So I’m creeping up to the red robot when I suddenly realize that the usual contingent of newspaper sellers, beggars and opportunistic sunglass vendors aren’t swarming around my wide-open car window. (I refuse to cosset myself in an air-conditioned interior when it’s sunny outside.) It creates a moment of pure mental panic: have I been kidnapped by aliens? Transported to some sanitized first-world country?
I’m still not entirely sure why they all gave me such a wide berth… But I know Die Antwoord was blasting out of my pathetic little Hyundai Getz speaker, blowing the little bit of bass left over. A bad habit, listening to music that loud…
I was given the unenviable task of reviewing Die Antwoord’s $O$, simply because I wasn’t in the office to protest at the time when some bright spark offered me up to do it. With a smirk on the face, probably. The Music Nazi’s gonna love this! And if she says it’s crap, she’s the one who’s going to get trolled by the army of zef that are Die Antwoord’s fans. Yeah well, troll away…
I’m not a fan. I keep telling myself that.
Their music leaves me feeling like I’m covered in a film of filth, like my brain has an itch that needs a steel brush to sort it out. Doosdronk is the most destructive earworm in the history of mankind. I keep on looking for my dog. Which I don’t have. It’s hollow and it takes up space in my head that could have been better spent on figuring out the recipe for cupcakes.
It annoys me that something so obviously gimmicky has become a global runaway train, a cultish recreation of South-African zef culture in the hearts and minds of Americans and Europeans and whatchamacallits… Filling their minds with an idea about South Africa and making it their reality.
On the other hand, I think Waddy Jones is a twisted genius. He’s been a creative chameleon as far back as my musical consciousness can remember. The Ziggurat. Max Normal TV. The Constructus Corporation. Max Normal Loves Animals. The Oppikoppi dassies.
So why can’t I buy into Die Antwoord? They’re not only pushing the boundaries, they’re creating new continents. The music’s uncomfortable because it addresses some complex themes… Stuff that your dark primate brain’s perfectly happy to revel in, and would do more often if you only loosened your grip a bit. I read the perfect description on WatKykJy: “it’s like tentacle porn for your ears.” Pretty much.
And I’m actually more scared of Ninja and Yo-Landi’s posturing than I am of all those American gangsta rappers. Fiddy flaunting his cash? Yo-Landi’s probably too busy to answer your call, bra…
Calvinist guilt? Prudishness? A secret inferiority complex because I simply cannot be that foul-mouthed even though I sometimes want to be? (There’s this person at work, see…)
A friend says we need Die Antwoord because it’s so different, and it’s finally put SA music on the map. It’s fresh, leaves no holy cow unkicked and makes stew of the babies and the bathwater. It’s got people culting together much like in Fokof’s heyday.
But I don’t think it is different. It’s just the latest seizure of Waddy’s brain, a way to mindfuck the masses until he gets bored, takes his posse and moves on to the next random, off-the-wall incarnation. And what exactly is he leaving behind? Dodgy tattoos, haircuts and kids whose Facebook status updates compete for being the most foul-mouthed and “controversial”?
Do we really want to be tied to a construct that might implode at any moment simply due to the disinterest of its creator?
Just imagine all those newly zef American teenagers… With nothing to wear next Halloween… And what will Katy Perry tweet about?
Or maybe, just maybe, the wild success and the wads of cash will keep the Ninja train rolling on for a bit.
For the time being, though, I’m keeping it in my car radio… A rich bitch by proxy…