I have been waiting for Die Antwoord to make a false move. It’s easier to dismiss popular music in 2012 as vapid, formulaic nonsense. It allows us to snuggle up to the tried and trusted classics. New music ? Not as good as the old music. But this South African rave-rap crew are a trashy, provocative, funny cartoon of a band who’s tunes make you sit up and pay attention. Just like so much of my favourite pop music.
“Fatty Boom Boom” is not their best but the video is a zinger. The lyrics nail current American rap. “Now I do not wanna stop, collaborate & listen”. The Western view of South African streets, filled with garbage, gangsters and wild animals, is lampooned, as is the queen of cultural tourism, Lady Ga Ga (Mrs Brainwash as she is known round our house). That thing with the prawn ? Well you mess with things you don’t understand then weird stuff can happen.
Die Antwoord have not always been sure-footed. The look of self-disgust on Ninja’s face after the appearance on “Letterman” is priceless. Doing the things you don’t want to do. Live they do not fill the stage like they do the screen. However the videos are state of the art at the moment and Yo-Landi is the best female pop star since Blondie stepped out of CBGBs.
“I Fink U Freeky” has 18 million views on Y-tube. Check the extended “Baby’s On Fire” video while the 15 minute short film (on the tube) made with Harmony Korine is essential if you want to know about cinema in 2012. I have heard none of this on the radio. I have no idea if they are gonna blow up or go away. The videos are not suitable for work and, probably, not suitable for children. However, this is what your children are watching on their computers. Music that shocks and divides opinion…now there’s an idea.