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Die Antwoord's "$0$" is vulgar, odd, amazing

By James Bright
On October 14, 2010

Most people have never heard of Die Antwoord, but for those who have, three things ring true. They're vulgar, they're ridiculous and they're undoubtedly awesome.

Riding the success of their 2009 single "Enter the Ninja," the band, which hails from South Africa, has acquired a cult-like following. Their most recent release "$0$" combines a few of their singles with roughly 10 new songs.

Die Antwoord is a mixture of early ‘90s hip-hop, modern jazz sounds and lyrics that are a mix of English and Afrikaans. Using male and female vocalists, Die Antwoord manages to keep their music entertaining throughout their album, while maintaining their original style, which has built their following in South Africa.

From the first song on the album titled "In Your Face," the band jumps into a hip-hop laden groove, which lasts the duration of the album. Each song presents a variety of explicit lyrics.

Although seemingly juvenile, it's the use of vulgarity that really makes Die Antwoord stand out. It's common to hear vulgarity in today's music, especially in today's rap variations, but this band takes it to a new level. The thing is, they do it well. The music would not feel natural without the vulgarity. It would seem commonplace and feel censored. Even some of the song titles are explicit, and some of these tracks are the best on the album. "Evil Boy (F**k you in the Face Mix)" will make anyone want to get up and dance.

Equally amazing is how catchy this band's music is. It's hard to find anyone who has heard "Enter the Ninja" and hasn't spent the afternoon humming the tune. Initially, it seemed like this was the only song that could have this affect, but that doubt was quickly dispelled after listening to "Rich B***h." After just one listen, "Enter the Ninja" was replaced by a new tune, which was just as addictive.

Humor is another aspect of "$0$," which makes it a must-own. It's unclear whether the band knows how funny their music is, but that doesn't really matter. They start almost every song by introducing themselves in the music. Virtually every song centers on the male lead singers alter ego, the ninja, in some way. The lyrics tell about the ninja's exploits in battle and sexual prowess. It's insanely difficult to take this information seriously, which is why the humor is such an important factor. If the music tried to make itself serious, it could easily become unlistenable.

The truth is that this band isn't for anyone. Most people would either be offended, annoyed, disgusted or all three by this album. For those who enjoy this sort of thing, Die Antwoord is a treasure trove of entertainment.

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