Ying Yang Twins
Sun Sept 4
Crystal Ballroom
1332 W Burnside

Couple months ago, I was walking up my block, where a man in an SUV was bumping Ying Yang Twins' "Wait (The Whisper Song)," one of the summer's top hits for its boingy bass and whispered lyrics (giving it the illusion, so sayeth the Twins, of a man coming up behind a woman in a club and whispering in her ear, as illustrated by the video). It was just hitting the chorus—"Wait till U see my dick/I'ma beat that pussy up"—when driver-man turned down the volume, looked me dead in the eye through the passenger window and screamed out a crunk catchphrase: "Skeet skeet, ho!"

Did the dude know what he was even saying? I mean really. From a tactical perspective, the Ying Yang Twins are proffering broke game; how effective would "Wait'll you see my dick" really be as a way of getting a lady to go home with you? About as effective as yelling "Skeet, skeet, ho!" to some fly chica on your block. "Wait'll you see my dick" tops the shortlist of broke-ass pick-up lines, beating out 50 Cent's blunt-instrument "I wanna unbutton your pants just a lil bit," and that time Nas rapped the word "erection" on Kelis' "In Public." (Though apparently biological precision and distance works for some ladies, cause Nas and Kelis got married shortly thereafter). Have a little respect.

But Ying Yang Twins traffic in over-the-topness; as Kaine told Billboard magazine, "Me and my brother aren't really rappers, we're entertainers." Lyrically, the two are not exceptional; since the beginning, their oeuvre has been based on the variance of ways one may instruct a lady to shake her ass. They started out writing music for strippers, after all. But their combination of crunk beats, shouted catchphrases, and pure unadulterated Id has helped these two Atlantans become superstars, or stars anyway, in spite or perhaps because of the often women-violent nature of their lyrics ("Georgia Dome"'s lyric "Beat the walls of a bitch 'til she scrawl" makes "Wait" seem like a gender-sensitivity class). Sure, the Twins are nonsensical and borderline absurd at times, too. In their most recent single, the infectious yet monothematic "Badd" with Mike Jones, a rapper of equivalent talent, they holler, "I need a dime/that's top of the line," a redundant sentiment—by definition a "dime" is a woman who's already a top-of-the-line 10—but dude, it rhymes.

The Twins' lyrics are base and blunt, and at their absolute worst, full of borderline predatory violence and rape-vision. I do not want to censor them. (Censorship, never.) Having spent an inordinate amount of time pondering the implications of the fact of their being one of the biggest pop acts in the country, I have adopted a "don't hate the player/hate the game" stance, with the clause: don't give the player a pass, either. In other words, it would be awesome to get old D-Roc and Kaine into some gender sensitivity classes for real. But also, it'd be nice to live in a culture that didn't foster and excuse sexist, racist, classist, and homophobic behavior, nor criminalizes sex to the point that it becomes a taboo on par with violence. Shall we revolt after the party? n