Rating: 8 / 10
The best way to describe Yelawolf’s musical pattern as of late is to simply say “Expect the Unexpected.” Since his Shady Records release Radioactive, the Alabama native has been doing everything in his power to remain at the top of his game, including taking the unorthodox road of releasing another EP while promoting his album.
The “Slumdon Bridge” EP has him teaming with up-and-coming UK singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran to make something quite unlike anything you may have heard this year. Although the EP is only four songs, it’s well worth the download and sparks the question if they’ll work together again in the future.
To be clear, this is a collaborative effort from Yela and Ed, but that becomes obvious by the end of the second track listed. The surprise is how well they actually mesh; Yelawolf takes the lyrical route, while more often than not Sheeran provides the powerful melodies that lace the songs even while Yelawolf rhymes (during the intro to “You Don’t Know (For F**k’s Sake)”, Yelawolf even refers to him as the “Melody Man”). Sheeran even ventures into spitting a “rhyme” in the same song, but it fits well with the flow of the EP.
The best part about the project is the fact that within such a short amount of time, Yelawolf figured out a way to show off so many different styles of his lyricism. From the storytelling angle on “London Bridge” to the building rap crescendo on “You Don’t Know (For F**k’s Sake)”, to the all-out aggression on “Faces” (which was done so well it could’ve been slid on the end of “Radioactive” as a bonus cut), to the patterned flow on “Tone”, it all feels like Yelawolf from start to finish.
Aside from the somewhat obvious flaw of brevity here (you can listen to the entire EP in under 15 minutes), there’s not too much to complain about unless you’re looking for the “Hard White” sound from Yelawolf. This isn’t that type of project, but that’s not a bad thing in this case. It’s a unique project from start to finish, and it is well worth noting that Yelawolf and Ed Sheeran are talented enough to pull this off without seeming like a gimmick. It’s the most unlikeliest of teams, but it works. Here’s to hoping that we see more of them together in the future.