Die Antwoord (Afrikaans for "The Answer") is a hip hop group from Cape Town, South Africa, consisting of three members: Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek.
Die Antwoord lead vocalist Ninja (born Watkin Tudor Jones) was part of the South African hip-hop scene for many years, fronting acts such as The Original Evergreens, MaxNormal.TV and The Constructus Corporation. He is known for adopting different stage personas. In the case of Die Antwoord, his persona is Ninja: a vulgar and aggressive character who is very different from his previous incarnations. When asked whether Ninja was a character he said, "Ninja is, how can I say, like Superman is to Clark Kent. The only difference is, I don't take off this fokken Superman suit."
Die Antwoord was created as a group in 2008, consisting of performers Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er (Yolandi Visser), and DJ Hi-Tek. 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 and Isaac Mutant, and Jack Parow and Jaak Paarl (aka Jaak). In 2009 South African cinematographer Rob Malpage (along with co-director Ninja) shot the video for their single "Enter the Ninja." The video became popular on the internet nine months later, delivering millions of hits to the official Die Antwoord website. Their original South African hosting provider, Hetzner, disabled their hosting account following massive bandwidth overage caused by the traffic following the site launch. The group was forced to move their website to a US-based hosting provider to handle the traffic. The "Enter The Ninja" video also features the late Leon Botha, a prominent Cape Town artist who was one of the world's oldest and most well known survivors of progeria.. Following the success of the video, Ninja and Yo-Landi were flown business class to Los Angeles where they signed a record deal with Interscope Records, home of artists including Dr Dre, Eminem, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Marilyn Manson and Lady Gaga. In April 2010, Die Antwoord performed their first international concert at the Coachella Music Festival in Palm Springs, California, in front of 40,000 people.
Following this, Die Antwoord went on to perform songs from their debut album, $O$, all over the United States (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia, Texas, Nashville, Washington D.C, Baltimore, Seattle, Portland, and Atlanta). They went on to perform in Canada, UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, France, Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Hungary, Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic, Serbia, Poland, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.
At the end of 2010, Die Antwoord won the Myspace 'Best Music Video of 2010' award for their debut video, Enter The Ninja.
In November 2011, Die Antwoord left Interscope Records over a dispute concerning their upcoming album and its lead single, Fok Julle Naaiers. Die Antwoord formed their own independent label, Zef Recordz, and will release their new album through it.
Die Antwoord performs music which incorporates many Zef elements and references. According to the band, Zef is a South African slang term that describes a unique South African style which is modern and trashy and also includes out-of-date, discarded cultural and style elements. Both Ninja and Yolandi have offered definitions of zef. Yolandi was quoted as saying, "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.
In an interview with Exclaim! magazine, 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 for the song "Wat Kyk Jy?" (Afrikaans for "What Are You Looking At?") with American filmmaker Harmony Korine. The short film premiered at SXSW as "Umshini Wam" and features "furry costumes, wheelchairs, a music video breakdown, and plenty of zef slang". The film is available online.
The single Evil Boy 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 5.1 million views as of 12 Oct 2011.
The band began touring Europe in April 2010 and the USA and Canada later that same year. Shortly after, they joined the 2011 Big Day Out circuit which took them to New Zealand and Australia to much commercial success, sharing back-to-back, sold-out sideshows with English artist M.I.A..
- 2009 $O$ (MP3, album, self-released)
- 2010 $O$ (revised version) (CD, album, Cherrytree Records) U.S. #109
- 2012 Ten$Ion
- EP singles
- 2010 5 (CD, EP, Cherrytree Records)
- 2010 Ekstra (CD, EP, Cherrytree Records)
|2009||"Wat Pomp" (feat. Jack Parow)||-||$O$|
|2010||"Enter the Ninja"||37||5|
|2010||"Evil Boy" (feat. Wanga)||-||$O$|
|2011||"Fok Julle Naaiers"||-||Ten$ion|
|2012||"I Fink U Freeky"||-||Ten$ion|
- Hodgson, Jaimie, Die Antwoord And 'Zef'South Africa's Biggest Non-Existent Scene, 9 February 2010.
- Jardin, Xeni (7 June 2011). A farewell to Leon Botha from Die Antwoord's Ninja and Yolandi. Boing Boing.
- Barker, Jean, 24 Facts: Die Antwoord.
- Holnaaier, Kobus. STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE'S PIEL.
- 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Bosch, Marius, S.African Afrikaans rappers takes Internet by storm, 5 February 2010.
- Davis, Andy, 15 Minutes with a NINJA, 3 July 2010.
- Die Antwoord - Enter the Ninja Music Video, 3 February 2010.
- Jardin, Xeni, Die Antwoord, S. African zef-rap, and Progeria survivor Leon Botha, 3 February 2010.
- Die Antwoord
- Fairbanks, Eve, Johannesburgs Most Wanted, 26 January 2012. URL accessed on 26 January 2012.
- Take No Prisoners - Interview with Die Antwoord. Youtube.
- Hoby, Hermione, Die Antwoord: 'Are we awful or the best thing in the universe?', 12 September 2010.
- Culhane, Dylan, Die Antwoord - Zef So Fresh.
- .Dart, Chris, Die Antwoord, August 2010.
- Harmony Korine and Die Antwoord to Do Damage Together ANIMAL
- See The Die Antwoord Short Film 'Umshini Wam'
- Die Antwoord - Evil Boy (Explicit Version) - YouTube
- M I A and Die Antwoord announce intimate BDO sideshows in Sydney and Melbourne | the AU review
- M.I.A with Die Antwoord - Big Day Out Sideshows 2011 - M.I.A at Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW on 28 Jan 11
- [Die Antwoord at All Music Guide Charts], Allmusic
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
- Analysis of the $O$ album from South African magazine Mahala