If you are not already familiar with Die Antwoord, the fascinating and controversial South African rap-rave group, then this video, for the track “Ugly Boy” off their latest studio album Donker Mag, may be a bit shocking. Heck, even if you are familiar with Die Antwoord, this video may be a bit shocking. In addition to the blood and viscera, fetishized body modding, and aggressively creepy staging to which we’ve grown accustomed, this latest installment from the zef-culture poster-children (made up of rappers Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er, and backed by DJ Hi-Tek) is additionally shocking for its stupefying rolodex of celebrity cameos.
Among the featured guests of the Ninja-directed “Ugly Boy” are Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack Black in crazy face-scar makeup, Aphex Twin (whose “Ageispolis” is the main sample here), the ATL Twins, Marilyn Manson, as well as Manson’s ex-wife Dita Von Teese and model Cara Delevingne (neither of whom are ugly, nor boys). The inclusion of such familiar faces in their video suggests Die Antwoord’s forceful and self-congratulatory push into mainstream acceptance, without having to compromise their distinctly counter-culture aesthetics. That being said, “Ugly Boy” is also a smoother, more accessible, pop-leaning track than much of their earlier work.
This video debuted out the same day as the trailer for director Neill Blomkamp’s robo-adventure film Chappie, in which both Ninja and Yo-Landi co-star as criminals who kidnap, and then help raise, a thinking, feeling robot. Basically, it’s like Short Circuit, but with a South African grittiness. Check out the trailer on EW.
One last, fun, little anecdote about Die Antwoord: our very own Dan Casey tells me he once was at a restaurant where Ninja and Yo-Landi were dining with a large group at the next table over. They encouraged all the kids at the table to make musical noises and lay down a beat, and then Ninja began some G-rated freestyle rapping over it to the delight of all. Anyone know if they’re available for birthday parties?