S.African Afrikaans rappers takes Internet by storm

JOHANNESBURG Fri Feb 5, 2010 12:33pm EST

Ninja (R), front man for the Afrikaans rap group Die Antwoord (The Answer), poses with an unidentified man. REUTERS/Handout

Ninja (R), front man for the Afrikaans rap group Die Antwoord (The Answer), poses with an unidentified man.

Credit: Reuters/Handout

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African Afrikaans rap group has taken the Internet by storm with explicit in-your-face lyrics, provocative performances and using cyberspace to promote their music.

A website set up by the group, Die Antwoord (The Answer), received millions of visits in the past four days, crashing the server it was hosted on after the group featured on blogs www.boingboing.net and www.dlisted.com

They performed self-styled "Zef" music -- an Afrikaans term loosely meaning redneck -- with explicit lyrics in Afrikaans and English which has raised some eyebrows in South Africa's mostly conservative Afrikaans community.

The group's fans on social networking site Facebook have doubled in recent days, one of their videos on video-sharing site YouTube has been viewed over 200,000 times. "Our Internet site has taken about three million hits in the past four days. It crashed on the first day and we had to pay 3,000 rand (250 pounds) (to the service provider) and went broke," said Die Antwoord's frontman, only known as Ninja.

The website, www.dieantwoord.com which streams the group's first album, has since been moved to a U.S.-based server to handle the traffic.

Die Antwoord has also built up a sizeable following on micro-blogging site Twitter with some tweets comparing the group to top rapper Eminem.

Ninja said the group, made up of himself, blonde singer Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek, started performing a year ago.

"We didn't get booked for ages. Now in three days, we are being offered 50,000 rand for a gig. I wake up at three in the morning to check all the emails," Ninja said.

They are touring Europe and Scandinavia from April and will tour in the United States later in the year.

Die Antwoord was talking to a record label in the Netherlands over a contract but has also been approached by a major global record company.

"We don't have jobs, we didn't have anything before this. This thing blew up and I think we transferred the emotion that we put into our music into the Internet."

(Editing by Paul Casciato)