoord performs "Zef" music, zef being a South African slang term that describes a unique South African style which is modern while including out-of-date, discarded cultural and style elements.[10] Their lyrics are humorous and explicit, and performed in both Afrikaans and English.[10][11][14] Members of the band consider themselves as hip hop artists, but specifically refer to their music as zef rap-rave.[15]

Die Antwoord
Yolandi during a gig in Vancouver, BC 
Yolandi and Ninja at El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles 
Ninja crowdsurfing during a gig at Coachella 

Acting career[edit]

Jones has appeared in nonspeaking roles in various South African Nando's Commercials with South African comedian Marc Lottering.[16]

In 1995's direct-to-video film sequel Kickboxer 5,[17][18] Jones had a supporting role as a prison inmate.

In 2011, Jones along with Yolandi Visser starred in the short film "Umshini Wam" which is a popular Zulu struggle song meaning "bring me my machine gun" and was directed by Harmony Korine.

In 2015, Jones, along with Yolandi Visser, costarred in Neill Blomkamp's science-fiction film Chappie.[19] The film features the songs "Baby's On Fire", "Ugly Boy", "Cookie Thumper" and "Enter the Ninja" from his band Die Antwoord.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Jones was born in Johannesburg in 1974. He has a daughter named Sixteen with Yolandi Visser.[7] Sixteen occasionally appears in Die Antwoord videos, including "I Fink U Freeky" together with Watkin's relative, Marthinus. Jones has stated that he and Visser are not in a relationship.[21]

Jones frequently contradicts himself about his personal history: he has stated that he and Yolandi have known each other since childhood,[22] but has also said they met as adults. He has stated that his father has been shot and his brother took his own life.[23]


With The Original Evergreen
  • Puff The Magik (1995) single
As a solo artist
  • Memoirs of a Clone (2001 Chameleon records)
  • The Fantastic Kill (2005)
With Max Normal
  • Songs From The Mall (2001 Chameleon records)
With The Constructus Corporation
As The Man Who Never Came Back
  • Cryptycism on Cape Town Beats (2007) single
With Fucknrad
  • MC Totally Rad And DJ Fuck Are Fucknrad (2007)
As MaxNormal.TV
  • Good Morning South Africa (2008)
With Die Antwoord

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Anything But Normal (archived)". Levi's Original Music Magazine. 9 September 2008. Archived from the original on 2010-03-24. 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 2015-09-06. 
  4. ^ "Max Normal - Music, Movies, Merchandise". Web.archive.org. 2007-03-05. Archived from the original on 8 December 2007. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  5. ^ Barker, Jean. "24 Facts: Die Antwoord". Channel24. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  6. ^ Daryl Keating (2016-09-12). "Die Antwoord: The Complete Interview". Exclaim.ca. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  7. ^ a b Coetzer, Diane (31 January 2012). "Die Antwoord: The Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone Magazine (South African Edition). Rolling Stone. p. 1. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Ziggurat - African Dope Records". Africandope.co.za. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "S.African Afrikaans rappers takes Internet by storm | Oddly Enough | Reuters". Af.reuters.com. 2010-02-05. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  11. ^ a b "Die Antwoord | 15 Minutes with a NINJA". Mahala. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  12. ^ "Die Antwoord - Enter the Ninja Music Video". Dontparty.co.za. 2015-09-02. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  13. ^ Jardin, Xeni (2010-02-03). "Die Antwoord, S. African zef-rap, and Progeria survivor Leon Botha - Boing Boing". M.boingboing.net. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  14. ^ "Wat Pomp Lyrics | Die Antwoord English Song Translation". Latinrapper.com. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  15. ^ [2][dead link]
  16. ^ "– Work is a sideline, live the holiday. Cape Town Lifestyle. – Watkin Tudor Jones Nando's Commercial – Before He Became Ninja From Die Antwoord". 2oceansvibe.com. 2011-03-29. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  17. ^ "Ninja prison fight in Kickboxer 5". YouTube. 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  18. ^ "The Redemption: Kickboxer 5 (1995)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  19. ^ "Meet 'Chappie', the Real Gangster In This New Clip". Bloody-disgusting.com. 2015-02-20. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  20. ^ "Die Antwoord Featured In Latest 'Chappie' Featurette". Bloody-disgusting.com. 2015-02-20. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  21. ^ "Die Antwoord ~ Straight From The Horse'S Piel". YouTube. 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  22. ^ "Die Antwoord - Zef Side (Official)". YouTube. 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  23. ^ "Die Antwoord Mu nosic Video Commentary - Meltdown Event". YouTube. 2015-01-31. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 

External links[edit]