By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Now that even your grandmother gets Dave Chappelle's goof on Lil Jon, crunk faces the challenge of all overexposed genres: How to stay relevant? One way, of course, is through the time-honored bid for "artistic growth." But when it's Atlanta's Ying Yang Twins talking about such matters, you have to worry: These are the guys, after all, whose philosophy boils down to "shake your azz." Sometimes maturity really is beside the point.
But relax: USA turns out to be almost indistinguishable from the Twins' two previous outings. There are two or three great singles, while the rest of the disc sounds like a graveyard of Lil Jon's discarded woofer-rattlers, with lyrics that should keep the NOW gang busy for months. D-Roc and Kaine's idea of "growth" turns out to be whispering their lewd come-ons, rather than just barking commands to "drop it down to the floor."
In fact, it's raw, simplistic hits like "Badd" -- rather than the harmless crossover bid "Live Again" (with Maroon 5's Adam Levine) -- that prove the duo's staying power. Being as nasty as you wanna be has been a meal ticket for as long as there's been pop music; the Twins' USA is thus no declaration of independence, but an affirmation of history.