D-Roc and Kaine — collectively known as the Ying Yang Twins — recently sat down for an interview with Hot 107.9’s B High where they talked about their 2002 song “Say I Yi Yi,” a bona fide hit for the hardworking Atlanta duo and one that ultimately caught the attention of JAY-Z.
At the start of the clip, Kaine explains they were looking for another record deal after Universal Music Group deemed them a one-hit wonder “novelty” act and dropped them around 1999.
Kaine said they tried to give “Say I Yi Yi” to Universal, but they didn’t want it, so they eventually ended up at Koch Records who gave them a one-year, one album deal.
“This is where it’s finna get juicy,” Kaine says. “Man, we dropped ‘I Yi Yi’ and it fucked the planet up. ‘I Yi Yi’ was getting 66,000 spins a week … ‘I Yi Yi’ sold muthafuckin’ hard, we in the house mailing out CDs.
“Phone rings … ‘Yo, this JAY-Z. You n-ggas is fuckin’ up my money. I gotta sell the fuckin’ Motorola Sidekick to settle my fade to The Black Album. You n-ggas is fuckin’ up money.’
“We didn’t know how to take it. We tryin’ to get a name of our own. There was no hard feelings. So ‘I Yi Yi’ had went gold in that one year. 465,000 units. Alan [Grunblatt] wanted us to come back, but he didn’t want to pay us for what we did, so we left. Boom.”
After that, Ying Yang Twins needed another hit, one that would prove they could rap. While taking a shower one day, Kaine came up with the beat for “By Myself” featuring Goodie Mob vet Big Gipp, another track off their sophomore album Alley: The Return of the Ying Yang Twins. Although it wasn’t necessarily a commercial success for the group, the co-sign from the Dirty South legend still helped solidify their status in Hip Hop culture.
Check out the interview below.