Album Reviews

Album Review: Die Antwoord – 5 EP

Die Antwoord – 5 EP

If District 9 taught us anything (apart from the fact that aliens have a penchant for cat food), it’s that swear words sound so much better in a South African accent. With the Parental Advisory sticker in full view on the cover of Die Antwoord’s new EP, the follow-up to their free debut album $O$, you know there’s bound to be a lot of uses of the word “fuck”. 5 came out on July 13th, but it only came on my radar this week. That said, it’s bound to be staying around for another while – until their major label full-length comes out.

South African hip-hop trio Die Antwoord (it means “The Answer” in Afrikaans, antwoord is also answer is Dutch) won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but anyone who has an M.I.A. album or two in their collection will really appreciate this five-track record. Four of the songs were included on the band’s debut last year, but that didn’t get a massive reception, so they’re re-released here with a remix of ‘Enter the Ninja’.

‘Enter the Ninja’ is a fantastic hip-hop tune, which is the band’s third single, and was released last month. It’s a really solid song, and if remixed by the right sources (i.e. give it a Jay-Z guestspot), then it’d be absolutely massive. It’s the best song on the EP, and the single version and remix bookend the release. Ninja’s rap is flawless throughout, and is often clever and wry. Yo-Landi Vi$$er’s soft chorus blends well with the rest of the song. By the way, she’s saying “protection” rather than “production”. Them’s the nuances of their fantastic accents.

‘Wat Kyk Jy’ is a strange beast. It’s like a hodge-podge of powerful statements mashed together over a disco beat. Strangely enough it works, even if the Afrikaans lyrics border on unintelligible mixed with unexpected English expression. The band are part of the Zef counter-culture movement in South Africa, which is modern yet antique, and stylish yet trashy. Yo-Landi said of Zef: “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.”  A lot cooler than wearing your pyjamas to the supermarket.

‘I Don’t Know You’ is a more straight-up R&B song, proving that the band is also capable of making radio-friendly tunes. ‘Fish Paste’ is another rap tune, with smart samples and contains the required amount of aggressive put-downs. The remix of ‘Enter the Ninja’ by DJ Fishsticks is decent, but nothing amazing. A bigger name is needed to get the song noticed, and anyway, the original version is much better than this particular remix.

For anyone who hasn’t downloaded $O$, this EP is the perfect introduction to a band who are a breath of fresh air on what is often a stale hip-hop scene.

[xrr rating=4.25/5]

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  1. The album is awesome man…very talented artist right here…what a nice follow up to his debut album…

  2. Ah don’t say “his”, there’s more than just Ninja you know!

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