25 Feb 2010

Die Antwoord. It's time I broke my silence.

I think it's rather fitting that the first piece I write on here is about what has become a phenomenon I want no part of. Why is that fitting do you ask? It's fitting, because it's ironic, I think Waddy Jones is a musical saviour, a visionary, but this time his vision and my better judgement aren't on the same page. Actually, we're not even in the same book.

I understand that Die Antwoord is a novelty act, I understand that they're poking at a variety of South African cultures and sub-cultures. Waddy has been responsible for some of the most innovative and interesting albums to ever come from SA. Think Max Normal's Songs From a Mall and Contructus Corporation's Ziggurat, those albums were sublime, but his latest bores me.

I've heard these beats before, I've heard him use the timings and rhythms before, I want something new, Waddy has always managed that, all he's managed this time is to use old beats and say "poes" a lot more. One aspect of Die Antwoord that I do like is the fact that they're a flash in the pan, they'll be forgotten in the not too distant future. I believe music should make you feel something when you listen to it, not induce laughter, which is what Die Antwoord does.

His lyrics are still scathing, angry, angsty (please make us a punk record Waddy) and clever as usual, but something feels like it's missing. I would like to see them use the publicity they've gotten from this to best effect. "And what would that be then Rick?" I hear you mumbling, well, make a serious record, conquer the world, make some money and become as famous and successful as I've always wanted you to be. Not too much to ask is it?

What are they "die antwoord" for? No reason that benefits me. But, what are the "die antwoord" to? Waddy's financial struggles and for that sir, I salute you.



  1. I couldn't disagree with you more.

    Firstly, you contradict yourself - you say that Waddy should "make some money and become as famous and successful as [you've] always wanted [him] to be." But in your closing line you flippantly write off his new efforts as being purely financially driven.

    Secondly, your contradiction is kinda irrelevant anyway because Waddy doesn't want success as you define it. If he wanted to "succeed" in the music industry then he wouldn't rap about gang rape, or appear on youtube with his johnston jiggling around in a pair of dark side of the moon boxers, or cover his body (and throat) in prison tattoos.

    This is performance art taken to the next level, and it's absolute genius.

    I've always thought of Waddy as a mirror, a cultural beacon. He just rebroadcasts the unfiltered thoughts and feelings of South Africans. His lyrics are what people think to themselves and talk about behind closed doors. His lyrics are things you and I say in private.

    This reflective style is a constant thread in all his music, all the way from Max Normal to Die Antwoord, and his various stage acts encapsulate the mood and feelings of the time.

    Die Antwoord is completely new, lyrically, musically, in every possible way. Come on, tell me where you've heard something like this before?

    Sure, it may not be to everyone's tastes but that doesn't make it kak. In fact, by observing the music industry you quickly realise the inverse relationship between "popularity" and "quality". Besides, not everyone can handle the truth.

    Are they "the answer" to anything? Who cares, that's not the point. Re-read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and you'll remember why the answer itself is not important :-)

  2. Hey Peter,

    I just believe music should be something substantial, something to be remembered by and I think that if Waddy is remembered for only Die Antwoord it would be a crying shame.

    If you've heard any of the old Waddy albums (except for Songs from a Mall)you've heard these "new" beats before. It's the same thing over and over with him, I mean MaxNormal.TV STILL used "Super Evil", it's what they do. They use old samples and beats, sure they tweak them slightly, but it's hardly "new".

    The main point I was trying to make with this blog was just that, I believe Waddy deserves success, I just hope that everyone that is into Die Antwoord follows him down his next musical avenue. Because we both know it will be different.

    Thanks for the comment btw mate...