Nobody really understands Die Antwoord. All we really have to go on is that they’re a ‘next level rap-rave krew’ comprised of a skinny white MC with a box cut and Pollsmoor chappies and a potty-mouthed, bottle-blonde bitchette in gold spandex, often joined on stage by Mitchell’s Plain gangster rappers and a DJ with progeria syndrome. Oh, and since debuting earlier this year they’ve wrangled up an aggressively dedicated legion of fans who generally shout along to every single track at live shows, punch random strangers in the face and then pass out in a steaming puddle of Jägermesiter vomit. Do the disgruntled Afrikaans youth of our land have a new pair of anti-heroes to worship? That is the rhetorical question we’ll lead in with.
VICE: An introduction please.
Ninja: Yo, wat pomp? I’m Ninja (shows tattoo on hand), and this is my homegirl Yo-Landi
Vi$$er. We’re kicking it here by Snoekies, at the harbour in Houtbaai.
Yo-Landi: That’s right. Just eating a chip roll and some fish.
VICE: How’s your day working out so far?
Ninja: Fokken lekker. I just made up this track today thinking of that whole Yin-Yang concept we were talking about. The lyrics was going something like, um… Yin, Yang/Yin, Yang/Good, Bad/Happy, Sad/Kwaai, Kak/Life’s tough (beat box)… It’s gonna be duidelik.
VICE: Right. So, are you hip-hop or what?
Ninja: Ja we’re from the hip-hop family, but we do rap-rave next level shit. Die Antwoord started with my one homeboy, DJ Hi-Tek (shows tattoo on hand)—He’s got his own PC computer and he makes basically like phat rap-rave beats. I was checking out his shit, and we started making some beats, you know, next level shit. So then I was speaking to my homegirl Yo-Landi, you know she’s got some funk and super flavour, so we started with a kind of, like, 2Unlimited, C+C Music Factory kind of thing… but a bit more gangster, with a street edge. Then we found out you can put the songs for free on the interweb, no problem. Now the album’s pumping worldwide, like some next-level futuristic shit. Scotland, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Japan… In like, one second we’re in the overseas, it’s instant—like the matrix.
VICE: Umm, rave’s been a bit quiet lately.
Yo-Landi: It’s never been quiet in our homes.
Ninja: Here in South Africa the taxis play rave music fokken loud my bru. You can hear it from the next city when the taxi comes through, you hear DOOM DOOM DOOM—they gooi the rap-rave megamixes pumping like a nightclub. So my main inspiration is the taxis. The whole album is based on the sound it’s gonna make when it’s pumping through a taxi—It’s that high energy shit you can’t compare.
Yo-Landi: Our whole philosophy basically is, like, drive fast and play kak music loud. It’s a zef rap-rave jol, with lasers, smoke machines, 3D graphics, rappers… and everyone’s gonna be there.
Ninja: Zef is our flavour, our style. It means fucking cool. But even more cool than fucking cool. No one can fuck with your shit. Zef’s the ultimate style, basically.
VICE: You reckon zef rap-rave in Afrikaans has any potential beyond, say Sunnyside or Parow?
Ninja: Our first album we decided to dig into our own personal flavour and just keep it real you know, and represent where we’re coming from and how we speak. The next album we’re working on is called Ten$ion, and on this album we want to rap more like tour guides of South Africa, like maintain our SA style and flavour but still bring it for people in the overseas to understand… with like 95% English and then just a bit of Afrikaans
Yo-Landi: Afrikaans for all the swearing bits.
Ninja: To sum it all up, in this place, South Africa, you get a lot of different things: whites, coloureds, English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu, watookal—I’m like all these different things, all these different people, fucked into one person.
VICE: That may be true sir, but nobody from South Africa ever really makes it overseas. You do realise that?
Ninja: Ja, check it, but it’s like the long distance runners from Ethiopia—they always come to the Olympics and fuck everyone up heavy! Now why is that possible my blaar? It’s ‘cos in Ethiopia the air is fucking thin. There’s like fuck-all air there basically, so when they come to the levels of the Olympics they’ve got like super oxygenated lungs and fuck everyone up ten-nil. So that’s basically how I’m feeling about this; South Africa’s the fucking shit. All my inspiration, all my funk, all my flavour is from here but also we’re training at minimum oxygen levels, so I’m basically like a Ethiopian runner just waiting for the fucking Olympics. Give me the mic, give me the baton and we’ll see whose gonna take these motherfuckers out. I’m feeling that shit, I’ve got fucking goosebumps my bru.
Yo-Landi: Mmm, these pickled onions are very nice
Ninja: Ja these onions are pumping.