Who would have thought the Ying Yang Twins would grow to be one Hip Hop's biggest groups? When the duo first arrived on the scene with their hit song “Whistle While You Twurk”, not many knew what to make out of the two Atlanta based brothers Kaine and D-Roc. At the time crunk music had yet to explode onto the mainstream scene, making many listeners wonder if they should actually take the Ying Yang Twins seriously. Now thanks to Lil Jon and the rise of crunk, the Ying Yang Twins are a viable force in Hip Hop. However, they still have failed to gain the respect of true Hip Hop heads that look down upon their music as simplistic and shallow. Now the Twins are looking to change all of that with their fourth album U.S.A. (United State Of Atlanta). While Kaine and D-Roc won't completely win over the Hip Hop community, the album is their best to date and shows glimpses of greatness.
The biggest different between U.S.A. and their previous albums is its variety in topics and conceptual material (Yes you heard right). As odd as it may sound, the Ying Yang Twins actually address a variety of real life issues on the album such as war, the justice system, sex, and brotherly love. On "23 Hr. Lock Down" the Twins and Bun B of UGK offer a heartfelt dedication to Pimp C, as well as insight into the corruption of the justice system. On the standout cut "Live Again", the Twins rework Al Green's gospel classic "Belle", and in turn deliver the best performance of their career. With Maroon 5's Adam Levine on the hook, the song delves into the psyche of a troubled stripper looking to change her life. The Twins even get political (somewhat) on "Ghetto Classics", which questions Americas motives for war.
The Ying Yang Twins will surely shock fans with their growth on U.S.A.; however, the album is still mainly suited for the clubs and the ladies. While attempts such as the lead single "Wait" and "Hoes" featuring Jacki-o are solid, inconsistent production hinders the rest of the album. The only Lil Jon produced track "Put That Thang Down" is another predictable effort from the King of Crunk, who once again recycles his trademark synthesizer sound. "Shake" featuring Pitbull is an unsuccessful Latin influenced attempt that sounds more like a Pitbull track than a Twins song. In addition, lusterless guest appearances from Mike Jones on "Badd", and BG among others on "The Walk" make for more filler material.
While the Ying Yang Twins may not change the face of Hip Hop on U.S.A., the album offers a welcomed and needed change of pace. Only time will tell if Kaine and D-Roc eventually earn the respect they feel they deserve, but for now, U.S.A. is a step in the right direction.