Kaine (left) and D-Roc get onomatopoeic.
While East Coast MCs try their hardest to be complex and lyrical, Southern rappers give us onomatopoeic hooks we can remember. Just think of classics such as “Make ’Em Say Ungggh,” “Hootie Hooo,” and “Bwok! Bwok! Chickenhead.” This year, the crunkness anthem of choice is “Say I Yi Yi” by Atlanta’s Ying Yang Twins. The song is an infectious 808-fest that breaks into a chorus that sounds like a cross between Sesame Street and Paul Anka. Next thing you know, you find yourself singing “I Yi Yi” to every girl who walks by. Even the New York media couldn’t resist, as Hot 97 was forced to include the single in its playlist and the New York Post recently printed the Ying Yang slogan on its back page. Amidst this surprise success and customary player hatin’, the duo of Kaine and D-Roc just want to take rap back to 1982.
VICE: So it seems that you’re starting to get love in New York, right?
Kaine: You know, the whole up North dudes don’t like down South. I kind of got that vibe when we were coming through the New York airport. Someone was makin’ derogatory statements and don’t even be knowin’ a motherfucka. We was comin’ through the airport and obviously we not from there. They don’t do a lot of gold in the mouth in New York. Then all of a sudden this nigga says, “So who y’all supposed to be?” I say, “No, who are we?” and he says, “No, who y’all supposed to be?” I say, “We’re the Ying Yang Twins. We made the song ‘Say I Yi Yi.’” Then this motherfucka wait till we get like a block and a half away and starts screamin’, “I don’t give a fuck who you are!” So I turn around and say, “Wait a minute now. Don’t get mad at us cuz we got southern hospitality!” Y’all got some stankin’ ass attitudes up there. A lot of people don’t understand our type of vibe. We just loud. That’s our mechanism. But my point is, don’t judge. Somebody’s gonna judge all our asses when we’re gone, so people need to relax and let that shit go. That’s why we try to bring the fun back in the music.
Case in point: “Say I Yi Yi.” Where did you get the idea for the singsong hook?
“Say I Yi” is like swing, like 1930s music. All our music be feel-good music, so we gotta keep the little jingles going. Hooks like that just come out. We say a bunch of funny statements within a 24-hour period. All we do is just sit around and shoot the shit, and basically our CEO be in the back and he might just say, “All right, now you heard what you said right there? That’s a hook.” But we say a bunch of stupid shit, dawg.
You guys are the “fuck it” rappers.
I just got a whole old-school vibe, man. I like Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, Sugarhill Gang, stuff like that. Look, you done did that thugged out, you can buy all the bling-bling, buy all the big rims, all the nice houses, now what’s next? Go out and party. Let everybody else get hyperventilated and get upset, angry, whatever. We going to get happy and just trip.
The Ying Yang Twins’ new LP, Alley ... The Return of the Ying Yang Twins, is out now on Koch/In The Paint.