South Africa’s Die Antwoord first made a splash in the States earlier this year with their stunningly edited, sometimes-creepy video for “Enter the Ninja.” The song, a mix of rave, rap and the uniquely childlike voice of the duo’s female contingent, Yo-Landi Vi$$er, was only an introduction into their world.
“Our style is incredibly, like, WWF, too fast, too furious, but the ingredients are South African,” rapper Ninja told MTV News about the band’s sound and aesthetic.
They’re also heavily rooted in the Zef subculture. “Zef is, like, a style,” he explained, “but it’s got a lot of … it’s got like a look. It’s a South African style that we just kind of … it’s broken around and we kind of stuck it together. But there’s a whole Zef language.”
The slang is an integral part of the Die Antwoord canon and is featured heavily throughout their major-label debut, $O$.
Because their American fans — they admit they first broke out Stateside before their popularity grew back home — aren’t privy to some of the vernacular, we had them translate some popular Zef words and phrases.
” ’Vat pomp': When you say ’What’s up,’ like, ’Hello,’ we say ’Vat pomp.’ It means, like, ’What’s pumping?’ ” Ninja explained. “But they’re not actual words. They’re slang words, but there’s lots of them.”
The band has pitched in to make sure nothing gets lost in translation. “We started to notice that the Zef slang is kind of like — if you know ’Lord of the Rings,’ it’s kind of like learning the Elvish alphabet,” Ninja said. “So we put all our translations, ’cause people always don’t know what we’re talking about … [on] our interwebs on DieAntwoord.com. It’s all our lyrics with Zef translations to help people understand. People enjoy that kind of thing. It’s like a whole world opens up.”
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