Well, not so much a reinvention as an evolution, but still, Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid is by far the most palatable LP we’ve heard from the South African rap/rave group.
The evolution of our beloved characters has been an epic odyssey since the first beats of $O$ found their way into our ears so many years ago. TEN$ION further solidified the group’s unrestrained approach to making music, and we slowly began to see an evolution in their personalities, style, and songwriting in the work of Donker Mag.
Now, Die Antwoord has continued the trek in towards the enlightenment atop Mount Ninji, resulting in a revised Ninja and an even more ethereal Yolandi. Even DJ Hi-Tek himself has become God after working with “THE BLACK GOAT,” aka DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill. And after Ninja confirmed there is zero separation between their music career and daily lives, the abundance of skits in the LP gives us even more insight into the minds of Die Antwoord.
The album was originally poised to be titled We Have Candy after the single of the same name, setting the tone in full force with “He likes his coffee black like his soul.” Cars racing by, bottles popping, ominous piano tones, and moments of natural dialogue offer a respite from the slinging verse.
The bright track easily segues into “Daddy,” playing on the childhood rhyme of “Jenny Jenny Bo Benny,” and with the lyrics “my daddy will fuck yo daddy up,” how could the track not cultivate some insane head wobbling…?
The Cypress Hill vibes come in heavy with “Shit Just Got Real” featuring Sen-Dog, and the verbal assault is more than evident with Yolandi’s bristling Afrikaans. “Gucci Coochie” is self explanatory, and takes after the same theme as “Cookie Thumper.”
“Wings On My Penis” is indeed a real track, feel free to re-read that as many times as you need. Oh, and a six-year-old known as Lil Tommy Terror is the star of the song, threatening to draw a penis on your face. He might just do it if you tell his parents, too, Ninja said they don’t know it’s him on the record… Yolandi goes on to corrupt the little sprout with boobies, rap music, guns, and “a lot of fuckin’ rats” before God chimes in to cap the skit.
Jack Black lends his talents on the carnivalian “Rats Rule,” and for anyone who hated clowns growing up, you might want to stuff your ears. Ninja then ventures off to ride a tangent on “Jonah Hill,” and after defending his rap against Yolandi’s criticism, God lays down the final word.
We’re all familiar with “Banana Brain” by now, and there’s a reason it debuted as the single for this album. It hits with all the vigor of Die Antwoord’s rave appeal, but then drops into a juicy hip-hop beat ripe for Ninja to rap over, all the while Yolandi’s darkly sweetened whisperings pierce through the mix.
Really, the entirety of the album is dark, cavernous, and fresh. It’s easily the most polished work Die Antwoord has put forth, and the majority of its productions certainly lean toward a more trapped out hip-hop structure; “Street Light” makes damn sure of that.
“Darkling” takes on the most melodically rich arrangement of the album’s 16 tracks, but again, it’s the grumbling bass that urges the piece forward as Yolandi continues charging about her devilish origins. Those atmospheric elements finally lead into “I Don’t Care,” which starts off small, but then valiantly races into the unapologetic rave beat we’ve been waiting for since “Never Le Nkemise.” It’s a wonderful capstone to the album, and boasts an air of finality until we’re treated to the fifth installment of Die Antwoord’s odyssey.
Die Antwoord has not made the entire work of Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid available for streaming, but you can head over to iTunes and pick up a copy. If you’ve read this far, I guarantee you won’t regret it…