Five questions with Yung Joc, hip-hop's fun-lover

Last summer, folks couldn’t get enough of Atlanta’s Yung Joc. He brought fun back to hip-hop, ridding his music of the bang-bang-shoot-‘em-up vibe so associated with high-selling commercial hip-hop. His hit “It’s Goin’ Down” was everywhere — at the clubs, on the radio — and everyone seemed to be doing staccato, lean-back snap moves, emulating the dance that went along with his big hit.

He’s back now with “Hustlenomics,” a new album due later this month, and he’s hoping to once again connect with a dance floor-loving audience. Joc is in town Thursday as part of the Screamfest 07 at Joe Louis Arena. We chatted about his new music, his old music and how he says he’s going to outdo headliners Ciara and T.I.

QUESTION: Tell me about the new album.

ANSWER: The whole time “New Joc City” was jumping off, I was recording this album to get it ready. I used a lot of different producers on this album, unlike the first album. We used some up-and-coming as well as some established producers like DJ Quik, Pharrell, Cool and Dre. On this particular album, we used Rick Ross, Snoop, Game, Young Dro, Jim Jones, Trick Daddy, Bun B and Boyz n Da Hood.

Q: Is there a certain fear with coming out with new material? Your single “It’s Goin’ Down” was such a defining hit last summer.

A: I’m 24 years old, I’ve been doing this since I was 10, so it took 14 years for Yung Joc to hit. Now here it is, and I have to turn around and beat that one. Of course, there’s pressure. But I ain’t scared. As long as I give people what they want and do the music that I love, I think everything will be OK.

Q: When you first came out, you reintroduced fun hip-hop. Was that intentional?

A: That’s just what I like. That’s what I enjoy. I’m always the cat that wants to have fun. I like being entertained, so I think it’s only fair when I’m doing what I do, I’m entertaining as well.

Q: What is it about the Scream Tour? You’ve done it before and it seems to really do well in whatever city it’s in.

A: I was a part of it last year with Omarion and Neyo and Pretty Ricky and Jibs, and it was real cool. I made them realize if they bring in an older or more mature act, they could bring in a more mature audience as well. So they were searching high and low, and they came up with Ciara, T-Pain, T.I. I think everyone on the bill is talented.

Q: So what can we expect at the show?

A: Everybody on the bill is from Atlanta, and when it comes to the A, we don’t be beefing. So it’s going to be a lot of friendly competition. Everybody is going to try and outdo the next man. Ciara is going to come out and do the thing with those long legs. And then T.I. — this cat is like five albums deep. He’s got five albums of good hits. And then you got a cat like me, and you know I’m going to try and outdo all of them.

By Kelley L. Carter