“I wanna be bashful and nasty at the same time!”
Standing front and center in the small, simply furnished recording room at Atlanta’s Block Entertainment studios, Yung Joc knows exactly what sound he’s going for. Dressed down in a black wifebeater, a red fitted and black shorts, he gives the man behind the boards explicit instructions. “Something like, ‘I wanna fuck, I wanna fuck!’ I wanna make it bottom-heavy. But so simple, when a baby hears it the first time, they can sing it.”
Lucky for Joc, he’s working with the right man for the job. With hits like the Ying Yang Twins’ “Wait (The Whisper Song)” and Bubba Sparxxx’ “Ms. New Booty” under his belt, the progenitor of “bedroom crunk,” Mr. Collipark, nods in an understanding that’s deeper than words.
“Hey, Joc, it’s on you tonight,” says the producer, who, like Joc, grew up in the Atlanta suburb of College Park. “Your voice carries your whole shit. I gotta lay some fertilizer and let you go around and do what you do. I just hear you singing. I don’t even know what you singing ’bout. It don’t even matter.”
Collipark cues up a skeleton, in-progress beat, and the woofers quiver with the heavy bass. After a few minutes of vibing, though, Joc shakes his head. That’s not it.
“I like it,” he says. “It’s jammin’. But it’s gonna make me rap too slow. I need something that’s pretty but still dirty. Perfect example is T-Pain’s shit.” Joc’s been getting heavy radio play these days with his guest spot on T-Pain’s “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’).” “I need more of a party record.”
He mentions that he’s been thinking about Jodeci drums lately. Before he can even name a specific song, Collipark pulls up a thumping beat distinctly reminiscent of the one DeVante Swing used to remix the R&B band’s 1992 smash “Come & Talk to Me.”
“Yeah!” Joc answers back triumphantly. “I fucks with that!”
The rapper starts coming up with a melody immediately—“Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhhh!”—swaying back and forth with his hand in the air. You would never know it’s well past 2 o’clock in the morning and that Joc has been here for several hours already, or that he has to be dressed and in a van at 6 for a five-hour drive south to Mississippi. He’s caught up in his work, hooked on his hustle.
“I wanna teach niggas something about hustling,” he says. “When niggas are partying, I’m plotting. While niggas are fucking, my money is growing, and I’m finagling my name deeper in the game. I’m trying my best to be that nigga one day.”
The man born Jasiel Robinson is on a high right now. The success of “Buy U a Drank” follows a year in which his own party starter, “It’s Goin’ Down,” drove sales of his debut album, New Joc City, past 900,000—bestowing some swagger on Diddy’s Bad Boy South at a time when most hip-hop business was in the doldrums. What other rapper can say that he had Tom Cruise doing his dance on 106 & Park? “Joccin’,” Yung Joc calls the move he made famous in his video, though it’s more commonly referred to as “The Motorcycle,” due to its accelerator-revving wrist action. Hell, even the rhythmless, rap-bashing billionaire Oprah Winfrey turned around earlier this year and did it for the studio audience on her show. (Now, that’s a hit song.)
Best of all, he says, as he gears up to release his second album, Hustlenomics, this summer, he gets to do it the right way. “The first record,” says Joc, 24—who self-produced New Joc City’s second single, “I Know You See It,” out of necessity—“I was under a lot of pressure to turn an album around. I had to do the album so quick, I couldn’t really get with the big producers. A lot of the bigger producers thought I was gonna flop. They didn’t know me. ‘Okay, he got a hit record, but I don’t know him.’ I was reaching out to niggas to work on my album; niggas was not responding. They was like, ‘Nah, I can’t do it. Pay me X amount of dollars.’ Now, these same niggas call me for hooks, call me for beats, call me for verses. I’m not mad. I’m happy niggas ain’t jump on my bandwagon right off.”