Die Antwoord- Get some Zef in yo step

November 2, 2010

The first time I ever saw the music video for Die Antwoord‘s “Enter the Ninja”, I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or be slightly disturbed. Graffiti, money signs, and an in-your-face attitude did not pair well with a rapper who resembled Vanilla Ice, and acted like Jonah Takalua (from the mockumentary show Summer Heights High).

However after watching their video, I had a sudden urge to watch it again. Not only did keep having urges to watch it, I kept hearing it in my head. I couldn’t tell if I actually liked the song, but I could not stop singing it in this odd sounding, pseudo-Japanese accent I had tried to replicate.

But Die Antwoord (meaning “the answer”, in English) is not a joke, they are serious- and they are getting a lot of attention. Hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, members include Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek. They call their style Zef, which is South African slang for something that is trashy, yet stylish and modern. In an article from The Guardian, Die Antoord has defined Zef style as being “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.”

Off the bat, they may seem outrageous but both critics and fans seem to be eating them up. Overnight they gained millions of fans, including District 9 director and fellow South African, Neill Blornkamp, who sent the band an e-mail expressing his love for them. Adding to the list, “David Lynch loves their videos so much that he invited them round for coffee…David Fincher wanted to cast singer Yo-Landi Vi$$er as Lisbeth Salander in the Hollywood remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (she turned him down).”

Since then, Die Antwoord has been hitting the festival circuit including a set at Cochella, sharing a stage with Aphex Twin at LED Fest, and most recently with M.I.A. at the NYC Hard Fest.

The single “Enter the Ninja” now has over 8 million views on YouTube and features Leon Botha, who is one of the world’s oldest survivors of progeria. See for yourself if Zef style just another trend, or if Die Antwoord will hold a solid place in hipster hip-hop.

As for me, I’m enterin’ the ninja- and I am stealing one of those awesome sweaters for myself.

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