With the recent box office success of the Neil Blomkamp film, Chappie, we’ve decided to do a fuller investigation into the movie’s driving engine–namely its stars, South African rap rave group Die Antwoord. We’ve assembled an all-star cast of music video reviewers including one person wholly unfamiliar with the Die Antwoord catalog. Be sure to watch along and leave your own thoughts in the comment section if you’re so moved.
Your reviewers are:
Katie: Katie is a zef unicorn, sugar wizard. Deal with it. She is sooooo bored right now.
Benoit: Benoît Lelièvre in an author/blogger living in Montreal, Canada. You can read him 5 times a week on Dead End Follies (This was his first real exposure to Die Antwoord)
Whitmer: Benjamin Whitmer is the author of Pike, Satan is Real, and most recently, Cry Father.
Nathan: Nathan Singer is a musician, novelist, playwright, experimental performance artist from Cincinnati.
Ben L: Ben LeRoy is caught up in all kinds of stuff, not the least of which is watching random videos on Youtube.
I FINK YOU FREEKY:
Katie: i hate ninja’s mustache in this video SO MUCH. like, if i were going to draw you a picture of a creep, it would be this guy. (1:37)
two words: CHICKEN SLAP.(1:45)
ninja! you are good at rapping (especially after a good chicken slap?) i am surprised based on that mustache. really, though. you can actually do it!
weirdo dance party at the end is exactly what i feel like is happening inside of yolandi’s head during her bath times.
Benoit: There’s a party in the sewers. Not many people are attending if you don’t count the rats, but the important is that they have fun. They are wearing elements of disguises, but they’re not disguised as anything in particular. Would you call that deconstruction?
Ben L.: I’m pretty sure this is the first Die Antwoord video I ever paid attention to, and that after the first viewing, I watched it straight through a hundred times trying to figure out if I thought Die Antwoord was the most terrible thing I’d ever seen, the most brilliant, the most disturbing or what exactly. I’ve seen a lot of stuff in my life, I still don’t know what box this goes into. Ninja has some unfortunate personal grooming choices, but he actually rides the beat much better than I would have ever expected (and he fucks up that chicken with a backhand while doing it). If I were going to build an argument for Ninja being a legitimate MC and not just a gimmicky one trick pony, this would likely be my opening argument. He is so smooth through the tempo change while mixing in English and Afrikaans and a bunch of words I think he made up, I had to begrudgingly (before I was converted) give him my meaningless stamp of approval.
Whitmer: This is the first video I ever saw of theirs. My buddies Jay Halsey and April Sheffler showed it to me. I was sold from the get-go. I have a picture of Yolandi doing her bite-lipped snarl on my desktop, and when I get stuck writing, I just sit there and stare at it. For hours.
Nathan: 00:32 and we’ve got our first passion gap. Aaaaaaaaand it’s a 9 year old boy. Die Antwoord, why do you want us all to go to prison? || I suppose this goes without saying, but Yolandi has atrocious taste in men. || Ninja’s verse in this is pretty tight, but I can’t focus on it because I cannot make sense of the super-skinny kid with the 10 inch proboscis dancing in his underpants. The rest of the video is freaky in a “ooooo, isn’t this freaky?” sort of way, but the nose kid . . . what gives? Is that actually his nose? Are we supposed to think it is? || Bugs in the fried eggs should be the least of their worries.
BABY’S ON FIRE:
Katie: yo-landi wore that outfit in chappie (where there was also a plug for redbull).
is this supposed to be a parody of white people? (everyone is so pale, and shallow).
OH! I GET IT! this is the song with the neill blomkamp line. this makes more sense now.
man, ninja is a total cockblock. i’m glad yolandi hit him with a brick. now he doesn’t have any front teeth, either!
Benoit: A German albino family is making ironic advertisement for Red Bull. Everything about the family is depicted with pastel colours, I think it’s supposed to symbolize the unreal.I think it’s supposed to represent the duality of human desire in a cheeky fashion, but I could be mistaken. Nobody ever desires to become normal.
Ben L: Yolandi utters her most truthful lyrics here—
I’m a wild child, I don’t wanna go to bed
Oh, shit, sorry man, I’m stoned again
Ooh, now everythings getting so psychedelic
When I’m doos dronk then I forget all my fokken lyrics
Like um, uh, who gives a fuck?
