20. Die Antwoord “Evil Boy” (2010)
Label: Cherrytree, Interscope
South African rap duo Die Antwoord (made up of rappers Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er) became an unlikely sensation in 2007 when they challenged the world’s ideas about what hip-hop could look and sound like. Influenced by Johannesburg’s Zef culture, where a kind of white trash carelessness is combined with gold necklaces and modern fashion elements, Die Antwoord came with a complete package of stylistic difference. Each MC is eccentric and menacing in their own way—Yo-Landi raps with a high-pitched ghoulishness, and Ninja balances comedy and a sinister intensity as good as many of rap’s greatest storytellers.
The production on Die Antwoord’s debut record $O$ reflects the duo’s wide array of cultural influences and oddball personality, so it comes as no surprise that Diplo got involved in the $O$ single “Evil Boy.” Collaborating with French tropical house producer Douster, he laced Die Antwoord with a feverish kuduro-style rhythm, and a creeping synth hook that captures the group’s silliness without turning them into a joke. This is 21st century party rap, and Diplo will be at the forefront of making it sound that way.