U.S.A. (United State of Atlanta)

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 don’t 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 Yang’s designation as this millenium’s 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 jams—one 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,” UGK’s Bun B reveres his currently incarcerated partner in rhyme, Pimp C, while Kaine and D-Roc portray an inmate’s 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 5’s 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 stripper’s restrictive condition: “Stuck off in this little room/With nothin’ left to hold on to/Her life is in a little box/She’s 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 other’s intriguing lives, while expectantly prescribing their bring-it-to-the-dance-floor formula. And although their specialty will inevitably be booty-shaking club jams, there’s clearly a deep story behind every A-Town stomp.