By ANNIE ATURA
April 28, 2010
The following interview is unedited. It took place at seven o’clock on April 27, 2010 in the Branford College Master’s House, minutes before the Ying Yang Twins took the stage at Spring Fling. When I entered, there was a massive spread of catering from Popeye’s on the dining room table. Yang was on the couch in the fetal position; he participated in the first part of the interview supine. Upon Ying’s arrival – he had been touring Branford with Master Steven Smith – Yang sat up. The interview was made possible by WYBC Yale Radio.
Annie Atura: So which one are you? Ying or Yang?
AA: So what’s the difference? Do you complete each other?
Yang: Yeah. My brother’s more of the peace; I’m more of the war.
AA: So do you have any feelings about Yale? Education in general?
Yang: We all need an education. That’s the feeling I have about it. As far as college, or anything like that, I never really got into that. My main goal was to just get out of high school. I ain’t never really plan no college or anything. I don’t want to waste my own smarts. Because my family sure ain’t have no damn money to send me to college. So my main accomplishment was just to get a diploma. ‘Cause nowadays, you ain’t got no diploma you can’t even work at McDonald’s, dammit!
AA: What did your parents do?
Yang: Um, shit. My dad painted cars before I was born, and still paint cars. My mom at home. She don’t really have no choice. So now I take care of ‘em.
AA: Are you aware that there was controversy surrounding the Ying Yang Twins’ coming here?
Yang: There usually always is when we go to any college.
AA: Really? Why?
Yang: People always – sensitive people, you know what I’m saying, they don’t like certain stuff. You’re never going to get everybody to like everything. But the main thing that people have to realize when they – uh – pull those type of moves toward the Ying Yang Twins: we are the people’s favorite rap group. So we’re just like, all that other, uh, how do you say, um, when they try to start, that shit ain’t gonna work with the Ying Yang Twins. We provide a fun feeling. And then, how many other people in the world you think parents didn’t like the music they listened to. It ain’t just the Ying Yang Twins. People, the older people, like your parents or grandparents, whoever listened to every person that their parents couldn’t like every person, you know what I’m saying. Everything is a reenactment, over and over. But the thing that people have to realize is that everybody ain’t an uptight asshole.
AA: Well, do you think that your music is misogynistic?
Yang: Um . . . No. Because we make songs, we let it be known that we make songs for exotic dancers. You know, once we came out. So anybody that was against that, I look at it like this: if you’re not a stripper, if you don’t work at a nudie bar, then you ain’t really have a point to try to make a point against us. Because the same women that you might not be fond of if they work in exotic bars, they’ve got the same type of situation we all have. People have to take care of themselves. I don’t know anybody that lives anywhere in this nation or anywhere in the world that can live off love. Money pays bills. Everybody ain’t going to like everything. I already know that, so I’m ready for the worst. They call me Mr. Worst First anywhere I go. You can’t really – you can’t make me see a closed door. A person that has something to say derogatory every time – although we have derogatory lyrics – in the situations that we represent, to those women, the lyrics are not derogatory. They are helpful.
AA: So: “For real bitch / Don’t take this shit wrong / Thinking I’m nice / I’ll break your jawbone:” that’s something that they would consider helpful?
Yang: I mean, it all goes along with what we promote.
AA: Well what exactly do you promote?
Yang: Um . . . We, our main objective as the Ying Yang Twins was to make hype songs for women that work in the strip club.
AA: So things that they could get excited about?
Yang: Yeah, versus letting them dance to fucking John Cougar Mellencamp.
AA: Mm hm.
Yang: Or Pink Floyd. You know what I’m saying?
AA: So you think women can get excited about things like, “Fuck you til you cry”?
Yang: Right! Because a lot of the women that know us – the women that work in the exotic clubs – and other women that don’t work in the club, they say, You guys know how to explain, when you talk about us. So, when you make the little gesture about the bitch here, or, trick, or ho there, it’s not as bad as a illiterate person trying to use the same type of lyrics. In other words, you have to have smarts, in order to get smart with a person.
