Bad Boy rapper Yung Joc just wants to have fun. And judging by the success of his first two singles last year, so do his listeners.
Bad Boy rapper Yung Joc just wants to have fun. And judging by the success of his first two singles last year, so do his listeners. Joc's "It's Goin' Down"—a ditty about clothes and cars that even spawned a "joccin' " dance—spent eight weeks atop the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and helped the rapper become Warner Music Group's No. 1 ringtone artist, according to the company. The similarly catchy follow-up, "I Know You See It," reached No. 5 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
But a third single, "Dope Boy Magic," which awkwardly cast Joc as a drug-slinger, failed to catch on. So on his sophomore album, "Hustlenomics," Joc is tailoring his rhymes to the younger fans he attracted with "It's Goin' Down" while attempting not to lose sight of the core hip-hop audience. Due Aug. 28, the set is led by the single "Coffee Shop," on which he implores, "Kids, please don't do drugs."
"I always hear parents tell me, 'My 5-year-old daughter loves you.' That's why I didn't want to talk about drugs when I talked about hustling on this record," the Georgia native says. "That's not what people expect from me. 'Coffee Shop' is fun because I know the kids feel me. The song's title is really about me selling everything. I used to cut hair, sell clothes, shoes, women's bags, accessories, cars, whatever, so my hustling headquarters is the coffee shop."
"Coffee Shop," featuring a high-pitched, childlike chorus and bouncy drums, is No. 39 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The video features Joc dressed as at least four different characters of varying height and weight, a la Eddie Murphy's turn in "The Nutty Professor."
Joc is enjoying extra visibility thanks to his cameo on T-Pain's long-running hit "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')," and also appears on Lloyd's "Get It Shawty."
"T-Pain and I were on tour, and I said we definitely had to do something together," Joc says. "He came to me in the studio and said, 'There is no way we're going to finish this album without you on it.' He let me hear five seconds of 'Buy U a Drank.' I went into the booth and knocked out three verses."
And in an effort to beat the sophomore jinx—which Joc says happens because most MCs don't have enough material to choose from—he's been recording since his debut, "New Joc City," dropped in 2006. Unlike on the first album, several big-name producers (the Neptunes, Cool & Dre, DJ Quik, Jazze Pha and Collipark) and guests (the Game, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross and Jim Jones) appear on "Hustlenomics."
The subject matter is mostly light on such songs as the Trick Daddy-assisted "Chevy Smile" (about a car grill that looks like a wide-toothed grin). But the threat of violence looms over "Cut Throat," featuring The Game and Jim Jones, a reminder that hip-hop can't always be fun and games.
That dichotomy is on the mind of Bad Boy as it prepares its marketing plan. While the label's chief marketing officer Eric Wong says that "Joc is for the kids," he is also ensuring that the "Coffee Shop" video reaches the older-skewing MTV and MTV2. In addition, Joc is appearing on this summer's Screamfest tour alongside T.I. and Ciara.
Wong admits that the popularity of "It's Goin' Down" took Bad Boy by surprise, and as such, the label didn't fully capitalize on branding deals. This time, promotions are in place with AT&T and other major mobile carriers, and Joc is appearing in a Rockport shoe print campaign with singer Lyfe Jennings and actor Wood Harris.
Also on tap is the launch of Joc's own potato chips via Rap Snacks and a jewelry line through Icebox, the pieces for which he will design himself.
"Hustlenomics" will be Bad Boy's first release available in the Music Video Interactive format, allowing for the inclusion of behind-the-scenes footage, an artist interview and software for fans to create custom "Coffee Shop" remixes and ringtones.
"This game is about relationships and setups," Joc says. "And 'Buy U a Drank' is definitely the setup I needed and wanted. I'm very happy people are finally reaching out to Joc as a go-to guy."