Release Date: Oct 12, 2010
Record label: Interscope
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance, Alternative Rap, Underground Rap
Representing the Lady Gaga Era’s dark underbelly, South Africa’s Die Antwoord are the real “Little Monsters” of their time, brought to fame by a series of videos that looked like David Cronenberg and Keith Haring were co-directing. On their debut album, $O$, the music is just as phantasmagoric, unsettling, and bursting with the same sick humor as their videos, but there’s also the same amount of care put into the product. Even as these incredibly busy hip-hop-meets-rave productions rocket toward the brink of chaos, the listener is harnessed in by layers of hooks and plenty of cheeky musical ideas.
Die Antwoord were always a group of musicians of course, but chances are you didn't first hear about them because of their music. More likely, you first encountered them as a viral video, a meme, a performance art collective, a joke that left you searching for the punchline, or some combination of the above. Hell, when we first profiled the group, it was under the headline "Who the Hell Are Die Antwoord?" Our introduction came last winter, when Boing Boing first posted a pair of their videos.
OK, let’s knock this on the head now. At first, for half a crack-addict’s heartbeat, it was kind of intriguing. [b]Vanilla Ice[/b]’s gold-toothed gypsy thief half-brother, a square fringed boy-girl sidekick thing with a chipmunk voice, some other guy and a video featuring a DJ with progeria (the genetic condition which makes its young sufferers look like they’re in old age) pedalling a new Afrikaans genre called Zef.
South Africa's great white hype, Die Antwoord (Afrikaans for "The Answer") is a NSFW riddle wrapped in an enigma and uploaded to YouTube. The duo – Ninja, a skeletal, tattooed rapper obsessed with his namesake, and sidekick Yo-Landi Vi$$er, an albino nymphet who recently turned down the heroin(e) role in David Fincher's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – represents Zef culture, a controversial new strain of ghetto fabulous, more viral than a cholera outbreak. The band's Interscope debut, $O$, siphons waste-product off Eminem's vulgar Slim Shady-era, the global grime of M.I.A., and Lady Gaga's shocking performance art, injected with the catchiness of a Dr.