• Roger Ballen
Within the first 30 seconds of this Skype interview with Die Antwoord, I pour chocolate syrup on my nose, and I’m standing on my head. Or trying to stand on my head. It’s 7 a.m. in Seattle—I think that’s 4 p.m. in Johannesburg, South Africa, where Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er are yelling at me, “Wake up, FUKKAH.” I fall over. The syrup is all over my face. They’re wearing rubber masks—Obama and Tweety Bird—and one is trying to stand on their head as well. Everything is blurry and drowned in laughing. Yo-Landi is high-pitched with her blond space-mullet-mane. She’s a mighty-mite majesty. And Ninja, the stick-figure rap-Khan. Upside down is a fitting position to be in for an interview with the South African rap-rave zef enforcers. They like to flip shit, fuck with shit, and get creative within audio/visual modalities until they burst. What bursts is beautiful for Die Antwoord. They go for all-out expression by any means, such as the gyno scene where a locust/prawn is pulled out of a Lady Gaga drag impersonator’s birth canal. They’re ill and raw, and smart(ass) and foul. The uncouth and crude are what’s attractive to Die Antwoord. Sonically, DJ Hi-Tek’s rank and bumping Diplo-sponsored crunk-house beats cause mob-mentality movement. A new Die Antwoord album called Donker Mag will be out June 3, with one collab rumored to be with London’s Aphex Twin and one with Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs. Their new song “Pitbull Terrier” was just released. Back to the chocolate syrup all over my face. They said they wouldn’t do the interview unless I poured it on my nose and stood on my head. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. I sit up, wiping it out of my left eye with my shirt. Yo-Landi is Tweety unmasked. Ninja is Obama.