According to a new study that I very much wish actually existed, many of South African avant-rap group Die Antwoord’s biggest fans are toddlers between the ages of 2 and 5. Usually developing a fondness for the crew shortly after passing out of infancy, many youngsters start to exhibit a strong affinity for the violent, surreal stylings of MCs Yo-Landi Vi$$er and Ninja as well as DJ Hi-Tek’s pummeling electronics around the same time that they begin to read. The trouble, however, is that many of the provocateurs’ videos contain imagery unsuitable for children, from the horrifying gyno visit of “Fatty Boom Boom” to the uncensored man-butt of “Baby’s On Fire”. The video accompanying the group’s single “I Fink U Freeky” is no exception, unrepentantly displaying disturbing visions of lifeless animal corpses, rubble-strewn severed arms that fondle from beyond the grave, and waxed moustaches. Parents with an ounce of reason know enough to shield their impressionable progeny’s precious eyes from such potentially traumatic sights, leaving much of the rap trio’s core following unable to take in the visual component of the Die Antwoord experience.
Today, Die Antwoord’s many preschool-aged supporters receive a special treat, courtesy of video editor Robert Jones (whose name has graced the pages of this very site in the past on numerous occasions). Jones has recut old footage from the BBC’s bizarro children’s program “Teletubbies” to match the first verse-or-so of “I Fink U Freeky”, and created an all-new sort of Die Antwoord video. This is no slapdash pairing of disparate cultural forces, though; “Lazy town REMIX feat Lil’ Jon” this ain’t. The coupling of Die Antwoord’s aggressive barrage of couplets gels with the Teletubbies footage with a surprisingly cohesive rationality.
For one, Yo-Landi’s tone of voice does vaguely resemble the Teletubbies’ indecipherable yet cutesy blathering. Beyond that, the juxtaposition here underscores the intrinsic freakiness of the Teletubbies themselves, a sort of uncanny inhumanity that fades into the background after a few viewings. The song reminds the viewer that yes, the creatures onscreen are abominations of nature, with viewing screens ghoulishly fused to their viscera and misshapen growths sprouting from their heads like the ornamentation of some hell-sent reindeer. The dark, claustrophobic raps underscore the hostile atmosphere of the Teletubbies’ cramped world, where they must rush to escape the unforgiving rays of the giggling-baby sun by taking refuge indoors. When Yo-Landi groans around the minute mark, who’s to say that she’s not groaning at the harsh indignities of Teletubby life, a pitiless existence in which the only solace a soul might find hides in a bowl of inscrutable hot-pink custard?