Ying Yang Twins


Interviews


Ying Yang Twins - Whispering Lullabies

June 2005

As the turn of the millennium took place, the crunk wave really kicked off. Lil' Jon, The East Side Boyz and the Ying Yang Twins went from being condescendingly looked upon to become multi-platinum selling superstars. With their simplistic hooks, the clique grew larger and larger and their club anthems received heavy amounts of spins on a nightly basis.

With their third album "U.S.A. (United State of Atlanta)," the Ying Yang Twins aim to present not only a different impression of themselves but also of their beloved state. The album drops on June 28th with guests ranging from the typical line up (Lil' Jon for example) to that you wouldn't necessarily expect (Maroon 5).


MVRemix: Tell me about how the group's name came about.

Kaine: D-Roc and myself, we're totally opposite. You know, at a time where he might wanna bring peace. I want war. You know what I'm sayin'? Anytime he gon' say "Yay!" I'ma say "Nay!" But once we get together on wax, it always comes out to be perfect. There was no other route to go but to say that we was the Ying Yang Twins 'cause any time one of us is up, the other is usually down.

MVRemix: What are your thoughts on the current standing of The Source magazine and your feelings on being awarded group of the year last year?

Kaine: The Source? You know, it's a great magazine. It's good exploitation what the game has to offer from a lot of rappers and other artists as well. Bein' awarded group of the year? That was somethin' that we never thought would've happened to us. The people made that possible. We figure the people would be better able to answer that on our behalf than we would.

MVRemix: Tell me about "U.S.A." ("United State Of Atlanta").

D-Roc: "United State of Altanta," it's to let people understand Atlanta on the whole other than just bein' crunk. Like you see Atlanta right now, everybody just bein' crunk and don't really know Atlanta as bein' a united state. We do everything that everybody else do - "United State of Atlanta" gon' be able to get that across so people can understand Atlanta on the whole, other than just bein' crunk. We got a bunch of cool features on there too. As far as features we got Anthony Hamilton, Maroon 5, Jacki-O...

Kaine: Lil' Jon, Bun B of UGK...

D-Roc: Yeah Bun...

Kaine: Teedra Mosley.

D-Roc: We just tryin' to get everybody as a whole so everybody can understand Atlanta for what Atlanta's worth. Not just bein' crunk.

MVRemix: Which song took you the longest to do on the album?

Kaine: Most of the feature songs. All of the other songs we did and then most of the featured songs we already had, we just had to wait on the features.

MVRemix: If you had to compare the album to a designer label or car, which would you choose and why?

Kaine: Designer label or a car! Sean John and a Bentley because Ying Yang has stiffened up. We 'bout to show the world all we capable of. Not just what they know us for 'cause they don't know the group on the whole yet that way.

MVRemix: Why the choice for "Wait" as the first single?

D-Roc: Actually "Wait" wasn't supposed to be the first single but it got leaked. Somebody leaked it - somebody broke it and we had to fix it. They broke it, we fixed it, they broke it - we fixed it. Just had to take it from there... it was a blessing that God sent us, that's what I think.

MVRemix: How did the idea come about?

Kaine: When you in the club it's very unpractical to be yellin' at her things, but you whisper in her ear - it kind of attracts her and it turns her on.

D-Roc: It sends a sense of erotica - it's like bein' grown and sexy. It's like comin' a whole 'nother way other than what we known for. It's more like an adult approach.

MVRemix: Who came up with the idea for the video?

Kaine: Lil X took our vision and ran with it.

D-Roc: All respect to X on the video! He did his thing.

MVRemix: Do you two believe that you'd still have this success without the success of Lil Jon? Or do you believe that you would, it would just have come at a later point?

Kaine: We would have still had the same success.

MVRemix: Any crazy stories about touring and/or groupies?

Kaine: Nah man, just bein' on the road is a wonderful thing you know. The most crazy stories I can tell you is fights... that's real.

MVRemix: You've made various film cameos, any plans to act in a larger role?

Kaine: We're tryin' to do a little TV now. We gon' through with MTV tryin' to get that handled, so... We tryin' to get on in there.

MVRemix: Have fun with this one, a la "Fight Club," "If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight?"

Kaine: [ponders] Ummm....

MVRemix: Who annoys you?

Kaine: Who annoys me? Damn... That's a good question 'cause we annoy most people. [chuckles]

D-Roc: I know a lot of people probably wanna fight us.

MVRemix: What is the biggest misconception people have of you?

Kaine: Thinkin' that we're not grown just by what they hear on lyrics or some of the songs they hear us produce.

MVRemix: Do you believe you'll ever be appreciated for your songwriting skills?

Kaine: We done stayed in the game this far from them callin' us a novelty group or a one-hit wonder group. So what you think?

MVRemix: Aside from the album, have you been working on any other projects?

Kaine: We got somethin' comin' up on the future Mike Jones album, the new artist that just dropped. We weren't album to make this album ("Who is Mike Jones?"). We gonna guest on Jacki-O's album "Po Little Rich Girl." We do what we can do when people wanna deal with us.

MVRemix: Aside from your music, do you have any other projects in the works? Business endeavours or whatnot?

Kaine: We got some stuff brewin'. We got some stuff brewin'...

