At last, readers, the next musical revolution has come. Now listeners of all tastes can bow to one perfect altar of music, toss away their differences, and appreciate the greatest piece of music to be released in years.
This revolution comes to us all the way from South Africa in the form of Die Antwoord, a rap trio who may actually be the second incarnation of the Holy Ghost on Earth. Influenced by the South African “Zef” counter-culture movement (Die Antwoord has been knowing for telling listeners to “flex [their] f—— Zef” often in lyrics from their past album, $O$), they have come to American shores with lyrics about conquering women, performing heroic acts of ninja skill, doing cocaine, conquering women and obliterating every other rapper in the group’s path in 38 minutes of the most heavenly and inspiring music ever to grace the planet. Do away with the Beatles, with Led Zeppelin, with Frank Sinatra, because the greatest artist of all time is indisputably Die Antwoord.
Okay, so maybe I was kidding. And maybe this is actually the worst music I think I’ve ever heard.
I came in to Die Antwoord’s new album Ten$ion (whose cover pictures an angel/alien holding a bright red human heart … truly baffling) with a lot of questions and left with only one: are these morons taken seriously in South Africa? The lyrics are too vulgar to print even with censorship and too stupid to print no matter what the circumstances are, and the song names include but are not limited to: “Fatty Boom Boom”, “I Fink U Freeky” and my personal favorite, “U Make A Ninja Wanna F—“. It’s impossible to tell the difference between the group’s three members, Ninja, DJ Hi-Tek, and Yo-Landi Vi$$er. Believe me, I tried for 13 grueling songs. The presentation is raucous and shallow, the beats and the rappers’ voices are 100% guaranteed to give the listener headaches, and every song sounds exactly alike, or perhaps they merely drove me insane and I lost the capability to understand what I was hearing.
It’s impossible to criticize this album because to criticize it means to take it seriously, and I can’t imagine that any culture, no matter how eccentric, could ever find these songs good. The only reason I’m writing about it is so you can find this album and listen to it and decide for yourself just why this acidic garbage exists anywhere on earth.
But I’m overlooking an important realization here, a realization that it took me 38 minutes of Zef-flexing to have: I can’t say if I recommend this album or not, because I simply don’t understand it. Perhaps no one can. Given that the album is obviously a creation of something totally alien, I feel that I have no choice but to give it a perfect score. Score: 10/10.
Jake Bittle / A&E Editor
Decide for yourself: I’ve attached a link to “I Fink U Freeky” to the end of this review. Be warned … it’s exceptionally profane.