Ying Yang Twins & Lady Sovereign

Ying Yang Twins & Lady Sovereign

B+

Ying Yang Twins

Album: U.S.A. Still United
Label: TVT
B

Lady Sovereign

Album: Vertically Challenged
Label: Chocolate
B+

Ying Yang Twins

Album: U.S.A. Still United
Label: TVT

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B

Lady Sovereign

Album: Vertically Challenged
Label: Chocolate

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Anybody can rap about shoving the gross national product of a Third World dictatorship into the G-strings of exotic dancers every night. But it takes a twisted genius to make a boozy strip-club cry of "Shit, I got money in all my pockets!" sound like a joyous affirmation of being alive, as the Ying Yang Twins do on U.S.A. Still United's "Wiggle Then Move." A victory lap following the runaway success of United State Of Atlanta and its ubiquitous single "Wait (The Whisper Song)," Still United assembles nearly 50 minutes of remixes, outtakes, and collaborations that, to paraphrase Selma Blair in A Dirty Shame, promote the art of dance as practiced in strip clubs throughout the South. On tracks like the insanely catchy "Git It," the Ying Yang Twins act as if the entire sex industry will crumble and every strip club will be transformed into a monastery unless it cranks out a never-ending supply of irresistible strip-club anthems. Superproducer Mr. Collipark serves up an inspired variation on his signature "intimate club music" throughout the disc, lacing the Twins with sex-saturated synthesizers, leeringly lascivious grooves, and infectiously sleazy red-light-district atmosphere. Still United should serve as the soundtrack to strip-club decadence for years to come, but guest Bubba Sparxxx adroitly nails the Twins' overriding philosophy when he coos "You ain't gotta sell sex, girl / It sells itself." On Still United, business is booming.

Buzzed-about UK rapper Lady Sovereign was famously only 19 when Jay-Z signed her to Def Jam, but part of her appeal is that she sounds much, much younger. On Vertically Challenged, an eight-song EP featuring two different versions apiece of "A Little Bit of Shhh," "Random," and "Fiddle With The Volume," the chipmunk-voiced rapper exudes the giddy delight of a child making homemade radio shows on a clunky old tape recorder. Sovereign's beats are pure UK, grimy and busy, full of pummeling drums and sinister whines. But the manic playfulness of her delivery and wordplay recall Missy Elliott. Lady Sovereign oozes charisma, star power, and near-toxic levels of cheekiness. It remains to be seen whether that'll be enough to secure her Ying Yang Twins-level sales in the States, but judging from the almost imperial confidence with which she raps, it's apparent that she's already a towering icon in her own mind.

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