Die Antwoord by Die Antwoord

8 August 2019

Die Antwoord is The Answer

It is trash, it is meaningless, it is corrupt, it is noise. According to older generations, spiteful teenagers, and sometimes, even guiltily myself, that is what the music of today is considered. Artists and bands today use synthetic sounds and recycled lyrics and in the scene of mainstream music it is hard to tell anything apart. But every once in a while, beneath the wreckage of “pointless” noise, a gem is discovered. A gem so radical and farfetched, it encompasses everything about music today but brings it to a whole new level, and challenges how far society will go to accept something different. Die Antwoord, a South African rap-rave group composed of rappers Ninja, Yo-landi Vi$$er, and the mysterious DJ Hi-Tek, is this gem. Together the trio takes a society programmed to always look towards the future, and moves their music in the same direction.

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I first listened to Die Antwoord after scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and discovering a link to one of their songs, “Fatty Boom Boom,” that somebody posted. The video is colorful in South African spirit and the story it tells is bizarre. The group’s lyrics comprise of English blended in with Afrikaans, and except for the profanity that comes across very clearly, the rest of the words are nearly indecipherable. For all 5 minutes and 43 seconds the video lasted, I stared at my screen in complete awe, jaw dropped, not knowing whether to show disdain, be offended or both. Now, I’m not one to throw things aside right away, so I decided to give Die Antwoord a second chance. I played back the video and watched it again. This time, I noticed the energy of the music and its infinite array of sounds, and the way the song stayed consistently loud and upbeat all the way through; the entire song was a climax. I noticed the unorthodox dance moves Yo-landi Vi$$er performed in her obscene costumes, and the way she seemed almost tribal, moving her body in the way she felt and giving herself over to the music completely. The energy of the music was undeniable, and by the end of the song again I found myself moving to the rhythm, my eyes dancing over the rainbow scene, and attempting to sing along to the Afrikaans lyrics.

After my second round of “Fatty Boom Boom,” I was hooked on Die Antwoord. I explored their other songs and each one broke down a barrier towards the future. It might even take something extraordinary for me to find another song weird again; Die Antwoord’s music has made me feel comfortable with the unconventional and free from the expanding mainstream. The group is a fascinating force that makes you want to rethink your definition of music and what it really means. Because here is what Die Antwoord has taught me. They have taught me that music isn’t about lyrical content or synthetic notes, music is about moving towards the future, taking what the world has given you and infusing yourself and your culture in it to make it an ever expanding art. I’d say that right now, Die Antwoord is on the obscure and misunderstood edge of the universe, waiting for something else to go beyond its limits.

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