Die Antwoord performing at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles, California on 17 July 2010
|Also known as||The Answer|
|Origin||Cape Town, South Africa|
The group comprises rappers Watkin Tudor "Ninja" Jones and Anri "Yolandi Visser" du Toit, a male/female duo, and producers HITEK5000 and Lil2Hood. Their image revolves around the South African counterculture movement known as zef and has incorporated work by other artists associated with the movement, such as photographer Roger Ballen.
Die Antwoord's male vocalist, Watkin Tudor "Ninja" Jones, was part of the South African hip-hop scene for many years, fronting acts such as The Original Evergreen, MaxNormal.TV and The Constructus Corporation. Their debut album $O$ relates to their earlier work, specifically Good Morning South Africa. In the album, multiple tracks are sampled from, or are exact copies of songs on Good Morning South Africa, such as the "Rap Rave Megamix" (where the first glimpses of Jones's Ninja character was seen) were later reformed into the "Zef Side" video, featuring a few verses from "Beat Boy". 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."
Die Antwoord observed that journalists and critics, particularly in the United States, frequently ask if their creative output is 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." They have 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 musical and visual style incorporates elements of a "zef" culture, described as modern and trashy, appropriating out-of-date, discarded cultural elements.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 and English.
2008–2010: Formation and release of debut album $O$, 5 and Ekstra
Die Antwoord formed in 2008. Their name is Afrikaans for "The Answer" Their debut album $O$ was made available as a free download on their official website. A song from the album, "Wie Maak die Jol Vol" features Cape Flats rappers Garlic Brown (aka Knoffel Bruin), Scallywag, Isaac Mutant, and Jaak Paarl. "Wat Pomp?" features South African rapper Jack Parow. He is also featured in "Doos Dronk" along with Fokofpolisiekar. The album cover was shot by photographer Clayton James Cubitt.
In 2009 South African cinematographer Rob Malpage (along with co-director Ninja) shot the video for their single "Enter the Ninja". The song incorporates elements of Smile.dk's song Butterfly, famous for appearing in the Dance Dance Revolution series. The video features Cape Town artist and turntablist Leon Botha. The video received millions of views online nine months later, which featured on a number of high-traffic blog sites, most notably BoingBoing. This forced them to move their website to a US-based hosting provider to handle the traffic.
Following the success of the video, 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 $O$.
The EP "5" was the first official release by Die Antwoord on a major record label, Cherrytree Records (an imprint of Interscope Records). The EP features some previously released material, as well as one new track and a remix. "Fish Paste" was released as a promotional single. Pitchfork Media made the entire EP available to stream on 12 June 2010.
Later in 2010, an EP "Ekstra" was released.
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".
2011–2013: Ten$ion, record label dispute
In November 2011, Die Antwoord left Interscope Records over a dispute concerning their upcoming album and its lead single, "Fok Julle Naaiers". Visser explained that Interscope "kept pushing us to be more generic" in order to make more money: "If you try to make songs that other people like, your band will always be shit. You always gotta do what you like. If it connects, it's a miracle, but it happened with Die Antwoord." Die Antwoord formed their own independent label, Zef Recordz, and released their new album Ten$Ion through it.
The release was in association with the Good Smile Company and Downtown Records, which handled 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.
2014: Donker Mag and further touring
Following the release of "XP€N$IV $H1T", Die Antwoord set out on a brief tour across Europe from June to July. Soon after they began touring, snippets for a new single called "Cookie Thumper!", which was to be accompanied by a music video, were released. Around the release of their new single, Die Antwoord also announced the title of their third album, Donker Mag, which was released on 3 June 2014.
The video for "Cookie Thumper!" was released on 18 June 2014 on Noisey's YouTube channel. The video has over 37 million views as of February 2019. On 20 May 2014, "Pitbull Terrier", the second music video from Donker Mag, was released on Die Antwoord's YouTube channel. The video has over 49 million views as of December 2019. The third and final single "Ugly Boy" was released on 4 November 2014.
2015–2016: EP release and Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid
In February 2015, Die Antwoord announced that they had started work on new material with DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill. On 19 May 2016 the duo released a mixtape titled Suck on This on SoundCloud. The mixtape features productions from DJ Muggs (known on the album as The Black Goat) and God (formerly known as DJ Hi-Tek, the producer of the group). The track list includes the previously released "Dazed and Confused" and "Bum Bum" as well as "Gucci Coochie," a collaboration with Dita Von Teese. A teaser for the song's video was released on 18 May 2016. However, the music video was never released as of February 2019, and is presumed to be scrapped.
The mixtape also includes remixes for some of the group's previous songs including "I Fink You Freeky," "Fok Julle Naaiers," and "Pitbull Terrier." On 22 July 2016, it was announced that the album would be titled Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid, originally called "We Have Candy". The album was released on 16 September 2016.
The first video from the album, "Banana Brain", was released on 31 August 2016. It has accumulated over 21 million views as of January 2017. The second video from the album, "Fat Faded Fuck Face", was released on Vimeo rather than on YouTube, due to its adult content, on 16 December 2016. The video has over 1.2 million views as of January 2018.