AA: So you think that you actually empathize with women?
Yang: Yeah. That’s right.
AA: How much time do you actually spend in strip clubs?
Yang: Um, that’s our whole career. Like, just like, all right, I’ll put it to you like this. Everything we’ve accomplished over the years we’ve been the Ying Yang Twins, since 1997, all right, over the years, it’s not any type of performance we won’t do. We do squeaky clean shows, we do X rated shows, that’s why every time we come to a college we ask what do they prefer. You know what I’m saying? We already know the stacked deck gonna be up against us but when, we’re not one of those groups that you’re going to be able to just – uh uh uh – downplay. You know why? What is this, New Haven, Connecticut, right? We’ve been at Spring Bling [sic] before, and kids, they be like, We drove all the way from Connecticut, listening to nothing but the Ying Yang Twins! So, you know, far as certain people not liking what you do, you know you ain’t never going to get everyone to like you. So what?
Ying: Well I don’t mean to come in, rude and everything,
AA: No, please!
Ying: But uh, they say we was at Yale. I thought all the deaf people was here ’cause they said Yale. Laughs.
AA: So what is it exactly that draws you to strip clubs?
Yang: Strip clubs – if you ain’t never been to Atlanta, there’s a lot of clubs all over this nation, but we have the best. They get all the way naked.
Ying: You say what drives us to strip clubs?
AA: Yes, right, he was talking about how much he enjoyed strip clubs –-
AA: — and how you make a lot of music for the women that work in strip clubs.
Ying: What do women do in the strip clubs? That’s what draws us there! They ain’t got on no underwear! Where your underclothes at! My bad, my bad! My bad, baby!
AA: So describe your ideal woman?
Yang: Ideal woman, what do you mean?
AA: I don’t know. To mate with.
Ying: Cool. Down to earth. Smoke. Drink.
Yang: Lady in the street but a freak in the bed.
AA: Really? That’s your ideal?
Yang: I mean, yeah. When I say lady I mean in every aspect of the word. Uh uh uh uh.
Ying: I guess my ideal woman is my wife.
AA: Would you date an exotic dancer?
AA: Why? Why not?
Yang: Why? ‘Cause she gets paid to provide a service that requires a certain – uh uh uh uh um – sensitive situation, how I look at it. When someone’s together and they be intimate, that’s a private thing right? Ok. So that’s sacred, whether you be married or not. But if they got a club that I can go – now, say if I’m trying to talk to this lady. It take me six months to a year for her to get comfortable with me. But if she work in the club, I ain’t got to talk to her.
Ying: Takes her sixteen seconds.
Yang: Five or six minutes.
AA: And that’s unattractive to you?
Yang: Um, it’s not actually –
Ying: No no I’m not saying it’s unattractive. But if she’s doing that to me or him or him, how many other men within a day is she doing that to? So if you calculate that within the week, and then you calculate that within the month, and then you calculate that within the year – I don’t want my wife, or anybody who that I feel like this is my soul mate, out there showing my goodies, my goodies, my goodies not my goodies, you know what I’m saying?
Yang: The exchange rate is getting to know a person versus giving them a couple of dollars to take their clothes off.
Ying: Do you want your man showing off all your goodies?
AA: Well, it depends, right? I also don’t go to strip clubs.
Ying: Would you date a stripper? Would you date a male stripper?
AA: Well I don’t go to male strip clubs.
Ying: But would you date a male stripper? Even if you don’t go, even though you ignorant to the point that you don’t go, would you date a male stripper?
AA: Yes. Yes I would.
Ying: So you cool with a lot of other women looking at your goodies.
Ying: No, for me it’s only me, myself, and I.
AA: How much of your day do you spend naked?
Ying: Say what?
AA: How much of your day do you spend naked?
Yang: It all depends on how long you want to be naked.
Ying: I’m just saying though how many people am I showing it to in a day?
AA: I don’t know, how many people are you showing it to in a day?
Ying: I’m not. I ain’t showing it to nobody but me myself and my wife, you know. I don’t even show my homeboys myself like that, you know. So to show somebody else –
AA: How do you feel about things like gay marriage? Are you comfortable with homosexuality?
