The Ying Yang Twins', D-Roc and Kaine, contribution to hip-hop culture is heard as far back as 1998 when DJ Smurf aka Mr. Collipark, invited the duo to be part of his third album, Dead Crunk. Packed with southern bass songs and artists. One On One would be the first recorded Ying Yang twins song. In 1998 Lil Jon featured the duo on his So So Def Bass All-Stars Compilation, Volume III. The song, True City Thugs, was a hit on the streets and could be heard in local strip clubs as well as through D-boys Heavy Chevy amplifiers and speakers. Shortly thereafter, the Twins released the two-song single Whistle While You Twurk and B-sided Bring Yo Azz Outdoz (2000), another underground hit. When the East Atlanta representatives released the Billboard-charting, strip-club anthem Whistle While You Twurk the duo managed to garner a loyal following located primarily in the South. Whistle While You Twurk moved over 200,000 units. But many hi-hoppers thought it was a wrap for the Ying Yang Twins (YYT) when the estate that owns Snow White's Whistle While You Work legally forced them to change the song because the Twins neglected to clear the sample. Thug Walkin, their debut album via Universal, sold over 100,000 units but made little noise on the Billboard. Ultimately, KOCH came knocking in 2002 and offered the Twins and their loyal producer and company CEO, Mr. Collipark, an oportunity to release Alley: The Return of the Ying Yang Twins. Complete with adrenaline-heavy beats sure to get the club crunk, the album included Say I Yi Yi, another southern banger. Even though it lacked promotion, Alley sold over 400,000 units; It fell short of gold status as the YYT production was misunderstood by an industry who really couldn't graspy the YYT concept. Fast-forward to 2002 when Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz invited the Twins to record Get Low for their double platinum selling album, Kings of Crunk. Heard from strip-clubs to sorority houses, Get Low was the defining moment of the YYT career.
Dissatisfied with previous record companies, Mr. Collipark moved the Ying Yang Twins over to TVT Records. With all necessary elements in place, Me & My Brother, their TVT-debut, is now platinum history.
USA (United State of Atlanta) is the Twins senior album. It is also the most anticipated creation from the Source Magazine's Group of the Year 2004.
Named after the Chinese symbol for light and dark (Yin and Yang), the Atlanta duo established themselves as urban musics most dominant twosome thanks to their ability to crank out hit after hit. Whether working with hometown super-producers Lil Jon or Mr. Collipark or pairing up with pop princess Britney Spears, the Ying Yang Twins bring the fun back into music. Their success can be attributed to infectious hooks like From the windooooooow, to the wall! or their pushing of the creative envelope on songs like Wait (The Whisper Song), which has turned out to be a Billboard staple. Indeed, the Twins have successfully muzzled the detractors and outlasted their many critics to become platinum-plus fixtures on the pop charts.
"When we first dripped Whistle While You Twurk, the world though we were one-hit wonders," says D-Roc, recalling the initial reaciton to the group's breakout single. "But now the world know we're creative music makers. And we don't just make music, we make hits." Kaine goes even further. "Me and my brother aren't really rappers, we're entertainers," he explains. "A lot of people get it confused and think that the crunk thing is all that the south is about. But we just make good music, period. It doesn't matter what race or creed you are, we can give you that song that gets you hype in the club."
And you know it's true. Whether you got low to Get Low, added a little personal flavor to Salt Shaker, or did a little A-Town stomp to What's Happenin, chances are that at some point in the last two years you have hit the floor to a Ying Yang Twins jam. Now, fresh off the platinum-certified success of their third studio album (and their CD/DVD compilation My Brother & Me, second release through independent powerhouse TVT Records), the Twins are back and ready to give more, but with a slight twist.
This fact is expressed more so on United State of Atlanta (USA) than any other YYT release. Far from a CD of nebulous osngs about shakin' a--, USA is an impressive collection of tracks that will delight and surprise Ying Yang Twins legions of fans.
"We're still giving you tracks to make you move in the club, but we've also got something else we gotta show people," says Kaine. "We want to let people know that we don't party and go to the club all the time. We do experience pain, hurt and sorrow, and we know how to address that in songs that be jamming."
Of course they do. As quickly as they get raunchy about their bedroom tricks and secrets on Wait, Pull My Hair and Bedroom Boom featuring Avant, the trilogy of the whisper song, the Twins get earnest on Long Time featuring Anthony Hamilton and Live Again, which invites Maroon 5's Adam Levine on the hook.
Produced by Midnight Black, Long Time is an interpretation of Al Green's gospel classic Belle picking up some of the same themes. As Kaine says, "To let you know that whatever you think is going on with us that all we're about is strippers and hoes, you don't really know what's going on."
Long Time is spiritually-centered and adresses thoughts on heaven and hell, the good and bad, the yin and the yang. Live Again, also thematically broadens the Twins appeal with its sentimental treatment of a girl in trouble who wants a second-time at life. Produced by Mr. Collipark and The Pentagon (Billy Hume, John Rhuby and Jake Arnold), Maroon 5's Adam Levine sings the hook written by Kane: "Stuck off in this little room. With nothin' left to hold on to."
Like it or hate it, the bottom line is that the Ying Yang Twins are hot! They are from Atlanta. They are from the hood. They enjoy a table dance or two or three, and like to floss their gold grillz as they command girls to get low and fellas to whisper in her ear. But don't get too twisted. Just because the YYT formula is unfamiliar to the naked eye don't mean the best-friend duo can't speak from the heart on issues that concern them!
"We've been putting out Ying vibe for five years. Not it's time to put on the Yang vibe," says Kaine. But don't go thinking USA is all medicine and no sugar. Featuring appearances by a lineup of marquee artists including Mike Jones, Three 6 Mafia and labelmates Pitbull & Jacki-O, USA casts a wide net that is sure to reel in more fans. And just one listen to the arresting lead single, Wait, and you'll remember how no other group can bring any dance floor to a fever pitch like the Ying Yang Twins. The most creative track to hit in years, Wait is delivered entirely in whispered verse and backed by a simple, yet wet bass, provided by resident producer Mr. Collipark. It's all sexual suggestion, pay off, and release. Just like all Ying Yang Twins hits that have come before, you'll want to hear it again and again. Pull My Hair picks up where Wait ends. Not delivered in a whisper, it is a nasty conversation about what the YYTs will do while pulling a woman's hair. The game-spitting is laced with a simple 3-note bassline. On Wiggle the DJ Smurf side of Mr. Collipark revels itself as he revisits his club roots: booty-shake and call-and-response spiced with a little bit of rapping. On this song, the Ying Yang Twins keep it traditional to show they remember where Southern hip-hop started. Wiggle is a reminder of what made the Twins the ambassadors of the strip club. Over simplified rhythms, a stripper repeats, "Damn girl, I done broke my heel."
In an industry dead-set on replicating instead of originating, the Ying Yang Twins have managed to stick to a formula that's helped them harvest a new audience with every song and secure their position not only in Southern hip-hop history, but also as hip-hop royalty.
"United State of Atlanta is all about showing everybody that Atlanta and the Ying Yang Twins are bigger than the strip club," says D-Roc. "We're just trying to put the love back in the music and let people know that there are still people who really make music from the soul."
So with the Ying Yang Twins there is no in-between. You gotta love them or leave em alone! But no matter which side you're on, you're guaranteed to appreciate their approach and tenacity.
--- from the official Ying Yang Twins website