We live on a very large planet. We American’s like to believe that we are part of a global culture, contributing equally to to the world and taking in just as much from other cultures. This simply is not true. For me personally, I like to think I have pretty diverse tastes in music. Sure, my collection of CD’s, LP’s, digital downloads, cassette tapes and what have you is going to take up a large part of my moving truck in December, but every once in a while something comes from somewhere on this fucked up rock from a human experience so far removed from my life that just kind of twists my brain, kicks it and then tears it in half and I have to regenerate a whole new world view that includes this new information. That happened when I watched the “Evil Boy” video by South African hip-hop group Die Antwoord. Check it out below and then get back to me.
Right? That video is pretty tripped out. I mean, it has shit in it that I’ve never seen or conjured up in my damaged brain in all my 33 years. So, once again, I was asked to accept something into my sonic lexicon that I never previously considered and so took a chance and picked up $O$, the debut album from Die Antwoord. This ten song release is extracted from a bigger, digital download release with the same name that hit the internet last year and grabbed the attention of a greater global audience.
I must say, I am interested more in the visuals of Die Antwoord more than the music out the gate, but luckily for them, their vocalists conjure a visual images through the sheer annunciation . Both Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er have such unique, disturbing vocal deliveries that all kinds of weird images terrorize my caffeine addicted mind. Yo-Landi’s voice reminds me of some alien robot sent to this planet to terrorize it and kill everyone it comes across with contempt. Ninja has a kind of slacker, sarcastic delivery but pops with such great diction at the same time. It bounces off the beats and rhythmic tones that make up the structure of the low rent music, most of which sounds like it’s being strung through a shitty car stereo they found in a junk yard.
This is a debut that has a lot to live up to. It shows hints of genius (“Evil Boy” and “Enter the Ninja” are two very strong tracks) but Die Antwoord might have bigger eyes than talent. I hope they don’t suffer the same fate as Lady Sovereign, who I thought would be ruling the world by now, but fell off so fast, it’s sad and not funny. I bring up The SOV for a reason though. She was another internet buzz sensation from across the pond, dropped a strong, if lopsided debut album, succumbed to the pressures of touring and then released and album no one heard. Die Antwoord has great buzz in the States now, but is this something they can maintain over a career? Die Antwoord are delivering sounds to an American public that are laden with fickle, ADD infected ears, not accustom to these bizarre sounds, languages and ideas that being presented. Dark, scary, fucked up videos will certainly grab our attentions, but what will Die Antwoord do to keep our attention. From what I’ve read, Die Antwoord seem to have big, expansive plans. For their sake, I hope America can catch up to the rest of the planet and let their ears grow accustom to the sounds and style they deliver.