Monday, January 14, 2013


"Enter the Ninja"

It's easy to remember the first time you heard—or rather, saw—Die Antwoord (Afrikaans for "The Answer"). The bombastic, rhyme-slinging hip-hop duo from South Africa likely appeared before you on a computer screen circa 2010. Chances are it was their video for "Enter the Ninja," or maybe "Zef Side"—in either event, your eyes and ears were at once assaulted, confused, and enraptured. Here was a bone-skinny white dude, deathly angry, flopping around in a pair of Pink Floyd boxer shorts, shouting at you in language you couldn't comprehend. What Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser, the coed twosome that comprise Die Antwoord, came armed with was mind-warped, aggro-hip-hop rife with Afrikaan phrases and South African slumdog culture; they also had hair the likes of which had never been seen before. They refer themselves as "zef" which Ninja explains the term as the innermost part of person's flex or energy, Die Antwoord being the point of zef peak. Most fans just look forward to finally figuring out what this "zef" culture the group keeps alluding to means: Reuters calls it "an Afrikaans term loosely meaning redneck," but then again, as The Ninja himself definitively explained to New York magazine, "We not trash, we are fuckin' fancy." Zef Side isn't really about appearances, though bizarre style contributes, it relies mainly on the raw burst of emotion and thought in self, community, culture, race, and sex dealt not only in South Africa but in the world. The Vine asks Die Antwoord, "So what is 'the answer'?" Ninja replies "Thats for you to decide and for us to find out."

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