If you rhyme and you’re from Atlanta, chances are a couple of your cuts will end up on the sound system at your local gentleman’s club.
But your whole album?
“Ying Yang love the women,” explained Ying Yang Twin Kaine about the ubiquity of the duo’s music in their hometown strip clubs. “Not only do we speak about [strippers], we indulge in them. We’re from the heart of the city. It’s not hard to get up and go to any club or ghetto in Atlanta from where we’re from. The girls tell us they’re feelin’ our music, so they play the whole album.”
Which is good, because on their second CD, Alley: The Return of the Ying Yang Twins, when they’re not complaining about all the “Playahatian” coming their way, the 23-year-old MCs are speaking to their captive, lap-dancing audience. As a follow-up to their 2000 hit “Whistle While You Twurk” — which was recut after Disney threatened to sue over its sampling of the Seven Dwarfs’ signature song — the boys are twurking it again with their infectious booty-blessing anthem “Say I Yi Yi.”
The song, with its chattering chorus and video game sound effects, was, of course, inspired by the Twins’ beloved pole-dancing friends. But, the boys said, they were also thinking about a different kind of dirty dancing. “That’s from dirty swing music,” Kaine said of the song’s ragtime hook. “It’s that Cab Calloway sh–. We try to make songs that are easy to learn.”
“We like our music to be high-adrenaline, easy to enjoy,” piped in partner D-Roc. “That was the first song we recorded for the album and we wasn’t even lookin’ for it. We were snoozin’ on it. But we woke up and got right. We’d done other, longer versions, and then we caught the vibe of it and redid it the way it is now.”
With a sound that owes a debt to the Dirty South bounce made famous by such brethren as Outkast and Goodie Mob, Ying Yang aren’t afraid to twist in some gospel flair on other playa hatin’ anthems like “I’m Tired.” Working again with producer Beat-In-Azz — who also produced their 2000 debut, Thug Walkin’ — Kaine and D-Roc bounce their way through tracks like “Twurkulator” and the military march “Sound Off,” then switch it up on the dark, grinding thug tale “ATL Eternally.” The song, which features Lil’ Jon & the Eastside Boys and Pastor Troy, sprinkles in chunky rock guitar riffs under an Onyx-like shouted chorus.
Even though they rap about shaking loose those leeches who come calling after success (“By Myself”) and come up with another dance craze in the making (“Hunchin’”), Ying Yang Twins said they don’t get tired of making stripper anthems because they know why you keep hearing them in the clubs.
“We speak on everything,” said D-Roc. “But you wake up and go to your job, go get your hustle on, get your car washed, then you want to go to a booty club and do whatever for the rest of the night. Nothing is worth getting tired of because [there's time for] everything to get addressed. The big question was would we be able to bring us another [single] that had the same effect as ‘Whistle’? ['Say I Yi Yi'] is bigger, though, because it’s steady climbing [the charts]. It’s the perfect sequel because it’s got that jingle motion, that happy sound.”
Like any thugs worth their salt, Kaine and D-Roc said they feel too many in the rap game have disrespected their skills, treating them more like a novelty act (Tag Team) than the true rap pioneers (Run-D.M.C.) they feel they emulate.
“We’re an emotionally driven group,” explained Kaine. “Atlanta was once a city of variety like New Orleans, not the city it’s grown into. We’re outcasts in the [rap] game because we’re comin’ with what they don’t want to hear. Nobody ever questions [Run-D.M.C.] 20 years after they came with their style. ‘Walk This Way’ was rock, and ‘It’s Like That’ was straight hip-hop. Totally different tracks. I guess the game just calls for a lot of questions of that sort. You see what they say about Ying Yang in 20 years.”
And, lest you think Kaine and Roc disrespect the ladies by only rapping about the ones who make it “wobbedy wobbedy when it wiggle,” they serve up a little “Tongue Bath” near the end of Alley.
“That’s just to show that we’re versatile enough to step into that lane,” Kaine said of the gospel-tinged ode to, um, females receiving some special attention.
“I mean, what lady do you know who don’t like their man to put it on them?” added D-Roc. “We had to make one for the women.”