[31 July 2006]
The Ying Yang Twins’ breakthrough single, 2000’s “Whistle While You Twerk,” did not seem like the start of a promising career. After all, nothing screams one-hit-wonder like a gimmicky Disney sample in a song about strippers. But the Ying Yang Twins (a little known fact: their names are Kaine and D-Roc) have managed to stick around much longer than two professional appreciators of ass should. Skeptics would point to their steady stream of flawless production as the source of their longevity, noting the roles of Lil Jon and Mr. Collipark in their hits “Get Low” and “Wait (The Whisper Song)” respectively. True, nearly anybody could ride those beats, but not every rapper could bring the Twins’ focus to the mic. While lesser lyricists break from appreciating the girl on the pole to mention themselves, their money, their clothes, or other frivolities, Kaine and D-Roc spit exclusively about the club. Few rappers are as single-minded. The Ying Yang Twins are the patron saints of stripping, and their singles are blessings to clubs worldwide. As a Ying Yang Twins side-project, Da Muzicianz is just as good.
Da Muzicianz are Ying Yang Twin, D-Roc and his two brothers, Mr. Ball and Da Birthday Boy. Rap side projects are usually bad news; discount bins across the world are filled with albums by family members, old neighbors and, of course, weed carriers, all co-signed by legitimate talents and marked down to about three dollars. But Ying Yang relies on enthusiasm over lyrical prowess, and D-Roc’s love of the gyrating ass seems to run in the family. As Mr. Ball is just as capable of saying “shake it” every third line as Kaine, the difference between Da Muzicianz and the Ying Yang Twins is slim.
Undaunted by the average rap blueprint, Da Muzicianz self-titled debut never loses focus. Da Muzicianz rolls from one spot to the next with the party in tow like the dirty south Vengaboys. With lyrics so generic they hardly merit quoting, D-Roc, Ball and Birthday Boy egg on the girls on stage (“Strip Leader” and “Gyrate”), the girls in the club (“Camera Phone” and “Pop That”) and everyone else in listening range (with the new dance crazes, “Crazy Man” and “Go Dumb (remix)”). “Til Ya Back Get So’” and “The Girls I Know” (with Fabo of D4L) acknowledge the more laid back snap sound blowing up Atlanta lately. “Hush” is like a bootleg post-millennial “Let’s Get It On” cover. Produced by Mr. Collipark and Cheesy (a Collipark affiliate), Da Muzicianz starts out slow and somewhat generic, but quickly picks up, with outstanding up-tempo electro workouts backing the majority of the album, with many beats inspired as much by early techno as by Lil Jon. Intrepid DJs will jump on “Pop That” and “Gyrate” (which owes more than a nod to Cybertron’s seminal “Clear”).
Artists known for one thing and one thing only rarely make listenable albums. Either their attempts at artistic expansion come off as quaint, or they play themselves out with endless retreads of their lone skill. Da Muzicianz is a little redundant, but given D-Roc, Birthday Boy and Mr. Ball’s lack of any rap qualifications save a wholehearted dedication to partying, that minor scoff is nothing compared to what could have been if the album ever left the club. Da Muzicianz play it extremely safe and their debut is surprisingly enjoyable.