2017–present: House of Zef
In early 2017, Die Antwoord announced via social media networks that they are to release their final album, titled The Book of Zef, in September 2017 and disband immediately after. Later the band revealed that the name was changed to "27". The first single, "Love Drug", was released on 5 May 2017. A second single "2•GOLDEN DAWN•7" was released on 22 June 2018.
On 3 May 2019, Die Antwoord released the single "DntTakeMe4aPoes." The song features South African rapper G Boy. A second video published on the same day revealed that the title of the upcoming album would be The House of Zef, and that it would feature several amateur guest rappers from South Africa.
A US tour was announced for late 2019. However, an unlisted video on Die Antwoord's channel revealed it was postponed to 2020 to finish the album as well as other projects.
The second single, "Baita Jou Sabela" was released on 30 November 2019, featuring South African rapper Slagysta.
House of Zef was released on 16 March 2020, without previous announcement.
In an interview with Exclaim! magazine in 2010, the group revealed they have a five album plan. According to Ninja, "We'll be dropping films between each of the albums, feature films... We have one we're working on for next year called The Answer. It's like the story of how Die Antwoord started. But that's like, our power, and where our energy is at right now." They have filmed a short film with American filmmaker Harmony Korine. The short film premiered at SXSW 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 2014, it was revealed that Die Antwoord would appear in the Neill Blomkamp film Chappie. In an interview, Ninja states that "Neill is, like, our favorite director, so when he asked us to be in Chappie, it was like a complete freak-out". In the film, Die Antwoord star as two gangsters (also named Ninja and Yolandi) who act like the parents of Chappie, a sentient robot, and teach him how to be a gangster. The film was released on 4 March 2015.
In 2019, Die Antwoord started releasing an online reality web series called ZEF TV. There are currently 8 episodes which make up the first season. Later that year, it was revealed that they would be releasing a documentary called "IS IT REAL?" that had been in the works for 10 years, as well as a feature film called "THE FLOWER FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD."
Zheani Sparkes and sexual assault allegations
In March 2019, Australian musician Zheani Sparkes released a diss track titled "The Question" accusing Jones of sexually assaulting her in South Africa in 2013. According to Sparkes, Jones drugged her and trafficked her to Africa, as well as sending explicit photos of her to cast members of Chappie. She also said he was interested in her because of her resemblance to his daughter Sixteen Jones, who in 2013 was 8, a claim that was substantiated by direct messages showing Jones attempting to engage in incest fantasies. Zheani later clarified during an interview that her labeling of Ninja as a pedophile was more pejorative than a serious accusation.
A conflict between Die Antwoord and Sparkes ensued on social media afterwards, where Jones accused Sparkes of catfishing him. In September 2019, Sparkes filed a police report in Queensland, Australia formalizing her accusations of sexual assault and revenge porn.
Jones has denied all the allegations against him.
Fight against Andy Butler
In 2019, a video from 2012 surfaced, showing Visser and Jones fighting Hercules and Love Affair founder Andy Butler while calling him homophobic slurs such as "faggot". Butler openly identifies as gay. After fighting him, Visser and Jones alert security staff, and, while crying, Visser claims she was sexually assaulted in a bathroom by Butler. Later on in the video, Jones tells her that her performance was "Oscar-winning".
Jones responded on Facebook, claiming that the person who filmed the video edited it to make it seem like he and Visser were in the wrong. He claims that Butler harassed them in the days leading up to the fight, a point that Butler admitted to during an interview, and that it had nothing to do with him being gay. Jones also claimed that he told Visser to act as "dramatic as possible" about what Butler did to avoid getting detained by security after the fight.
