"What ya gonna do today Ninjy, huh?" Perhaps a question we don't want answering.
Die Antwoord have always amused me one way or another. Their debut, '$O$' was something I really rated despite low quality production and some really dumb tracks. When you pushed through the issues and immaturity however, the album was filled with intelligence, creativity and some really interesting lyrical themes, no doubt based on their life in South Africa which I cannot begin to comprehend as someone who lives in the middle of fucking nowhere in England.
To my delight, the raving, rapping trio were signed and they eventually released a follow up album called 'Ten$ion' an effort that felt much better produced and slightly more mainstream, but also digging themselves into a hole of immaturity. Maybe that was the point? Who knows with these guys? They're the most bizarre group I've witnessed in my life. I have no idea what to take seriously about them.
Anyway, not long ago they released a third effort called Donkey Kong or something, so I have it a listen. And here is my synopsis. It's shit.
Don't get me wrong. There are some good tracks within and throughout, but they are few and far between. 'Happy Go Sucky Fucky' is probably my favourite track, which judging the title, doesn't say much for the rest. The album has major issues. It feels confused and lazy. And despite it being the best produced album of the lot, the lyrical content alone makes 'Donker Mag' a poor effort. My cousin mentioned that the album reminded him of I.C.P and I realised he was right. They're on the verge of being Insane Clown Posse, which is never a good place to be. 'Raging Zef Boner' is an insult when compared to their previous songs like 'Babies on Fire' 'Fish Paste' and even 'Fatty Boom Boom' which all seemed immature but also had an underlying message that brought a more mature spin on the entire thing. I do not want to hear about Ninja's fucking boner. It's a cop out. It isn't even funny like The Funkoars 'The Phallic Menace' which is pretty much the exact same song but much better.
Then there are the skits. Way too many of them and most of them nonsensical, they are there only to pad out the album. Pointless, not complementary. A waste of time. I get the horrible feeling that Ninja and whatever we're meant to call that girl-thing he's with are resting in their laurels. Simply saying stuff to be deliberately provocative. Its began to feel like they no longer give a fuck.
There is one member of the band I've yet to comment on, and that is DJ Hi-Tek. Who will no doubt 'fuck me in the ass' after this review. Well, hopefully not because I actually have some nice things to say about him. You see, their debut $O$ sounded like it had been recorded and produced on a Windows 98 PC running Audacity. The tracks were kinda dodgy, the so called 'creativity' could easily have simply been limitation. When we get onto 'Ten$ion' Mr Hi-Tek must have been given some better hardware, maybe a mix desk, some real DAW software and perhaps a better PC. Three albums in and now Die Antwoord clearly have enough '$' DJ Hi-Tek really is high tech, probably with a studio of his own filled with plenty of audio hardware and fruit branded computers. What I'm trying to say here is that the music is one thing that has consistently improved with each album and 'Donker Mag' is no different. It's great to see actual improvement somewhere in their crazy evolution.
Unless you're a die hard Die Antwoord fan, I cannot recommend 'Donker Mag.' It feels like a half arsed effort. And whereas the music is better than ever, the lyrics lie low in the pit of shock explicit sex and anarchic slurs, with little thought or context. The overall flow of the album feels off and somewhat forced. It isn't good. Hopefully, the band will agree and maybe focus on being a little less tacky and a little more genuine in the future. And stop it with the fucking skits, they're not needed!