Die Antwoord – $O$ Album Review
If you heard Die Antwoord’s EP, 5, that they released last summer, you would have a good idea of what you were walking into with their debut full length $O$.
However, if you didn’t know what to expect, I’ll wait until you pick your jaw up off the floor before beginning.
I sincerely cannot explain the whats, whys or hows about this group. I’m not sure even they can do that. They are genre-bending, outrageous freaks. Hilarious, shameless, talented freaks. A suspension of disbelief is a required element to be able to handle this album, let alone enjoy it.
Among $O$‘s ten tracks are three songs from the EP, including the blazing song that rocketed these guys onto the scene – “Enter The Ninja.” The rest of the tracks hew closely to the formula set out the first time around. Essentially, it’s slickly produced hip-hop that heavily favors huge bass beats and squiggly electronics that provide loads of flair. If it weren’t for the two vocalists, these beats would easily fit in among the American hip-hop landscape (they’re from South Africa).
But it’s the vocalists – self-obsessed (what rapper isn’t?) leader Ninja and his pixie sidekick Yo-Landi Vi$$er – who are totally unique and they are the defining force behind Die Antwoord. Spitting couplets at a lightning fast speed in both English and Afrikaans, any non-South African listener is going to be at a complete loss for what is being said almost half the time. I’m certainly not expecting any profound truths, but from what I do understand during the English parts, this is some whacked-out, crazy shit. I can only imagine what’s going down in Afrikaans.
$O$ is full of filthy, trashy porno-sleaze with all sorts of lines about fucking, fucking on drugs, having your balls squished…the usual. One glimpse at the lyrics to “Beat Boy” will have you either rolling on the floor laughing or stomping away in utter disgust. After all, how many other songs do you know of that deal with S&M and sex changes?
Again, you can’t ask why with Die Antwoord. Just take Vi$$er’s advice on the album opener “In Your Face” – “Don’t think about it too much, you’ll pop a fuckin’ vein.”