This song is also super notable because it’s where Yolandi manifests her future with the Neil Blomkamp is making me a movie star line.
Whitmer: This is one of theirs that doesn’t do nothing for me. I mean, I still grinned the whole way through, but it’s kinda like Chappie. You take out the profanity, drugs and violence — and I’m all for those things — what you have is something kinda cute and relatively innocuous.
Nathan: Landi and Ninja are brother and sister in this one. Bonus: Yo-landi’s t-shirt says ‘Who Need Tits?’ || 00:53 “Dad” checks out her ass. I think I may need to go eat bleach already, and the music hasn’t even started yet. || 2:28 music starts. I enjoyed Yo-landi’s prayer. I also often thank the Lord for Satan. And by Satan I mean Die Antwoord’s dog. || Pikachu slippers and a framed photo of Mr. T on the wall. Just as it should be.
FATTY BOOM BOOM:
Katie: i usually zone out during the beginning of this video, but i know they hate lady gaga i am bored. bring me catchy earworms. also, is that nicki minaj painted onto a monster farting out some probably other terrible band on a mural behind the guy with the panther? (0:51) of course it is. if i had conventional nightmares, they would be the scary all black shiny dancing things. scratch that. not just the shiny stuff. ALL THE DANCING IS SCARY. the camerawork is intensifying my scaredness.
Benoit: This music is good, but the video is kind of upsetting. It’s supposed to make fun of racist, and glorify the culture of soccer, but it fails at not being racist. This is annoyingly conceptual. I like the black and white flashes though, somehow.
Ben L: I’m not gonna lie. This video scares the shit out of me. Not because Nise Lady Gaga gets killed, but because I’m headed to South Africa this summer and I imagine this is what my life is going to be like. Shit looks rough. This video probably causes seizures, definitely causes nightmares, and, in keeping with Die Antwoord tradition is an actual work of art. It’s visually arresting and makes you think, but is ultimately devoid of easy answers when it comes to “what is this about?” “what does X represent?”
Whitmer: I read Yolandi in blackface with dollar signs on her eyes as some kinda self-reflexive postmodern commentary on white hip-hop’s appropriation of black culture, somewhat like Bob Dylan naming one of his albums after a book about blackface minstrelsy and the American working class. But, really, fuck Lady Gaga.
Nathan: Fun fact: naughty or not, hyenas are actually felines, not canines. || Is it backward of me to think that a cult act like Die Antwoord clowning on a superstar like Lady Gaga is picking low-hanging fruit? || Blackface. She’s . . . she’s in blackface. It’s just . . . okay. Blackface.
Katie: having front teeth in south africa and hanging out with die antwoord is not terribly common. i wonder why this is? Yolandi just peed on the stairs. (3:53) you saw her do it and you’re still like, weirdly attracted to that lanky alien. don’t deny it. somehow, i don’t think this song is about cookies…but, i did see a legit kitty!
Benoit: The promiscuous girl from the first video is walking through the African ghetto, buying some drugs and seducing unwitting people. She’s a good girl who loves bad boys from South African prison. The hours from BABY’S ON FIRE is in this video, but its colours have faded. I think it’s the best song of the lot.
Ben L.: Yolandi? Blink three times if you need somebody to bust you out of that reform school. It’s clear you run the place, kinda, but I feel like you’re going to keep getting into worse trouble and then you’ll keep getting sentenced to longer terms (held back a grade?). Also, we should have a talk about your choice in late night company.
Whitmer: “26’s work with money; 27’s work with blood.” I thought of the mall ninjas you see at gunshows who always try to sell you on a gun by saying, “This one’s used by people who shoot for blood or money.” Meaning soldiers/cops/mercenaries or competitive shooters. Which is all horseshit anyways, but that seems to me the fundamental tension in Die Antwoord: Are they working for blood or money? Man, I want to say they’re working for blood. But sometimes, and this is one, I’m thinking it’s money.
