Rap-Rave Trio Die Antwoord Sign Major Label Deal
According to reports, South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord are now labelmates with 50 Cent. The group, comprised of frontman Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek (not the Cincinnati-bred producer who's also one-half of Reflection Eternal) have announced their signing with Interscope Records, after being wooed by label owner Jimmy Iovine.
"I kissed him on each cheek, because we were making a deal like you do with the mafia. Die Antwoord is in business with Interscope now," Ninja said in a recent interview with Boing Boing. "I'm not skinny like this by choice. We had no money forever. Now, we're flying business class to America, and look at me, I'm eating berries and granola in Hollywood."
Die Antwoord's bizarre music videos became wildly popular online in the past two months, launching the group from South African unknowns to worldwide stars virtually out of nowhere. The "zef" rappers claim to be working with 'District 9' director Neill Blomkamp on their next video, and said to be making their first official concert appearance in the U.S. at Coachella music festival, in April.
"When we did the big meeting with Interscope, Jimmy Iovine was telling me all about how badly their business has been harmed by the Internet," Ninja continued. "I can understand that but I said, 'Jimmy, I want to give you a piece of samurai advice: Become the enemy."
The group's debut, '$O$' is currently streaming on their website for free, and will be followed by four more releases, along with an hour-long documentary/music video, 'Thriller' style. "The funniest thing has been the people on the Internet angry that we were 'fake,'" Ninja says of the group's viral success. "The only people who thought we were some kind of hoax were from the U.S. and the E.U. This is just real, it's who we are."
While the group's image may or may not be contrived, there's no doubt that Die Antwoord is a conceptual art piece, in the same vein as Ninja's previous incarnations in South African groups normal.tv and Constructus Corporation. "The art you see in our videos, on the clothing, the tattoos, everything -- a lot of that is also inspired by the art of children, and the criminally insane," explained Ninja. "They don't have that hard barrier between their conscious and subconscious minds, the creativity and fluid consciousness inspires me."
Whether Die Antwoord will enjoy a serious musical career or briefly reign as South Africa's answer to 'Ali G,' however, remains to be seen. Check out their website here and a couple videos after the jump.