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Hard Acts to Follow



Who: Flamboyantly attired, trash-talking South African rap trio consisting of lanky team captain Ninja; pint-size, Care Bear–voiced Yo Landi Vi$$er; and D.J. Hi-Tek. (Vi$$er has been in the news lately as director David Fincher’s dream girl for his American adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.) Ninja and Vi$$er both grew up in Port Elizabeth and ended up in Cape Town. Ninja started writing rhymes at 14, inspired by a rap scene in the eighties hip-hop flick Breakin’; Vi$$er fell into rapping through a friend “who was really good at making beats. He would say, ‘Come say that cute thing into the mike,’ and he would make it sound really cool without me having to do anything.” Ninja recruited her five years ago. “I trained under Ninja,” she says. “Ten push-ups every day at five in the morning. That’s Ninja rap training.”

Sounds Like: Nothing you’ve ever heard. The two M.C.’s rhyme in a mesmerizing combo of accented English, the occasional Dutch, and their native Afrikaans. Their rawly absurdist lyrics can make you laugh out loud.

The Master Plan: “We’re only doing five albums,” Vi$$er says. And they’re serious about that: Ninja has a series of tattoos that plots out their five albums, some as yet unrecorded. Their debut album, $O$, will be released in America by Cherrytree/Interscope Records on October 25. “Our second,” says Ninja, “will be called Ten$ion; the third, Yo-Landi’s first solo album, Voice;and the fourth, my solo album, will be Dominator.” The fifth’s title is still a secret, but the two intend on releasing their solo efforts on the same day. “It’s a battle to see who sells more,” says Ninja.

The Fans: They can be a little scary. One of Die Antwoord’s songs, “Fishpaste,” includes the phrase jou ma se poes, slang for “your mother’s vagina,” says Ninja. “It’s a hard dis, a ghetto dis.” According to Vi$$er, “some guy in the Netherlands tattooed it on his arm and sent us a picture. We were like, Jesus Christ!”

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