So let’s talk for a second about Lady Gaga being eaten by a lion and giving birth to a King Cricket in the South African “Zef Style Rap-Rave group, Die Antwoord’s latest music video “Fatty Boom Boom.” Now, before we start, let me say that Lady Gaga really doesn’t need to be defended. She is powerful (By powerful I mean has enough money and followers) enough to stand up for herself and deal with the fact that some people aren’t going to like her. But that being said have Die Antwoord created a satirical piece of art worthy of dissing that of pop diva Lady Gaga, or is it just another group trying to ride on the “I hate Gaga” bandwagon?
Spin.com has chronicled Die Antwoord and Gaga’s issues here but essentially Gaga’s people contacted Die Antwoord’s people asking if they would open for her, and they told her no. Then they blasted her on Twitter for liking their music. And then they made the “Fatty Boom Boom” video. Why would a band turn down guaranteed money and exposure? The same reason why Morrisey won’t get back together with the Smiths, “It’s not about the Money.” But in a way it kind of is. Die Antwoord champion “Zef Style,” Zef referring to the Ford Zephyr, a car popular in South Africa in the 70s-the 90s as a working class car. What Zef Style translates to now is a sort of glorification of White Low-Middle class culture in South Africa, according to Urban Dictionary. The closest we have come in America is Kid Rock saying that he’s “Not straight outta Compton, but… straight out the trailer.” If they HAD gone on tour with Gaga it would have ruined their lower-middle class vibe, so it would seem that blasting her would (and has) gotten them more attention than actually… you know… performing.
That being said the Gaga audience might be receptive to Die Antwoord’s look (Except maybe the whole Yolandi in Blackface… but who knows), and their sound which is IMMENSELY catchy, but ultimately I think their message when heard by Gaga’s monsters would conflict. While some of what Lady Gaga says is problematic to some members of the GLBTQ community, she seems very genuine (even if sometimes misguided) in her love of the community. So why would her audience be receptive to a band who would release a song like Evil Boy with an entire breakdown about how one man doesn’t want to be touched by another man and how his genitals are clean from man love?
But I digress; truthfully it is hard to tell what Die Antwoord is trying to say about Lady Gaga. Erin Conway-Smith reported the inaccuracies of South African culture within the “Fatty Boom Boom,” video better than I could at GlobalPost, could they be trying to say that Lady Gaga couldn’t possibly understand where a band like Die Antwoord is coming from? Or possibly that they feel she is being diminutive to them and their culture? If so all the intro to the video says is that Die Antwoord have no issue perpetuating stereotypes of South Africa rather than Gaga.
One can look at Yolandi and Ninja’s red and white outfits as a reference to Gaga’s Bad Romance attire, but why is Yolandi in Black Face? Are they trying to say that Gaga is racist? I’m not saying she is or is not but if the entire video is bashing Gaga, she’s known to wear the meat suit (Check), known to enjoy things she doesn’t understand which are strange in the name of fashion (OK), but she’s not really KNOWN for being racist. This is not the first video Yolandi has appeared in full black face (see I Fink You Freaky), so the entire aesthetic convolute their message.
When Gaga goes to the gynecologist, she gives birth to a King Cricket. This is a direct jab at her Born This Way video in which Lady Gaga gives birth to her Monsters as well as to Evil and hate. There are a lot of ways that this could have been done and been a direct dig at Gaga and what she stands for and be centered around WHY they have such a problem with her, unfortunately they didn’t do this. They resorted to insulting the fact that she’s a woman saying her genitals are filled with crickets.
Ultimately the video doesn’t tell the story of why we should hate Lady Gaga like Die Antwoord does it just takes cheap shots at the pop diva who simply don’t “Fink,” she’s freaky. The song is catchy, and the visual aesthetic of the video is eye catching, but as satire it falls flat because I have no idea why them representing a montage of other Gaga videos is supposed to show me how stupid Lady Gaga is. If this is just a dis song/video, it doesn’t focus on why they have such a problem with her. This has to simply be an attack on Gaga but unfortunately, artistically creative as it is, it falls flat because it simply wants to be disrespectful and misogynistic. I tend to agree with this Ninja fellow when he asks, “What happened to all the cool rappers back in the day,” they knew how to create a strong and effective dis.
Watch the official Fatty Boom Boom music video here.