Artist: Ying Yang TwinsTitle: U.S.A. (United State of Atlanta)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Clover Hope
Whether or not their rhyme skills are up to par, the Ying Yang Twins are always up to party, providing hilarious, innovative rhymes to complement their eccentric personalities. On their senior set, U.S.A. (United State of Atlanta) (ColliPark/TVT), the explicit twosome proves they can get philosophical just as much as they get down, although their lyrical admonitions just so happen to appear in Crunk format. Ying Yang manages to touch on relevant topics like war and Black imprisonment in America, while displaying some astute lyricism. But dont fret; the freaky antics are usually just one song away.
Who else could conjure an overtly naughty single rhymed entirely in whispers? With an even dirtier remix assembling the likes of Lil Scrappy, Busta Rhymes, Free, and Missy Elliot, the imaginative Wait (The Whisper song) certifies Ying Yangs designation as this milleniums 2 Live Crew. The duo effectively emits raunchy yet catchy rhymes, with bleeped-out radio versions that barely resemble the original. On U.S.A., three Sex Therapy skits are conveniently sandwiched between three, er, romantic slow jamsone featuring Avant, and another serving as the sequel to Wait. But predictably, Ying Yang rarely rides on their own, with features propping up their sometimes repetitive rhymes. On 23 Hr. Lockdown, UGKs Bun B reveres his currently incarcerated partner in rhyme, Pimp C, while Kaine and D-Roc portray an inmates trying cell life.
The Al Green-sampled Long Time has Anthony Hamilton soulfully crooning about a lifelong lady friend, as Kaine describes his own undying love alongside an addictive drum-cymbal tempo. Observe classic Ying Yang on Lil Jon-inspired songs like The Walk, a collaborative party joint proclaimed as the ghetto Electric Slide that instructs listeners to walk to the right, left, front, back, and take baby steps. Maroon 5s Adam Levine graces the hook of the pop-ish Live Again, in which the Twins narrate an impressively cautionary tale of a stripper who wants a second chance at life. The hook, written by Kaine, details the strippers restrictive condition: Stuck off in this little room/With nothin left to hold on to/Her life is in a little box/Shes wonderin will it ever stop.
Executing much of the production on U.S.A., Mr. Collipark (aka DJ Smurf) crafts a vigilant, yet sometimes strained, balance between partying and politicking. Ying Yang meanwhile offers a glimpse into their and others intriguing lives, while expectantly prescribing their bring-it-to-the-dance-floor formula. And although their specialty will inevitably be booty-shaking club jams, theres clearly a deep story behind every A-Town stomp.