Have you ever bought a CD because you heard the bangin single, only to find out that that one bangin single was the only joint worth listening to on the whole disc?
I have. And if you were one of the 201,478 people who bought United State of Atlanta this week, you have too.
The above mentioned single is of course, Wait (The Whisper Song). And it is certainly a banger: creative, controversial, and absolutely hot. The concept is original, the song unique. The album also features a fairly diverse lineup of guest appearances from Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Anthony Hamilton, Mike Jones, Teedra Moses, Pitbull & Jacki-O. The skits are funny at times, and the production, courtesy of executive producers Mr. Collipark & Bryan Leach, is pretty tight.
But that’s where my praise ends. Much of the album is boring; confused at best, hard to listen to at worst. Let me put it like this, if ever there was a group that you wouldn’t want to hear a song about how hard strippers must have it, it’s the Ying Yang Twins. I’ll admit, I missed their last release My Brother and Me, but I can still hear “shake it like a salt shaker”, and “can I play with yo panty line?” in my sleep. I mean, these guys are strip club vets. So Live Again featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5, which is all about how hard and degrading the life of a stripper must be comes off as less than inspirational.
The only bright spot is Bedroom Boom, which features Avant singing his heart out about the finer aspects of fucking. And then, just for kicks, The brothers Ying Yang get political and ponder the ills of the criminal justice system on 23 Hr. Lock Down featuring Bun B. The track is somber, an odd departure from the typical frenzied party tracks (like the second single, Badd featuring Mike Jones) that made Ying Yang a household name. On Long Time featuring Anthony Hamilton, the duo explores spirituality and empty promises of organized religion in ghetto life. Toss in a little lewdness, debauchery, and misogyny (Pull My Hair) and you’ve got the United State of Atlanta.
But there are other reasons to cop this album. In a unique promotional tie-in to try and boost album sales, a $50 Exxon gift card was placed in 500 random CDs as well as a chance for fans to enter an online contest to win free gas for a year. The album also contains Wait (The Whisper Song) Remix with Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, Lil Scrappy, and Free (from BET¹s 106 & Park).
Now, yes, a duo known as Ying Yang (a reference to the ancient Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang) must surely be paradoxical on some level. I’ll give you that. But United State of Atlanta is a contradictory, hypocritical collection of Ying Yang nonsense.