D-Roc: We ain't got it all in order yet, but we workin' on it. Tryin' to get the album out there first.

MVRemix: Any last words?

D-Roc: Yeah, we our fans' number one fans.

Kaine: We love our fans very much. Without them there would be no such thing as the Ying Yang Twins.

 

The Ying Yang Twins on Their Changing Neighborhood

by Brandon Lofton and Anika Singh

Shortly after the release of their new album, “Me and My Brother,” The Next American City interviewed the Ying Yang Twins. An Atlanta-based hip-hop duo, the group is known for dance floor hits like “Shake it Like a Salt Shaker,” “Naggin’,” and “Whistle While You Twurk.” Kaine and D-Roc, both 25 years old, chatted with TNAC about their hometown of Atlanta and how “Calling All Zones,” a track from “Me and My Brother,” grapples with changing demographics and the evolving experience of growing up in East Atlanta. “Zones” refers to geographic areas in Atlanta. According to the Ying Yang Twins, anything lying outside of Zones 1-6 simply is not part of Atlanta. And Zone 6, including East Atlanta, is at risk of becoming a completely different place than the neighborhood they grew up in during the 1980s and ‘90s. —Brandon Lofton and Anika Singh

TNAC: Tell us a little bit about “Calling All Zones.”

Kaine: “Calling All Zones” was a song that not only spoke for plenty years the horror of Atlanta. So to live in Atlanta you have to only understand one county, Fulton County. If you don’t live in Fulton County, you are not from Atlanta. Or you don’t live in Atlanta. Or if you weren’t born at Graydon Memorial Hospital, you know what I’m sayin’, you ain’t no A-town, baby. So what we did, we made the song to s*** down folk talking about—‘I was down in Atlanta, but I was down in Marietta.’ See now, you were in Marietta, you weren’t in Atlanta. ‘I was down in Smyrna.’ Uh-uh. ‘I was down in Conyers.’ Uh-uh. ‘I was down in Riverdale.’ Uh-uh. ‘I was down in Stone Mountain.’ Uh-uh. All those is other cities in Georgia. Atlanta is just Atlanta. It’s the capital city. It’s the grittiest city of the state.

When D-Roc and myself was, what, eight, nine, and ten... the projects only existed in Atlanta. That was Atlanta. When you go to Stone Mountain, Stone Mountain has never not been good living. College Point has never not been good living. Where we come from was not good living. The projects didn’t even look as good as they did just before they started tearing them down.

TNAC: How would you describe what is going on right now in those neighborhoods that you mentioned?

D-Roc: A lot [of the projects], they not even standing. They knocked them down. They making them townhouses.

Kaine: Yeah, so our kids ain’t gonna know nothing about this. That’s what it was. So that’s what really be hurting our feelings.

D-Roc: A lot of things we be talking about in “Calling all Zones” are gone. A lot of kids who are growin’ up now who are like ten, eleven, don’t even know about half the stuff we are talkin’, in Atlanta.

Kaine: See, the reason why we really made [the song is] because there are a lot of people not really from Atlanta, man; they be comin’ up here doin’ everything, screamin’, yellin’, from the A-town. Cause I from A-town: eastside, westside, southside, I can get out the car and stop anywhere. In the worst part or all the better parts. I prefer to stay in the worst parts though because they keep my heart real with me.

We ain’t gonna have to do nothing [to combat gentrification] because everything is a full circle. They turned East Lake Meadow, little Vietnam, into the Villas of East Lake. They put a damn Publix grocery store [a Southern chain known for catering to high-end customers] across the street.

D-Roc: And a golf course, in the middle of projects, in the middle of the parking lot.

Kaine: Atlanta is gonna have to happen because people, they have done away with welfare, but they have to have. Certain people just can’t; some people still make it out of it while still being within the city limits of Atlanta. So they have to go and start a “Hood” program, and they still a ghetto motherf***er in the Villas of East Lake. So, it’s gonna come back full circle. They go on tear it down and tear it up again; we just gonna keep on seeing it more than once.

TNAC: Some people are being forced out of their neighborhoods—where is everybody going?

Kaine: Some people can’t make it man, so they turn—

D-Roc: They going to the outskirts. Cobb County.

TNAC: So what is the role of music in all this?

Kaine: As far as our city, which is our life, I just want people to know the real end of it.

SELECTED LYRICS:

You got a one-way ticket to hell,

Smack dab in the middle of the ATL,

And aww, I dont wanna hustle no more but the streets wont let me gao,

All my n****s say,

Zone 1 (right here), Zone 2 (right here), Zone 3 Zone 4 (right here), Zone 5 and 6, but that’s it.

For a n**** with a dream,

Atlanta is the city,

And they make it so seem,

But ride through the city,

And The Streets ain’t clean,

All I see is drug deals, big wheels and fiends,

But any way they took East Atlanta back,

Throw Atlanta Down,

Turned little Vietnam to a white folks town,

...

When you speaking ‘bout Atlanta mention Ying Yang Twins,

There born and raised,

God done made it hard for us,

Cause y'all outta towners came here and f***ed s*** up,

But y'all can’t f*** with us, cause as soon as s*** start goin on you leave Atlanta and go right back home.

 


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