By Kat Bein
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With a Diddy-approved platinum debut album, New Joc City, and not one, but two smash hit singles ("It's Goin' Down" and "I Know You See It") that have gotten more rinse than a laundromat washing machine, Atlanta rapper Yung Joc is among 2006's greatest pop music success stories. And although Joc isn't particularly much of a dancer, "It's Goin' Down" has fueled the nation's love of dance crazes by propagating a simple yet infectious movement that mimics revving a motorcycle engine using both hands. Easier than the mashed potato and more rugged than the Tootsie Roll, it's a dance that even the rhythmically challenged can do. It has also become a great viral marketing tool that has exposed Yung Joc to a legion of unlikely admirers of all persuasions.
The man born Jasiel Robinson in 1983 is now recognized almost everywhere he goes. It's something he has gotten used to, for the most part, though a curve ball here and there still shakes him up.
"I was in the elevator one day, and there was an older white lady and an older Spanish lady and when I say older, I'm talkin' like 65 older and they were singing my song and trying to do my dance," he remembers, laughing. "That blew me away!"
"And it hasn't even been a year since I signed him," marvels Russell "Block" Spencer of Block Enterprises, the man responsible for discovering Joc at an Atlanta talent show and pairing him up with Diddy's Bad Boy label. Spencer, who has also helped develop the careers of Young Jeezy and Ciara, says Joc's hustler mentality demonstrated a readiness for success. But beyond that, it is Joc's humility that makes Spencer glad he put him on the road to stardom. "Even now he's just the most humble guy," Spencer says.
Yung Joc is so humble and self-assured that he has embraced what could potentially be a difficult role for a less-grounded rapper appearing on the Scream Tour in the company of R&B singers. Headliners Omarion and Ne-Yo, and even local boys done good Pretty Ricky, have been known to bare a little skin and gyrate in the pursuit of female fans' affection, but Joc plans to use another tactic altogether that will steal the spotlight in the arena.
"Me being a rapper on a show that mainly consists of R&B artists that dance and put on a real, real elaborate show, you're going to be surprised to see that I will try to outdo them and their show," he predicts. "Because it's gotta be as big, or better than, their show. I want my show to thrive off the element of surprise. Know that there's gonna be a lot of energy, and it's gonna be very entertaining."
It's goin' down.