So we're turning the blog over today to our New York cultural reporter, Captain Chanute, who has fallen in love with Die Antwoord (taking a break from his usual favorites, Duran Duran and the Wu-Tang Clan). Listen up as he enlightens you on the complexities of South-African hip-hop:
"Ladies and Gentiles,
you may not have known this, but Tuesday was the hippest day of 2010 because it marked the release of $O$, the American debut of South African hip-hop trio Die Antwoord. The rappers, Ninja and Yo-Landi, hail from the streets of Cape Town with their toxic hipness in tow. In brief, this is the hippest shit you've ever heard and it'll likely rot your brains if you listen to it (which is a prerequisite for all hip activity, as we all know). So let's take a closer look and see what we can steal from them and claim as our own in order to be the hippest among Larryvillains.
Upon first glance, Yo-Landi and Ninja are fatally stylish. And as with any hip style, this one also has its own nomenclature. Die Antwoord incorporates many “Zef” elements into its music. Zef is endemic to low social-class S. Africans, roughly translating to kitsch. Described by Yo-Landi, “you're poor but you're fancy. You're poor but you're sexy, you've got style.” In essence, it's America's equivalent to we're-White-trash-and-we're-proud-of-it! Only hipper. Mainly because this is based around a subset of S. African society that had a penchant for Ford Zephyrs (hence the moniker, Zef). Like its American counterpart, the hipster, Zef draws on dead cultural influences, reviving them to fit into- and at once contrast with- modern society.
Not only style do they bring, but Die Antwoord spits their South African brogue along with a delightful smattering of Afrikaans, a vestigial language of the Dutch colonization, whose guttural Germanic origins shine through lyrical tone and content (Die Antwoord is Afrikaans for The Answer). Take for example this lyric from “Rich Bitch:” Versigtig, ek's nog steeds fokken giftig, which hiply translates to 'Careful, [cuz] I'm street-fuckin-toxic.' Capitalizing on the Hun-like barbary of their local dialect, Die Antwoord is famous in S. Africa for its vulgarity, as evidenced by “Evil Boy,” a song about big dicks and what to do with them. Furthermore, they are thoroughly educated in the foundations of American hip hop, taking beat references from Eric B & Rakim, incorporating multiple instances of Cypress Hill lyrics and holding a godlike reverence for the artistry of the Ninja, a la Wu-Tang Clan. Aside from their lyrical presence, they are playful and ironic in content (referencing video games and Luke Skywalker) while oscillating between the abrasive and lullaby as exemplified in “I'm A Ninja.”
Clearly, Hip, in this case, is an understatement. To fully understand, you must experience this shit. In doing so, some resources may be of use. For example, Google translate is effective for aiding in interpreting the ubiquitous Afrikaans rhymes (http://translate.google.com/#af|en|). If you want to undertake the Zef look, do a Google search of the term for various explications or simply consult Die Antwoord's Wikipedia page. If you want to see the “poor but fancy, poor but sexy” in action (and Yo-Landi is sexy, she has great tits), check them out on YouTube. In the process, take notes so that you can use Afrikaan slang down at the Replay and be fokken lekker. It may prove quite useful with the ladies; here's your first lesson: kan ek my piel binne in jou poes sit?
That's all for now. Captain Chanute innie moederfokken huisie!