Die Antwoord was subsequently dropped from the lineups of several festivals.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid||
|House of Zef||
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|Title||Album details||Peak chart|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|Suck on This||
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
Danc/Elec Digital Songs
Billboard Twitter Real-Time
|"Enter the Ninja"||2010||45||37||—||—||—||—||—||5 and $O$|
|"Fok Julle Naaiers"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Ten$ion|
|"I Fink U Freeky"||2012||—||—||—||99||—||—||—|
|"Baby's on Fire"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Fatty Boom Boom"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"XP€N$IV $H1T"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Non-album single|
|"Cookie Thumper!"||2013||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Donker Mag|
|"Dazed and Confused" (featuring God)||2016||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Suck on This|
|"Bum Bum" (featuring God)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
(featuring Dita Von Teese, The Black Goat + God)
|—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Suck on This and Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid|
|"Banana Brain"||—||—||—||—||30||—||—||Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid|
|"We Have Candy"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Fat Faded Fuck Face"||—||—||—||—||—||16||—|
|"Love Drug"||2017||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Non-album singles|
|"Baita Jou Sabela"
|"—" denotes release that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"Pitbull Terrier" (God's Berzerker Trap Remix)||2016||—||—||Suck on This|
|"Enter Da Ninja" (The Black Goat Decapitator Remix)||—||—|
|"Spectacular" (Seymour Bits featuring Die Antwoord)||2010||Seymour Bits|
|"Dis Iz Why I'm Hot (Herrschaftized)"||2016||Time & Dust|
|"Wat Pomp"||2009||Die Antwoord|
|"Enter the Ninja"||2010||Rob Malpage|
|"Evil Boy"||Ninja and Rob Malpage|
|"Rich Bitch"||2011||Kobus Holnaaier and Ninja|
|"Fok Julle Naaiers"||Ninja and Ross Garrett|
|"I Fink U Freeky"||2012||Roger Ballen and Ninja|
|"Baby's on Fire"||Ninja and Terence Neale|
|"Fatty Boom Boom"||Ninja, Terence Neale and Saki Fokken Bergh|
|"Dis iz Why I'm Hot (zef remix)"||Ninja, Clayton Cubitt, Terence Neale, Wang Newton|
|"Banana Brain"||2016||Ninja and Terence Neale|
|"Fat Faded Fuck Face"||Yolandi Visser|
|"Love Drug" (Lyric)||2017||Ninja and Yolandi Visser|
|"Tommy Can't Sleep" (Short)||Yolandi Visser and Roger Ballen|
|"Baita Jou Sabela"||Ninja|
|"Future Baby"||2020||Calder Greenwood|
- Ninja (2008–present)
- Yolandi Visser (2008–present)
- HITEK5000 (formerly known as DJ Hi-Tek and God) (2008–present)
- Lil2Hood (2019–present)
Roger Ballen is a frequent collaborator of Die Antwoord, who claim their artwork is heavily inspired by his photography. The photographer Roger Ballen helped design the set for their music video "Enter the Ninja". Ballen co-directed the I Fink You Freeky music video. The Erdmann Contemporary Photographers Gallery in Cape Town featured some works of Ballen from the video.
Bitter Comix's creator Anton Kannemeyer released some work featuring Die Antwoord in 2011. He described the song "Doos Dronk" with the words "if ever there were a song that sounded like Bitter Comix, this is it."
- Wat Pomp? - features Jack Parow
- Enter the Ninja - music video features cameo from Leon Botha
- Wie Maak die Jol Vol - features Knoffel Bruin (Garlic Brown), Isaac Mutant, Jaak Paarl and Scallywag
- My Best Friend - features The Flying Dutchman
- Doos Dronk - features Jack Parow and Fokofpolisiekar
- Orinoco Ninja Flow - remix of Orinoco Flow, remixed by Wedding DJ
- Fatty Boom Boom - Die Antwoord turned down an offer by Lady Gaga to perform the opening act for her South African "Born This Way" tour. The music video is meant to be a parody of her. It shows a male drag queen lookalike roaming through the streets after experiencing a carjacking, going to a gynecologist who finds a parktown prawn while examining her, and ending by her getting brutally massacred by a lion.
- Ugly Boy - In 2014, the group sampled Aphex Twin's "Ageispolis" for their "Ugly Boy" single. In the music video, a man wearing a mask resembling Aphex Twin in blackface can be seen with a hoodie that reads "Hello, My Name Is God" and his symbol can also be seen on a hoodie worn by Yolandi Visser in certain shots. Aphex Twin and Die Antwoord also performed together at London Electric Dance Festival in 2010. The music video features cameos from Cara Delevingne, Charlotte Free, Marilyn Manson, Dita Von Teese, Jack Black, Flea, and the ATL Twins.
- Rat Trap 666 - produced by DJ Muggs
Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid
- Shit Just Got Real - features Sen Dog
- Gucci Coochie - features Dita Von Teese
- Rats Rule - features Jack Black
- Certain tracks were produced by DJ Muggs.
House of Zef
House of Zef features several South African rappers, who were included to bring a spotlight onto them.
- DntTakeMe4APoes - features G-BOY
- Baita Jou Sabela - features Slagysta
Former touring members
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- "Roger Ballen directs Die Antwoord video". Phaidon. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Review: Roger Ballen / Die Antwoord". Whats on in Cape Town. 21 September 2005. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Anton Kannemeyer talks about Die Antwoord". Jack Shainman Gallery presents. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Die Antwoord - "Fatty Boom Boom" (Official Video)".
- Muller, Marissa G. "Die Antwoord's 'Ugly Boy' Stylists Didn't Even Know Cara Delevingne Would Be in the Video". MTV News. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
- DIE ANTWOORD presents G-BOY, retrieved 14 February 2020
- "Die Antwoord Bio" (PDF). 28 February 2010.
- "LinkedIn | Cameryn Clarke". Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "Cameryn Clarke " Sound Sensible Radio". Sound Sensible Radio. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- Claire Scott (2012): "Die Antwoord and a delegitimised South African whiteness: a potential counter-narrative?" 26:5, 745-761
- Official website
- Watkykjy Website which covers Die Antwoord and related culture.
- "Die Antwoord Interview with ION Magazine July 2010". ionmagazine.ca.
- Analysis of the $O$ album from South African magazine Mahala
- Roger Ballen/Die Antwoord exhibition