As of late record labels and artists have gotten into the habit of re-releasing albums in order to squeeze the last dollar out of every release. Those labels without shame try to justify a re-release by adding one or two bonus tracks, while some even shave off a few tracks and include only the hits on the re-release. TVT has taken a completely different route with re-releases by offering what ends up being more of a companion to the original album and at a reduced rate. I must admit that I was skeptical when TVT released Ying Yang Twin’s “My Brother and Me” and Pitbull’s “Money Is Still A Major Issue,” even at the value price those albums were sold for. But after peeping “U.S.A.: Still United,” it’s clear that while TVT doesn’t mind getting a few extra bucks, they are mainly concerned with giving fans what they want. “Still United” is a collection of tracks not found on the Ying Yang Twins’ latest album which includes a bonus DVD that should fill any fan’s appetite for Ying Yang Twins’ material.
This release is geared more towards hardcore fans of the Twins. The CD includes eleven full tracks and an introduction by Mr. Collipark. The tracks included range from unreleased material to guest spots on other albums and remixes. Three tracks which made some buzz before the release of “U.S.A.” but never made the album are included. “Wiggle Then Move” is your typical party-crunk track, but it would have fit right in with the Twins’ other hits. “The Pink” was a track that made noise because of its “Pink Panther” sample which didn’t clear in time for inclusion on “U.S.A.” The track has some novel value but isn’t the Twins strongest showing. The last track that failed to make the cut on the original release is the Three 6 Mafia assisted ” 4 OZ.” The track is typical of both Three 6 Mafia production and Ying Yang Twins’ flavor, but the combination is not an obvious one and works well for those involved. Two tracks included you might have heard on other albums. “Git It” is from Bun B’s “Trill” and is actually a good bounce/crunk track, though it sounds more like a Ying Yang Twins track. “Ms. New Booty” is off of the yet to be released Bubba Sparxxx album and once again finds the star sounding like a guest on his own track. Mr. Collipark and the Twins also use the CD to advertise their latest groups as the Muzicians and Homebwoi show up with their own tracks. Of the two, Homebwoi’s Louisiana twang shows the most promise on the short but sweet “Legendary Status.” The last third of the album is rounded out with three tracks that had already made an appearance on the original “U.S.A.” Of the three, only “Bedroom Boom” leaves you scratching your head as the exact same track appeared in the same form on the original album. The other two tracks are remixes of “Wait” and “Shake.” The “Shake” remix includes an appearance by Elephant Man to give the already popular club track a Jamaican twist. The “Wait” remix is the “Ultimix” version, remixed by the popular service and usually restricted only to DJ use. It is in essence the same track, but the Ultimix treatment gives it added energy.
The DVD included with this release touts videos for “Wait,” “Badd,” and “Shake” but it is the bonus features that make it worth the purchase. Outside of the full versions of these three videos you also get “Making of” features for each video, every BET and MTV live performance done by the Ying Yang Twins (including interviews), and even a copy of the Twins’ appearance on “Punk’d.” While all these bonus goodies will probably only appeal to fans of the Twins, the DVD does not cut any corners.
“Still United” is a solid release because it caters to fans so much. While new fans to the Twins are better served picking up the original “U.S.A.,” those that already peeped their surprisingly fresh 2005 album can get their fill of the Twins with “Still United.” With ten full tracks and a 90 minute DVD, the value also makes this release a definite recommendation for those who love the Ying Yang Twins. Other record labels should take note of TVT’s business methods before they re-release the next Mary J. Blige album with ONE extra bonus track. With all the tracks artists record for any given album and the countless stories and rumors of the dope tracks that never made the album, it would be easy for labels to put out similar companion albums for almost every hip-hop release. But until that time comes, fans of the Ying Yang Twins and Pitbull will be the only ones who have a little something extra to consume in between albums. Let’s just hope Yo Gotti gets the same treatment when he drops his much anticipated TVT debut.