Instead of a rabid attack dog, the listener is now presented with a more refined beast. The fangs are still there but there is a certain sleekness to this latest incarnation. The political climate has changed and, in the time of Donald Trump, DOOKOOM are intent on breaking down walls. Where before, if you didn‟t like what they had to say, you were made to feel like the enemy, DOOKOOM are now reaching out, aware of the need to bring people together, rather than polarising and dividing.
The music is still hard and raw, yet more melodic and accessible, drawing inspiration primarily from trap, bass music, lo-fi, grime and halftime. You can still feel a primal punk energy in their hip-hop vocals and their stage show, without it being an assault on the senses. It's an album you can listen to at home or in your car, rather than being solely the soundtrack to a demented riot.
DOOKOOM occupy an interesting space in the South African musical landscape. In the past they offered a horrifyingly, almost too real insight into the underbelly of South African society. It was the polar opposite of the sanitised fun fantasy world created by Die Antwoord (who ostensibly come from and represent the same place), and this may have hurt them. The balance between art, entertainment and reality was skewed too much towards the latter. This time around, DOOKOOM want you to come party with them rather than scaring you out of the club. DOOKOOM may still be the voice of African anger, the voiceless and the unseen underdogs of Cape Town, but there is a renewed desire to unite all people.
„RIFFAK‟ is „kaffir‟ backwards. The original definition of the word „kaffir‟ is „non-believer‟, „heathen‟ or „outcast‟. The word was also used negatively to describe and address black people and people of colour during the Apartheid era. DOOKOOM have turned the negative word „kaffir‟ around to make „RIFFAK‟, reversing its meaning to the opposite: „the believer‟, „the accepted‟.
It's time for DOOKOOM to show the world that they are a musical force to be reckoned with, not just one-dimensional, racially-charged shock rockers.