Nathan: I think I like Ninja behind the camera better than in front of it. || Anies’s passion gap is on point. || Anie’s apparent hard-on for the US would make the average NASCAR fan go, “Whoa there, hoss. Let’s dial it back a notch.” || So apparently Afrikaner orphan girls are required to wear uniforms, but not shoes. || “Sny-sny jou snoekie cookie” translates to English as “Cut-cut your little fishy cake.” That doesn’t help me in the slightest. || Africaans does not rest comfortably in the mouth as a language. || I understand that the narrative about who Ninja and Yo-landi actually are is fluid from video to video song to song, so I can accept that she is an orphan here for the purposes of this video. But then, where is she coming from at the beginning of this video? And why is she wearing a school back pack? || Further to that, if Yo-landi is an orphan, how old is she supposed to be in this video? How old can orphans be in South Africa? I mean . . . should I turn this off right now? And then retroactively go back and not watch it all those previous times? || Compared to other Die Antwoord songs and videos this one is fairly straight forward. I mean, it holds together pretty logically from beginning to eeeeeeehhhhh . . . . she just pissed on the steps. || Actual cookie thumping apparently rather unpleasant.
FOK JULLE NAIERS:
Katie: hey! anies is in this video! (0:11)
ew, so is ninja’s mustache. (well, just the tips…) ugh. so gross.
i have no idea what yolandi is saying, but, she could get away with anything in an anime onesie.
DJ HI TEK needs to work on his manners. he’s not a nice guy. (3:45)
Benoit: This is an odd mix of Metallica’s Unforgiven, Ice-T’s Copkiller and and Prodigy. There are barechested men mean mugging and a spiders crawling across the singer’s face. I think these people are hipsters, but they are so aggressive, I’m not sure. I’m confused, and mildly frightened.
Ben L: I think I read somewhere that “Fok Julle Naiers” translates to “Fuck all of the Haters” or at least that’s what I told myself before I got the tattoo. Some Die Antwoord lyrics are more earworm-y than others, this song has multiples that I find myself saying all the time. The two most frequent ones are – “Motherfuckers tell me to slow my roll, but sorry, no can do.” AND “I’m zef like a young Hugh Heff, oh yes, may my enemies live long so they can see me progress.”
Whitmer: This is what multiculturalism looks like. Or should. Reminded me of the movie Gummo. (Which, not incidentally, was made about one of the places I grew up.)
Nathan: 45 straight seconds of intense, jacked-up looking shirtless dudes. Even before Ninja’s appearance you know this is a Die Antwoord joint. || Yo-landi’s dressed like a pokemon furry, because of course she is.
ENTER THE NINJA:
Katie: this video is my favorite, both because it was my first introduction to this monkey-bait world, but also because everyone is so damn sincere. i mean, ninja IS SO SERIOUS. yolandi dances like she’s never meant anything more in her LIFE and i believe it.
another thing i love about this video is that ninja doesn’t have that MUSTACHE.
the lyrics to this song are amazing. a personal favorite involves “yin to the yang”. really brings me back to this sweet yin yang friendship necklace my bff and i had. so 90s.
ALL UP IN THE INTERWEB. WORLDWIDE. 2009. (mic drop).
Benoit: A gutter person, a promiscuous girl and an ageless, sexless progeria-afflicted person are pretending to be people they are not. Maybe they’re just being ironic and make fun of people who actually need to transcend their hopeless reality. How am I supposed to know? It’s like unwittingly sitting between two chairs.
Ben L: Yolandi is soooo earnest in this one. Ninja is clearly wrestling between knowing he has legit skills, he’s making a splash with a new gimmick, and isn’t sure which way to steer the car, so he splits it into multiple places and shoots it out of a machine gun cannon. The best line is his throwback to Eddie Murphy’s THE GOLDEN CHILD when he says, “I I I I want the knife.”
Whitmer: The first thing I liked about Ninja was his tattoos. When we were teenagers, me and my friends used to mark each other with sewing needles, or carve ’em out with razor blades and rub in India ink. There need to be more bad tattoos. I’m sick of the world being tattooed like Miley Cyrus. I love this video. I feel like it shoulda come on some DVD I shoplifted in a southern Ohio flea market.
P.S. Nathan wanted you all to see this picture of Yolandi and Ninja as proud parents of their daughter, Sixteen.