Die Antwoord in royalties tiff
Die Antwoord still hasn’t responded to claims that they used the dialogue from a Cape Town man’s YouTube video as the lyrics in two of their songs – without paying him, despite promising to do so.
The allegations were levelled at the internationally famous South African group by Anton Duitsman, who posted the video online in 2007 under the name NE0 SA.
South African blogger Wessel van Rensburg this week revealed an email Die Antwoord’s foul-mouthed frontman Ninja sent to Duitsman in late 2009.
In the mail, which is riddled with slang and profanities, Ninja – whose real name is Waddy Jones – described Duitsman as “THE ONE” and raved about his work on the video.
Duitsman contacted Ninja after he went to a braai where some of Die Antwoord’s songs, which would end up on the band’s first album, $0$, were played.
He says he recognised his own work from the video, a surreal and profanity-riddled take on the film trilogy The Matrix.
Ninja responded on November 24 2009.
He told Duitsman in the mail that a whole track on the album, “My best friend”, was just Duitsman’s voice over a “fat gangster rap beat”.
The vocalist went on to tell Duitsman in the email that he would be credited under his stage name for his work on “My best friend” and another song, “$COPIE”.
Die Antwoord had just signed to Magnetron, a Dutch label, to produce their first album.
Ninja told Duitsman the company would send a “featured artist publishing contract soon” that he would need to sign.
Die Antwoord rocketed to international stardom in January 2010 when their video for Enter the Ninja was uploaded to YouTube and went viral.
The band left Magnetron and was signed by Interscope.
Duitsman claims Interscope communicated with him to say his royalties would be paid.
But when he contacted them again to find out what was happening, Interscope referred him to its local agent, Sony.
Duitsman says he did not hear from Interscope, Sony or Die Antwoord again.
His name appears as a featured artist on the sleeve notes for $0$.
Duitsman said this week he intended to pursue his unpaid royalties with the help of lawyers.
Die Antwoord did not respond to repeated requests for comment.