Die Antwoord, Afrikaans for “The Answer”, is a South African rap-rave group formed in Cape Town in 2008. The group’s members are rappers Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek. Their image involves a counterculture movement called “zef” and the influence of photographer Roger Ballen.
The “zef” culture can be described as modern and trashy, appropriating out-of-date, discarded cultural elements. Yo-Landi said, “It’s associated with people who soup their cars up and rock gold and shit. Zef is, you’re poor but you’re fancy. You’re poor but you’re sexy, you’ve got style.” Their lyrics are performed in Afrikaans, Xhosa, and English
Die Antwoord released their debut studio album, $O$ (2009), online for free and attracted international attention for their music video for “Enter the Ninja”. After briefly signing with Interscope Records, they founded their own label in 2011, Zef Recordz, through which they released their second and third studio albums, Ten$Ion (2012) and Donker Mag (2014), respectively.
Die Antwoord is known for their cult following, in particular the unusually prolific creation of fan art by their followers. Some of their music videos have incorporated artwork by the noted photographer Roger Ballen.
Albums: $O$ (2009), Ten$ion (2012), Donker Mag (2014)
Eps: 5, Ekstra
Awards and recognition: Following the success of the video “Enter the Ninja” which garnered over fifteen million views by 2014, Die Antwoord signed a record deal with Interscope Records. In April 2010, they performed their first international concert at the Coachella Music Festival, in front of 40,000 people. They then toured internationally in support of $O$. Shortly after, they joined the 2011 Big Day Out circuit which took them to New Zealand and Australia, sharing back-to-back sold-out sideshows with M.I.A. At the end of 2010, Die Antwoord won the Myspace Best Music Video of 2010 award for their debut video, “Enter the Ninja”.
After disputes with Interscope Records, Die Antwoord formed their own independent label, Zef Recordz, and released their new album Ten$ion through it. The release was in association with the Good Smile Company (a Japanese company that is also making Die Antwoord toys) and Downtown Records, which is handling the marketing and distribution for the record worldwide. Ten$ion included three more singles following “Fok Julle Naaiers”: “I Fink U Freeky”, “Baby’s on Fire”, and “Fatty Boom Boom”. The singles included on Ten$ion began to bring Die Antwoord more into the global spotlight as they were invited to perform on American talk shows and featured in an Alexander Wang advertisement. However the album was met with average to poor reviews by many critics. Ten$Ion was followed up with a non-album single, “XP€N$IV $H1T”. Their third album Donker Mag was released on 3 June 2014
They have filmed a short film for the song “Wat Kyk Jy?” (Afrikaans for “What Are You Looking At?”) with American filmmaker Harmony Korine. The short film premiered atSXSW as Umshini Wam (in reference to the Zulu struggle song Umshini wami) and features “furry costumes, wheelchairs, a music video breakdown, and plenty of zef slang”. The film is available online.
In 2012, they did a campaign for Alexander Wang’s T range.
In 2014, it was revealed that Die Antwoord would appear in the Neill Blomkamp film Chappie.