Die Antwoord Biography
Background and style
Die Antwoord lead vocalist, Ninja, was part of the South African hip-hop scene for many years, fronting acts such as The Original Evergreens, MaxNormal.TV and The Constructus Corporation. Ninja told Rolling Stone, "Everything I did before Die Antwoord was me experimenting, messing around and trying to find die antwoord... Everything before it was disposable. It was all throwaway."
Die Antwoord observed that journalists and critics, particularly in the United States, frequently ask if their creative output is a joke or a hoax. When asked if he was playing a character, Ninja said, "Ninja is, how can I say, like Superman is to Clark Kent. The only difference is, I don't take off this fokken Superman suit." They have described their work as "documentary fiction" and "exaggerated experience" designed for shock value. Ninja told Spin:
People are unconscious and you have to use your art as a shock machine to wake them up. Some people are too far gone. They'll just keep asking, "Is it real? Is it real?" That's dwanky. That's a word we have in South Africa, "dwanky." It's like lame. "Is it real?" Dwanky. You have to be futuristic and carry on. You gotta be a good guide to help people get away from dull experience.
The band is known for its cult following, especially the unusually prolific creation of fan art by their followers. Some of their music videos have incorporated artwork by the noted photographer Roger Ballen.
Die Antwoord's musical and visual style incorporates elements of Zef culture, described as modern and trashy, appropriating out-of-date, discarded cultural elements. Yo-Landi said, "It's associated with people who soup their cars up and rock gold and shit. Zef is, you're poor but you're fancy. You're poor but you're sexy, you've got style." Their lyrics are performed in Afrikaans, Xhosa, and English.