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$O$

Die Antwoord – $O$

  • Die Antwoord
  • R&B & Hip-Hop
  • Out now
  • Cherrytree Records
  • everywhere
reviewed by
Ahmed El Mezeny
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Die Antwoord – $O$

Hailing from South
Africa with an admirable dose of social consciousness and some sick rhymes are
Die Antwoord, loosely translated as ‘the answer.’ This hip-hop trio is made up
of MC Ninja, Yolandi Visser (who provides childlike backing vocals and manages
to spit nicely too) and finally the man behind the monster beats, DJ Hi-Tek.

Die Antwoord quickly
became an internet sensation after releasing a flurry of YouTube videos
boasting average beats, kooky lyrics and some off-the-wall themes. The trio describes
their sound as homage to Afrikaans slang and Zef, which can be roughly
translated as ‘common.’ So, you’ll find that most of their videos are
overloaded with kitsch imagery and a style that will make the trendiest hipster
cringe.   

Their album $0$ was self-released in 2009, but once
their Internet fame kicked off, it was released once again on indie label Cherry
Tree Records in October 2010. The album holds a mixture of different sounds
ranging from hip-hop and r&b to dance and electronic, all thanks to
Hi-Tek’s industrious musical production and Ninja’s eccentric flow and
ingenious lyrics. On the other hand, Yolandi’s vocals can prove to be tiresome
after some time, though she does manage to spit a couple of meaningful verses.

Ninja showcases all
his lyrical and rhythmic talents on the track Enter the Ninja. If the
song sounds somewhat familiar, it’s because Yolandi’s hook is awfully closely
to an old euro-trash song by smile.dk. Throughout this track you’ll really
learn to appreciate Ninja’s unpredictable flow, chock-full of heavy Zef
references and socially relevant commentary.

‘Beat Boy’ is an
incredibly long track of eight minutes, throughout which Ninja describes a
highly detailed albeit freaky sexual experience. The beats are catchy, and you
won’t grow tired of them quickly with Yolandi’s accompanying vocals; while
Ninja’s masterful flow will definitely surprise you at time.

‘$O$’ is a track that
lacks any serious vocals and seems to be DJ Hi-Tek’s fifteen minutes of fame. He
manages a mesmerising trance sound accompanied with effects
that give the song an out-of-this-world feel. The track can be somewhat
repetitive, though.

Although somewhat
overhyped, Die Antwoord does provide a much needed service to the music
industry. They bring a whole lot of shock value with both their lyrics and
their videos – material outrageous enough to make Gaga look like Sesame Street
– and they manage to combine different musical genres to create a fun and catchy
sound.

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