Die Antwoord Make the Crowd Freak Out at Coachella
Most of those that flocked to Coachella’s Sahara tent for the first performance on U.S. soil from South African Zef rappers Die Antwoord would have told you the same thing: They heard them first on YouTube. With only a 20-minute slot on the schedule — and a new deal with major label Interscope — Die Antwoord proved to be confusingly entertaining considering their unusual shot to the public eye, as three kids growing up together in a “Zef” (aka South American slang for “white trash”) neighborhood near Cape Town. So unbelievable is their Cinderella story that people are still scratching their heads as to whether this was a funny joke or the real deal.
“When I was boy, I wanted to be a ninja. Now I’m a man and I’m a ninja,” frontman (you guessed it) Ninja rapped to the crowd.
All three group members — Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek, friends since”forever” — appeared in matching warm-up suits, with the tall lanky Ninja eventually stripping down to his all too familiar and now-trademark Pink Floyd boxers for most of the set. The trio, whose name translates from “the answer” in their native Afrikaans, commanded the stage like pros, rushing the audience from every direction. Early on in the set, they tore through their entertaining viral hits, like ‘Enter the Ninja‘ with its painfully catchy “Aai aai aai/ I am a butterfly” refrain, delivered by its sole female in a nymph-like pitch.
“Yo, DJ Hi-Tek drop the Motherf—in’ beatbox dog,” Ninja screamed into the mike, sending the crowd roaring, on their all too familiar intro to ‘Zef Side.’ But despite Die Antwoord’s two YouTube favorites, the group’s two MCs seemed most comfortable when trading off on freestyles and verses on tracks still unfamiliar to the crowd. Quite possibly the most softly-hyped headliner at the festival, Die Antwoord had the most to prove of any artist playing Coachella 2010 — and by God did they do it! For fans in the U.S., their following has now become much more than viral.