Listen To This: Die Antwoord Start The End With Slang-slurred”DntTakeMe4APoes”
The end is nigh for South African zef rap-ravers Die Antwoord as we approach the release of their proclaimed final album, “27” (previously The Book of Zef), but new single “DntTakeMe4aPoes” shows this tenacious trio can still pump out a hit.
It’s almost a surprise to hear that Die Antwoord are coming to an end as an active group, what with two of the most high-energy people in the industry today leading it. But alas, all good, slightly cringe and completely crass things, must come to an end. And so be it – looking back on their discography, it’s hard to believe 10 years has gone by since they released their first singles, music videos, capturing the imaginations of South Africans initially, and then Europe, South America, the United States, and everywhere in-between. For them, it must feel like a bookend to a life-changing zeffed-up journey.
This latest single opens the floor for the finale, feauring local SA rapper G-Boy as the MC. He takes the lead here suprisingly, and then unsurprisingly, pitches it perfectly. His verses are tight, focused, and delivered in a pretty convincing fashion. But this is certainly Die Antwoord’s answer (no pun intended) to the autotuned phrasology of Post Malone and the like. Those artists, however, could never play in the world that Die Antwoord play in. Their thing is still their thing.
G-Boy is just one of the local RSA rappers to feature on their final album, with it being spun as a showcase of stars back home – “Simunye, we are one”, as seen on the accompanied BTS video to the video, seemingly recognising how fortunately they were to break success in ‘the overseas’, while many collaborators never got their proper due. Can we consider this as heading someway to repaying the favour? With their humongous audience draw worldwide, it seems many of these artists will now get proper exposure, with fans hungry for more from ‘zef’ culture, and local talent in South Africa.
Yolandi is absent in song, but directs the video, while Ninja is relegated to a brief intro and a short but effective breakdown verse near the end – his voice heavily affected in the Cape Coloured accent, slur-slinging the local slang with pitch-perfect precision. It’s a bit ‘cultural appropriation’-ny, but Ninja avoids parody, hopefully blessed by the ‘ayas’ in his studio circle. god (formerly DJ HI-Tek) goes absolutely subterreanian on the bass here, having it whip like a lash on a dime – dogs are hearing this thing. It’s a sparce, alien-like production, with trappy off-beated hi-hat hits interspersed. And the eerie keyboard arpeggiates up and down in hypnotic fashion, making the whole thing seem like a twilight zone of murderous laments, G-Boy decrying the “poese” who “fuck with him” and “take him for a poes”.
The lyrics are fairly simple for the most part, but the annunciation here is what’s important. And looking at the Afrikaans slang used, mostly dutch-sounding noises for international audiences, but for speakers like myself, it’s a joy to hear the language used despite the probable insistence of commercial viability, and especially the mineral-rich expressions and vocab of the Cape Coloured ethnic community in South Africa. And just to be clear, “poes” means “c*nt”, while “don’t take me for a poes” means “don’t take me for a fool”. It’s a versatile word, not unlike “fuck” in the US.
If you hated them up till now, this probably isn’t going to change your mind, but as a showcase of local talent over their own, there might be room for the moderates to step in and explore a world that shouldn’t have existed in the mainstream, but now does. As a first step into the dark deep bass, extra-terrestrial melodies and macabre world that is sure to be their final album, it ain’t half bad. This could be a summertime hit in Hell, if Hell was a Johannesburg highway overpass at 3am. Check the video and see what I mean.