I know I should be over it by now, but I’m just not. It kills me — a deep down painful kind of death — that Die Antwoord got famous.
I first heard about them from my friend Brian on his blog in February. (I feel compelled to clarify, if you see my comments on the post, that I was quoting the song. Which sucks. For the record.) Meme soon spread, garnering the group’s YouTube videos millions of hits in a few weeks. By May they were opening for MIA and had signed with fucking Interscope. Now they’re returning to NYC to headline at Live Nation’s 600-seat Gramercy (nee Blender) Theater tomorrow night.
With them returns my ire over the power of the internet and the ever obscuring causes of popularity.
I’m really baffled here at how I can be so incredibly out of step with public opinion. True, I’m rarely a fan of mainstream hits, but I can typically understand why consumers buy what they buy. I have generally good taste. I listen to rap. I think these guys blow so ridiculously hard that I still can’t wrap my head around the idea that people actually like them.
But they must, right? Or is it just too hard to distinguish anymore between what we like and what we recognize? You know how sometimes you find yourself humming along to a song on the radio — or pausing for a few bars as you scanning the stations — only to realize that you fucking hate that song? Our brains sometimes take a minute between “Hey, I have a memory of this” and “My memory is that I don’t like this.” But eight months is a long lag time. Too long.
At 3:57 in the video above, now copywritten by the label, not just two South African shmos like it used to be, MC Ninja looks into the camera and steps to all the bullies who said he was a loser who’d never make it. “Look at me now,” he says, “all up in the interweb. Worldwide. 2009.” This was hilarious in February of 2010 when all he’d done was upload a video of himself on YouTube, as though that were some sign of success. Now, it makes me sad. So, so sad. Because it’s true: he made it. And I hate that. No lag time required.
And I hate that in my own way, in my utter confusion, in my sheer disbelief that these hacks took themselves seriously, by just clicking and commenting, I helped make them. I helped blur the line between famous and infamous. And I’m sorry. So, so sorry.