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Die Antwoord (which is Afrikaans for “The Answer”) is a South African rap-rave band that formed in Cape Town in 2008.  The band is fronted by Ninja and Yolandi Visser and their music is produced by DJ Hi-Tek.  The band draws their image from the Zef counterculture movement that is happening in South Africa and from the works of Roger Ballen, a photographer who photographed small villages and towns during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Die Antwoord lead vocalist, Ninja, was a part of the South African hip-hop scene for many years, fronting such acts as “The Original Evergreen,” “MaxNormal.TV” and “The Constructus Corporation.”  Ninja told Rolling Stone, “Everything I did before Die Antwoord was me experimenting, messing around and trying to find Die Antwoord… Everything before it was disposable.  It was all throwaway.”

The band continually noticed that journalists and critics, particularly from the United States, frequently asked if their creative output was a joke or a hoax.  When asked if he was playing a character, Ninja said, “Ninja is, how can I say, like Superman is to Clark Kent.  The only difference is I don’t take off this fokken Superman suit.  The band has described their work as “documentary fiction” and “exaggerated experience” designed for shock value.

Ninja told Spin, “People are unconscious, and you have to use your art as a shock machine to wake them up. Some people are too far gone. They’ll just keep asking, “Is it real? Is it real?” That’s dwanky. That’s a word we have in South Africa, “dwanky.” It’s like lame. “Is it real?” You have to be futuristic and carry on. You gotta be a good guide to help people get away from dull experience.”

Die Antwoord’s music and visual style incorporate elements of Zef culture which is described as modern and trashy, appropriate yet out-of-date, discarded cultural elements.  Yolandi 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.”  The band performs their music with a mixture of three languages, Afrikaans, Xhosa and English.

The band has released two albums so far, “$O$” in 2009, and “Ten$ion” in 2012, each with multiple hit singles.  They plan on releasing their third album, “Donker Mag,” sometime this year and have released a single from the upcoming album titled, “Cookie Thumper.”  They also will be one of the acts performing at Bonnaroo this summer.

The band has amassed a huge cult following and are truly just interesting and odd to watch and listen too.  They have a very industrial-meets-electronica sound to them and many of their songs are strangely catchy.  Check out some of their biggest hits below and keep an eye out for their next album, “Donker Mag” which will be out this year.

Source: Videos: YouTube — Info: Wikipedia — Picture: Google Images

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