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Album Review: Yelawolf’s “Radioactive”

Rating: 6/10

Although Yelawolf has been buzzing in the South since the release of his critically acclaimed Trunk Muzik mixtape (which has since been rereleased on Interscope Records as Trunk Muzik: 0-60), he didn’t capture the attention of most of the U.S. until his show – stealing Cyphers in consecutive years at the BET Hip Hop Awards. Combine that with his union with Eminem and Slaughterhouse, and Yelawolf suddenly has one of the most hyped releases this 4th quarter.  With Radioactive, his official first offering from his Shady Records release, Yelawolf seems to be aiming more so for the crossover appeal than the normal trunk-rattling songs that he’s known for.

Don’t get it twisted by any means; Radioactive still has a few songs that resemble his older music, such as “Get Away” (with Shawty Fatt and Mystikal), the speaker-friendly “Hard White” with Lil’ Jon (because you really don’t realize how much bass that song has until you have speakers), and even “Throw It Up” with Gangsta Boo and Eminem. However, most of the songs here are more content-driven than in the past, and they may be what in the end makes or breaks Radioactive.

Songs like “Growin’ Up In The Gutta” and “Made in the U.S.A.” have strong social commentary, from Yelawolf narrating about a girl being exposed to physical contact too early by her stepdad, to illustrating the different facets of life in the United States. The most potent of the bunch comes with an assist from Killer Mike: “Slumerican Shitizen” serves as a sharp, pointed view a little more extreme than the previously mentioned topics, although it’s in the same vein.

Yelawolf never waivers in his flows and seems to mesh with whatever style of beat that the track requires him to (and the production switches heavily throughout Radioactive), and the features are solid as well. Not too many people can say they’ve had Eminem, Gangsta Boo, Kid Rock, Mystikal, and Fefe Dobson on the same album in their lifetime, if any.

However, the amount of chances (ahem, radio singles) that Yelawolf and Shady Records take on this album is almost maddening. There never seems to be a flow to the album, and it comes off as more as a schizophrenic compilation of songs than an actual Shady Records project. Yelawolf is definitely one of the best rappers to come out of Alabama in a very long time, and is one of the best technical rappers I’ve heard in the last few years (check the feature on Travis Barker’s “Let’s Go” for proof of that), but I’m not exactly sure if this is the album that his fans had in mind when he signed with Eminem.

Being from Alabama myself, it’s hard to levy criticism at Yelawolf, since I’m a fan of his music and have been for some time. The fact remains, Radioactive has a couple of incredible songs, but the tracklisting is also full of home-run swings that don’t connect as often as they should, and it’s sure to disappoint some of his fans that wanted more (me included). With the deviation from his older content for the majority of the album, and the awkward mix of songs in general, it’s definitely a different look from Yelawolf that could just as easily lose him fans as quick as they could win them over due to the amount of chances (or, radio singles?) that they take. I guess there’s more than one reason why it’s called Radioactive…

Yelawolf’s “Radioactive” debuts November 22 on iTunes and in stores.

K1ng Eljay is the founder of his site, K1ngEljay.com, as well as a contributor to GoWhereHipHop and editor for RapGenius.com. Follow him on Twitter at @K1ngEljay for more.

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  • stewie325

    This album deserves far more than 6/10… Compared to the BS on offer by other artists, it’s a classic

  • the album is epic to me, it has the full package, club bangers, lyrical content, emotional tracks. this is dope, support real music and buy the album

  • Vandit Patel

    u should kill yourself for giving only 6.. compare this album to darke’s its 20x better.. but ppl like dont appreciate real lyrics… 

    • Never said the lyrics weren’t dope. If you’re going to base it off lyrics, it would be an easy 9 because Yela is the truth, maaaan…

      But it takes more than that to put together a full project. Especially if you heard his last project then this one, it’s a weird step. Not necessarily a step back, or forward, just…different.

    • WORD. i tried listening to take care but butterflys and bubbles came out my speaker….RADIOACTIVE ONE OF THE BESTS OF 2011….finally new music i can listen to!

  • Amira Abdel

    I figured. I knew it wouldn’t be SIMILAR to Trunk Muzik or Creek Water but he’s moving forward never backwards. PS the album is out today not tomorrow.

  • go kill yourself it deserves  at least 8/10 !
    disappointed (by this corny review)

  • stupid review..its a classic…10/10

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  • Na’ilah Asiya

    WHACK REVIEW THIS ALBUM GETS 10/10. The whole CD rides…. The sound is different! YELAWOLF IS ON FYA!!!!!

  • clbgrdnr

    If he rated this only a six….. What are you rating shit hip-hop like Gucci mane and oj da doucheman.

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  • iV Mickey

    For some of you to argue this review, I feel sad.  I’ve been hyped about this album since the summer and told everybody that would listen to me that this would be a great buy…Yela let me down.  I take it some of you haven’t heard a classic album; this isn’t in the neighborhood.  Let’s be honest, the mixtape was a lot better.  Clearly Yela has the ability to put together a solid record and it shocked me that this is just meh.  More shocking is that Eminem had anything to do with this project…his judgement in song selection baffled me.  But cheers to the next project, it can only get better from here.

  • Takes me back to Da Brats first album.  A 6…what are you smokin on?

  • Braden Wheeler

    I now know after listening to this album that he can pull anything off. He went from pop the trunk, I will admit that one was a bit out there for any one… But it was still a great song. Now he has Everything I love the most, Radio & Let’s roll. This was a completely different set of sounds for him from Trunk Muzic. And they were awesome. Here is how I rate an album. 3+ song are good on your first sit and listen. That is a great CD. This is a great CD. An epic CD is one that every song except maybe 2 or 3 are awesome songs. I think his next CD will be epic. This album was Great!!! go buy it and enjoy a really good CD.     

  • I3IRD

    A 6 really! It deserves like a 9 all the songs are good except for one. Yelawolf was one of my favorite rappers since trunk muzik and this album for me is incredible