1. "Ninja" has been renamed more often than the average street in Durban.
2. Over the course of his career so far, "Ninja" has gone by many other names including The Man Who Never Came Back, MC Totally Rad, Yang Weapon, Max Normal, Constructus Corporation, Maxnormal.TV, Watkin Tudor Jones, Jones Junior ... He is most commonly known in Cape Town as "Waddy", but frequently will not answer to this name.
3. "Waddy" has always been big on collaborations. Long before he hooked up with Yo-landi, he exploded into the Rainbow Nation’s consciousness in 1994 fronting wigga crew The Original Evergreens. Signed to major label, Sony Music, their albums Puff the Magic (1995) and Burn the Evidence (1997) were hailed by critics as a mercurial "funkadelic jazzy hip-hop" spin on Cypress Hill's spliff-rap.
4. Always the creative chameleon, Waddy's next conceptual makeover saw him fronting live hip-hop band Max Normal. Their relaxed sounding, but biting grooves took cool Joburg clubs like 206 by storm. The original Max Normal line-up featured the talents of Waddy plus his DJ partner Simon 'Sibot' Ringrose, drummer Sean O Tim, drummer Adrian Levi, and guitarist Mark Buchanan.
5. Max Normal had only just begun to make underground waves worldwide with their album, Songs from a Mall (2001) when Waddy disbanded the crew and moved to Cape Town.
6. They played their last gig as the support act for Faithless on the international group’s 2002 SA tour.
7. Urban myth has it that a pre-famous Nelly Furtado was so smitten by seeing Max Normal perform at the Pukkelpop festival in Holland that she wanted to collaborate with Waddy.
8. On a mission to keep it real, Waddy invented another fantasy world for himself: The Constructus Corporation. Aka Constructus, this super-underground crew brought Waddy as Watkin Tudor Jones together with the beat Sibot and Markus Worsmtorm. Sibot and Markus are all also former African Dope fiends, and underground alternative icons in their own right, partnering up in The Real Estate Agents and sculpting beats for Playdoe and Sweat X respectively.
9. Constructus was a masterpiece of design and marketing, and The Ziggurat (2002), another mall-themed album, featured Waddy playing various characters, a book illustrated by Nikil Singh, and a bonus blank CD with instructions on where to download extra songs and audio, free of charge.
10. Fans who missed Max Normal’s more accessible sound were excited when Maxnormal.tv, a reinvention of Max Normal as a corporate hip-hop crew, came to town. Max Normal.tv gave musical multimedia presentations styled like motivational talks, with Powerpoint presentations projected above the stage.
11. The Maxnormal.tv line-up featured characters Max Normal (the boss), Yolandi Visser (a romance novel writer), as well as Brad Armitage (the playboy), Jakob Basson (the workhorse), and Justin De Nobrega (the angel) all of whom had different responsibilities and roles to play in Maxcorp, a conflicted but caring corporate entity sent from heaven to save the world… or something like that.
12. Die Antwoord came next. The current crew consists of Ninja, Yo-landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek (aka Max Normal.TV’s Justin DeNobrega).
13. Die Antwoord performed live for the first time ever at Ramfest 3 in February 2009.
14. Watch the video of them performing "Doosdronk" with Fokofpolieskar (f*ck off police car), who probably were genuinely doosdronk (that's pussy-drunk literally, but it doesn’t translate) at the time.
15. They also became the stuff of legend after jumping onstage to improvise "Sail Away Mutherfucka" when the Wedding DJs played the famous Enya track at Oppikoppi 2009.
16. Like any b®and savvy crew, Die Antwoord isn't just about music. They also make movies and merchandise. Their creations include a boutique range of limited edition, hand made soft-toys with a delightfully ear-catching billing: CHOMMIE TOYS.
17. These 'chum toys' are strange and wonderful creatures that include a Giraffe who is so chilled he can end arguments just by walking past, a Bokkie who likes raving to the techno heart-beat of the Earth and a cute little Rabbit that practices shiatsu. The tip: cosmic, not creepy, to "help kids - of all ages – find freedom of expression." Watch out for an edgy range of GOMMIE toys coming soon.
18. Waddy doesn't drink alcohol, while Francois Van Coke of Fokofpolisiekar has been about 50% proof most of his adult life.
19. Die Antwoord (is it wrong to call them DA for short?) billing themselves as "a mysterious force from the dark, dangerous depths of Africa". Having convinced celebrated photographer Roger Ballen to shoot their debut album cover, they continue to take a weird, scary approach to publicity. Here are a few of their first photos .
20. To get into the zef-rap rave groove, Ninja and Yo-landi wrote a series of "How Can We Help" you columns for Speakerbox.
21. Ninja also penned a series of experimental album reviews for Speakerbox. Read some: here and here
22. Styled as Cape Flats dwellers in the new South Africa, and performing from Mitchell’s Plein (see a video here) to Central Cape Town and blowing festivals away (see that too here), Die Antwoord quickly became huge on the trendy scene with songs like "Wat Pomp" (watch video).
23. Always very hip to the use of multimedia, myth and legend, Die Antwoord have recently exploded on the international scene with the "Zef Side" video (instantly losing half their Cape Town fans, who don't like to share musical interests with the mainstream.)
24. Many instant fans overseas people believed the video depicted their real lives. Actually, Yo-landi and Ninja are married and have a daughter, Sixteen, who is about to go to school.
Bonus # 25th fact! Die Antwoord's (absolutely amazing) Website now boasts that they’re “taking over the interweb”, and based on the minute by minute updates on Twitter, it seems this, at least, is true.