“One for the money, two for the Ninja,” Die Antwoord’s lead vocalist Ninja spit into his microphone. What did it mean? We’re still not sure, but with Die Antwoord many things are unclear. The South African trio—featuring Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek—calls itself a rave-rap group. This means that they mix their native Afrikaans with English to produce lyrics the likes you haven’t heard and don’t often understand. That’s the beauty of Die Antwoord, not knowing if they’re serious or if we’re sucked into a satire.
Antwoord’s Las Vegas visit was part dance party and part rap show, switching from the electronic beats of “I Fink U Freeky” from 2012’s Ten$ion to the hip-hop-influenced “Enter the Ninja.” It was an event where neon sweatsuits, giant gold chains and Pokémon suits weren’t out of place, stemming from the band’s proclaimed Zef style. (Zef is a South African subculture known for sporting 1980s hip-hop gear.) For all the hard edges and profanity, the band ended on a strikingly positive note, with Vi$$er telling the crowd to “be happy.” We all complied. ★★★★☆