Yang: No. I’m not with that.
Ying: No, I’m not with that.
AA: You’re not with that?
Yang: Opposites attract. That shit is a no-go with me. You know I mean, straight up. The female was made for the man, the man was made for the female, and that’s how that shit’s supposed to go. All together. There ain’t no way around that shit. You can’t – two of the same motherfuckers can’t reproduce, so that don’t help the world.
Ying: Well I’m not gay and I don’t, um, involve my circle, I’m cool, whatever you do, that’s your life. I have nothing against it.
Yang: I respect gays, ’cause most families have one in their family. I respect them. As far as being with that shit? No.
AA: Do you think they should be allowed to marry?
Yang: I don’t see it.
Ying: Uhhh – by by by by biblical law –
AA: Are you religious?
Yang: Religious is nothing but a pawn of slavery.
Ying: No I’m just saying, biblical law, it’s not supposed to go on. So human law it’s cool. I’m just saying at the end of the day, that person who’s planning to get married and do whatever they have to do to the opposite sex – I mean the same sex – they have to face the Maker at the end of the day. We don’t. So biblically we have nothing to do with that.
AA: So you’re religious (Ying) and you aren’t (Yang)?
Ying: No I’m just saying that’s just the way it goes.
Yang: I don’t choose a religion.
Ying: Biblically, it’s not supposed to go on. But by man laws, since ten years ago, it’s cool to go around and say I’m gay. Ten years ago you couldn’t do it. It was like, you say, I’m gay, and someone almost would whoop ya.
Yang: There’s some sensitive people in this world just like the people in California. All that shit trickles down.
Ying: Ok, ok. When do laws change?
Yang: All the time.
Ying: Laws change when gays become part of politics.
Yang: Laws change all the time, shorty.
Ying: They change every day, that’s what I’m saying. So now that you’ve got more gays in the lawmaking decision, damn right, it’s cool now.
Yang: I still don’t feel like that.
Ying: Shit. Really? Really if you want to tell the truth about it, biblically, they’ve been gay since the beginning of time! They just was keeping it in the closet.
Yang: They been Romans doing that shit.
Ying: Come on, there’s more priests and preachers that mess with little boys than we even fail to acknowledge. But we don’t want to acknowledge that. We done swept that up under the table. All right, let’s talk about these gays and homosexuals we got going on right now, but we ain’t going to talk about that priest that was messing with young Bobby when little Bobby was too young to know what was going on.
Yang: It’s like this, if you gonna point the finger at one thing you gotta point the finger at everything.
Ying: At everything. It’s been going on long before us.
Yang: Yeah so don’t try to. Like a lot of people try to take that shit and apply it wherever someone’s a little rougher than they would like.
Ying: Little Bobby try to build his life around – I’m not this way I’m not this way I’m not this way I’m not this way – and he try to build his life around that until when he try to face the way he is, he has to buckle his knees like a wimpy little girl. To the person that’s not even higher than him. He done have a child, he done married, he done do everything that he think that in G-d’s eyes is for him to do. And that’s why I’m like, why are you sitting around here making like it’s not ok to do this it’s not ok to do this, but when someone else come out and say, Well I’ve done it, that’s close to you, you like, Well I was like that too! I just didn’t really want to say nothing. For what?
Yang: Well you know like people like, that wait ‘til somebody else start something before they say something, those are bitches.
Ying: If you like penis, say you like penis. If you like kitty cat, say you like kitty cat.
Yang: With me? I’m not as sensitive as the world is. I’m not G-d, I’m not Jesus, and I’m not that sensitive, because there’s some ugly shit that occurs in the world every day. And we still be forced to have a look at it and deal with it.
Annie Atura is a junior in Yale College. She is a staff writer for Broad Recognition.
Correction: The initial transcript of this interview used the informal spellings “cuz” and “ax.” For the sake of consistency, the revised transcript uses “’cause” instead of “cuz” and “ask” instead of “ax.”