South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord has had their fair share of controversies over the years. The duo, made up of Watkin Tudor “Ninja” Jones and Anri “Yolandi Visser” du Toit, has achieved international success with their electronic hip-hop sound and controversial music videos. But where did it all start?
Here are five things to know about Die Antwoord’s rise to fame.
1. WHERE IT ALL BEGAN FOR DIE ANTWOORD
Die Antwoord entered the local music scene in 2008 and released their debut album, $O$, the same year. The following year, the group released the music video for their single Enter The Ninja, which received millions of views.
According to Reuters, the group had to move their website to an American-based server to handle all the incoming traffic.
“We didn’t have anything before this. This thing blew up and I think we transferred the emotion that we put into our music into the internet,” Ninja told the publication.
Following their global success, the group signed to Interscope Records in 2010, but left the American-based label to start their own record label following a contract dispute.
WATCH THE ‘ENTER THE NINJA’ MUSIC VIDEO HERE
Die Antwoord’s music and public image are centred around a concept called “zef”. According to News24, it may be derived from the Ford Zephyr, which was a popular model of the car in South Africa until the early 1970s.
Speaking to the publication, Die Antwoord described the word as “the ultimate South African style”.
Magazine editor, Frikke Lombard said: “If something is zef, it means it’s something which is usually considered to be common but nowadays has credibility”.
3. TRAVELLING THE WORLD
The award-winning music group has travelled the world with their electronic-infused hip-hop sound. Die Antwoord performed at the annual Coachella music festival in Los Angeles in April 2010.
Since then, the group has performed across the globe, taking their music to the United Kingdom and Europe.
4. COLLABORATING WITH THE WORLD’S TOP ARTISTS
Over the years, Die Antwoord has collaborated with several artists including local Afrikaans rapper, Jack Parow.
The duo’s Ugly Boy music video, released in 2014, features shock rocker, Marilyn Manson, Jack Black, burlesque star Dita Von Teese and Cara Delevigne.
WATCH ‘UGLY BOY’ HERE
5. ‘HOUSE OF ZEF’
The duo’s last album, House of Zef, was released in 2020. The 12-track album features Moonchild Sanelly, California-based muso, Panther Modern and photographer, Panther Modern.