Watkin Tudor Jones, popularly known as Ninja, is a South African rapper, songwriter, actor, record producer, and music video director. As the son of a music enthusiast, he grew up amidst the rap culture. After dropping out of high school, Jones began his professional musical career in 1993. After years of struggling with unsuccessful projects, he eventually found success with his eccentric rave-rap crew, Die Antwoord. The group's single, "Enter the Ninja," became an enormous hit on social media and is still heard by his fans regularly. Besides being a singer, Jones is also an actor who has appeared in a number of films, such as ‘Umshini Wam’, ‘Chappie’ and ‘Die Antwoord: Ugly Boy’. A cool and composed personality behind the curtains, the South African artiste is a multifaceted one. On the personal front, he is in a relationship with his fellow bandmate, singer Yolandi Visser.
Watkin Tudor Jones initially joined Max Normal, a live hip hop band, as a lead vocalist. The band released their debut album ‘Songs from the Mall’ in 2001 and went on to perform at numerous festivals around South Africa, such as Splashy Fen, Oppikoppi and Up the Creek.
In early 2002, the band disbanded and Jones relocated to Cape Town to collaborate with Felix Laband and DJ Dope of Krushed & Sorted for a multimedia project called ‘The Ziggurat’ as a part of their band The Constructus Corporation outfit. The group disbanded in 2003.
In 2005, Jones revamped the band Max Normal into a 'corporate' hip hop crew called "MaxNormal.TV." This lineup consisted of Jones, Yolandi Visser, Justin De Nobrega and Neon Don. With MaxNormal.TV, Jones and his mates released the album ‘Good Morning South Africa’ in 2008.
In 2008, Jones, alongside DJ Hi-Tek and Visser, also formed a rap-rave group named Die Antwoord. The band was a union of elements from many diverse cultures mixed into one. They used to perform "Zef" music. Antwoord released their debut album titled ‘$O$’ on their official website. It later released the promo for their single "Enter the Ninja". The video went viral on the web, delivering millions of hits to the band’s official website and eventually crashing the site's server! Following the success of this video, Die Antwoord signed a deal with Interscope Records.
In 2010, they performed live for the first time at the Coachella Music Festival. That year, they also released their EP “5” and the songs "Super Evil" and "Very Fancy". In 2011, the band left Interscope Records and formed their own independent label under the name Zef Recordz, subsequently releasing a new album titled ‘Ten$Ion’. The album featured singles like "Fatty Boom Boom" and "Baby's on Fire". Jones and his group Die Antwoord next came up with their non-album single "XP€N$IV $H1T". Soon after this, they embarked on a brief tour across Europe.
On June 3, 2014, the band released their third album titled ‘Donker Mag’. Later, they released the music videos for "Cookie Thumper” and "Pitbull Terrier" on YouTube. In February 2015, the band collaborated with DJ Muggs for the mixtape ‘Suck on This,’ which was released on SoundCloud. On September 16, 2016, Die Antwoord released the album ‘Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid’ accompanied by the music videos for the tracks "Banana Brain" and "Fat Faded Fuck Face". In 2017, they released their final album ‘The Book of Zef’ before disbanding soon after.
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In 1995, Watkin Tudor Jones had a supporting role in the film ‘Kickboxer 5.’ In 2010, he starred in a short documentary titled ‘Tokoloshe’. The following year, he, alongside Yolandi Visser, appeared in the short movie “Umshini Wam,” directed by Harmony Korine. Jones then had a role in the science-fiction flick ‘Chappie’.
Family & Personal Life
Watkin Tudor Jones was born on 26 September 1974 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He attended Parktown Boys’ High School and later dropped out to pursue his music career. Talking about his love life, Jones is in a relationship with his bandmate Yolandi Visser. The couple has a daughter named Sixteen.