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Die Antwoord and "safe" can never go together in the same sentence. South Africa's most eclectic group is back with their fourth record Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid is just as odd as their premise.
You can never go into a Die Antwoord album expecting something, not because it won't live up to those expectations, but because there's nothing you can expect from it: it's going to be weird. Intro track 'We Have Candy' - also the album's original title - is a long skit, which really just sounds like an odd family dinner. 'Daddy' follows up and continues being odd, where the spoiled daughter of the family begs her dad for whatever she wants. It's super catchy though, so the weird premise can be excused. 'Banana Brain' continues on with the playful feel of the beginning of the record, EDM beats making up the instrumental.
Nothing is quite as playful (if that's the right word for it) as the center of the album, when Lil Tommy Terror comes in. There's nothing like half-paying attention to a record and all of a sudden hearing a little boy praying to God, asking "When I wake up, can I please have wings on my penis," then continue to rap about drawing dicks everywhere and cursing. It's a truly enlightening experience. After edgily ending the song off with one final "Fuck you," another skit plays called 'U Like Boobies?' where Yolandi tries to convince Lil Tommy to buy access to a hole, that has many, many crazy things within it: guns, aliens, rats...
As Tommy buys into the hole, Jack Black creepily sings about rats in the next song on top of a Halloween-esque organ instrumental. The instrumentals on the album are pretty diverse; from the EDM influence in 'Banana Brains' to the epic rave vibes of closure track 'I Don't Care' to the odd carnival vibes in 'Shit Just Got Real' featuring Sen Dog, a lot of ground is covered. Other great moments include the dark and mysterious hip-hop beats of 'Darkling' and oddly captivating atmosphere of 'Alien'. It's creepy, but absorbing.
My main gripe with the album is that I don't really understand the direction. I get the whole weird concept of the group, and what they try to accomplish with their music, but is there some big message? Is this album just meant to be fun? The intro skit sets it up to be some story about a family and a boy who suddenly gets super powers... but why? How? There's so many questions that this album raises, and not in a good way. Questions from albums should be generated from a bigger picture, or if it's a narrative, what's going on in the narrative. The question shouldn't be what happened to the narrative and plot?
Die Antwoord isn't for everyone. Their weirdness is a bit too much at times, but at all the same time it's grabbing. You want to search for something within the music, regardless of if something's in there or not. There's a certain curiosity their music creates, and that's worth it in the end. Mount Ninji is a wildly confusing album, which takes away from that. I've taken little in from it, and at the end I just don't understand what I've heard. I guarantee there's more to it than what I can put together, but after all of this, I'm unsure of if I even want to know what's happening.
Favorite Tracks: Daddy, I Don't Care
Least Favorite Tracks: Stoopid Rich, Fat Faded Fuck Face, Street Light
Rating: 59 / 100