Having left Interscope to release Ten$ion under their own label, Zef Recordz, the Cape Town based Zie Antwoord allowed themselves the artistic freedom. The result is a beacon on the horizon for up and coming artists in both the hip hop and world music scene. In the same way that UK’s grime scene celebrated Brixton living matched with intense beats you can’t help but move your head to, Die Antwoord is bringing the new movement known as Zef to the world stage. Glamourising poor but flashy living such as souping up old beater cars, this musical style is certainly not for the faint of heart. For example: Ten$ion is peppered with “Motherfucker”s. Partly inspired by hip hop, but also drum and bass and certainly dubstep, it is perfectly accompanied by the South African accent that Ninja is only too proud to flaunt. Juxtaposed to Ninja’s grating rhymes is the unnerving voice of Yo-Landi Vi$$er, sounding like a gangster baby doll (trust me, that’s a good thing).
And some of these songs… well, they hold up. Highlights include the down and dirty “U Make A Ninja Wanna Fuck”, the duet with harmony “So What”, chronicling the struggle in The Game and juggling a pregnant Visser, and “Baby’s On Fire”… Tell me that last one isn’t destined to be a club anthem. While you’re at it, check out the Interlude, Zefside Zol, and tell me that beat doesn’t remind you of the Whispering Song.
Seriously though, WTF is up with the damn skits? I thought they went out in the 90s. They’re never anything other than awkward at best; Die Antwoord’s are downright creepy. But then, that’s kind of everything about Die Antwoord. From hypersexual lyrics to the aggression in which they are delivered by Ninja (aka Watkin Tudor Jones), and even their famous video for Enter the Ninja; everything is almost artfully designed to make you uncomfortable. Like a haunted house, you’re in it for the full experience, and you can’t help but enjoy the shocks.