1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Die Antwoord”

Dames – Biggy

Big-Bigger-Biggy - Biggy

Big-Bigger-Biggy – Biggy

When you first see the video for this track (see Youtube link below), you may be tempted to say, ‘That Eminem has put on some weight’, as SA’s Biggy looks somewhat like the US rapper with blonde hair and blue eyes, with a few additional pounds added on. But while the local Notorious Biggy is a few weight divisions above Eminem he, like his American lookalike, knows a good beat when he hears one.

There is a very catchy rap of ‘Dames/sê my wat jou name is/my name is Adrianus’ (ladies tell me what your name is, my name is Adrianus) which is done in a slacker voice over some wicked beats, telling of Biggy’s luck and then bad luck with girls as he invites one home, but is dumped when she discovers he still lives with his parents or when a girl hears he’s a well known rapper, but when he takes her outside a boyfriend punches his lights out.

Biggy doesn’t take himself too seriously with these funny lyrics, cool rhymes and catchy beats. Perhaps the refrain of ‘Damessê my wat jou names is…’ does become a little irritating after about the 50th time in the song, but this is a minor criticism of one of the tracks which demonstrates the growth and maturity of Afrikaans rap music. Slightly less vulgar than Die Antwoord or Jack Parrow, Biggy is a more clean cut rapper. He is the Kurt Darren to Die Antwoord’s Fokofpolisiekar of the SA rap scene. He is a bit like The Fat Boys or De La Soul, who took the lighter approach to rapping than the gangsta style. And he just about makes it work with ‘Dames’.

Where to find it:
Big Bigger Biggy – Biggy (2019), Universal

Video:

Cape Flats – Brasse Vannie Kaap

Yskoud – Brasse Vannie Kaap

Yskoud – Brasse Vannie Kaap

Before Brasse Vannie Kaap, we didn’t really have much by way of successful rappers in South Africa and certainly almost none that rapped in Afrikaans and, as far as I am aware, none that rapped with a kleurling accent. So its hard to argue with people saying that they were ground breaking.

They came to prominence in 1997 with the release of their eponymous debut album, ‘Brasse Vannie Kaap’ and this fame continued with the release of their second album ‘Yskoud’ which included ‘Cape Flats’ and was released in 2000. The song must have been influenced by the fusion of hard rock and hip hop which songs like Run DMC’s collaboration with members of Aerosmith on their 1986 hit, ‘Walk This Way’ had successfully managed. There is a hard-edged guitar growling throughout the song while the lyrics are delivered in an angry voice that at time borders on threatening. But there is an almost catchiness to the chorus when the band join in and you can almost hear them jumping around (like they do in the video below) as they blast out the sound.

Brasse Vannie Kaap along with fellow Cape band Prophets of da City led the way for acts like Die Antwoord and Jack Parrow to follow. In 2002 a compilation album called ‘Vloek Van Die Kitaar’ brought together some of the most influential Afrikaans rock songs that had been released up till then. It featured some of the Voelvry movement acts and a number from the burgeoning Stellenbosch blues scene, but also included ‘Cape Flats’ which, while being at odds with the other tracks in terms of its sound, was also given the nod as a very influential Afrikaans song.

Where to find it:
Yskoud – Brasse Vannie Kaap (as BVK) (2000), Ghetto Ruff, CDGRUF014
Vloek Van Die Kitaar – Various Artists (2002), EMI, CDEMIM (WLM) 012

Video:

Enter The Ninja – Die Antwoord

$O$ - Die Antwoord

$O$ – Die Antwoord

Before 2009 if you had asked virtually anyone if they thought rapping with a heavy South African accent would propel one into the music charts in the US, they would have probably laughed at you, but after 2009 while most Saffers watched with their lower jaws suffering form gravity overload, Die Antwoord somehow came up with the answer to how to crack the US charts and their debut album $O$ crept into the Billboard 200 album charts, spending a week at number 109.

Aided by a disturbing video that went viral (and has nearly 70 million views at the time of writing) the skollie vocals of Ninja offset by the girlie chanting of Yolandi Visser and underscored by DJ Hi-Tek’s beats, Die Antwoord defied all odds and stepped onto the world stage. There is something catchy about the innocent lyrics ‘Ay-I Ay-I Ya I am your butterfly/ I need your protection’ which Yolandi introduces the song with and as the beat come in the song becomes quite danceable to while Ninja (aka Watkin Tudor Jones or Max Normal) lets loose with a hyperspeed rap that introduced the world to Zef culture.

Even after the initial excitement of the success of ‘Enter The Ninja’ few would have predicted that this new Zef fad was nothing more than a fad, but hats off to Die Antwoord who have gone from strength to strength and improved on the initial success their album, ‘Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid’ peaking at 34 on the US charts while ‘Donker Mag’ peaked at 37. I think it is fair to say that they have surprised all their doubters and detractors and they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they certainly are doing something right and it started with this one, ‘Enter The Ninja’.

Where to find it:
$O$ – Die Antwoord (2009), Rhythm Records, RR118

Video:

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