Yelawolf: Odd Man In

     Not many new artists can afford to be this crass and flagrant in entertainment. Perhaps his daring antics should garner our attention more. Yelawolf is concentrating on being the best at what he does, and right now he’s carved out a niche that he clearly dominates successfully.  The young rapper has the self-made […]



Not many new artists can afford to be this crass and flagrant in entertainment. Perhaps his daring antics should garner our attention more. Yelawolf is concentrating on being the best at what he does, and right now he’s carved out a niche that he clearly dominates successfully.  The young rapper has the self-made power and desire to provide a blended cure to Hip-Hop. He’s not ecstatic about the possibilities of bling and would probably jump over a barrel of Maybachs to push a Chevy. Yela is not afraid to keep it country boy simple and let the product do the talking.

For some Hip-Hop heads it can be difficult to embrace someone who might not fit a traditional criteria of rap music. This Alabama native is different, but he pulls it off without having to pucker up and sell his soul, rather he acutely chooses to sell his music. He has many variables that emerge without limits. He has worked to perfect every component of his career and is still grooming himself daily for his adventures in entertainment.  Already having worked with Raekwon, Juelz Santanna, Slim Thug, Bum B, Pill and many more Yela doesn’t emulate anyone but pays homage to the culture he’s loves and respects. Yelowolf allows for Hip-Hop to stretch beyond its wildest imaginations. You’ve been doing this for a minute, but how long have you been waiting to get right here at this point in your career?

Yelawolf: I wasn’t waiting per say but rather I’ve been just working to get better and better. I’ve always challenged myself to reach the next level. After the deal with Columbia we put out “Slick Ricky and Bobby” which was a tribute to Talladega Nights, then we did “Stereo” which is Hip-Hop ’s tribute to classic rock, next we released “Arena Rap” which is an experimental band EP.  We’ve just been working, working, working, and decided to release a rap project “Trunk Muzik.” We released that on the first of January and it just caught fire online. So it’s not really about waiting to get to a certain point, but it’s about doing what feels right and making music that feels good then letting the people decide what they like. We see all of these reality TV shows like “American Idol” and “Making the Band”  you did the “Road to Stardom” with Missy Elliot. Can you tell me whether that experience helped to launch your career at all, or at the end of the day when the cameras cut off you still had to grind from the bottom to the top?

Yelawolf: I would give people the advice to really study a situation first. Man, I was hungry when I did that I had just had my first baby so at the time when they were auditioning for that show I just went for it. I saw an opportunity so I went for it. I mean being seen and getting exposure is always a good thing. Because of that show in part is how I met Jeremy Jones and Jackie Chain from Huntsville then got over to Atlanta. I mean everything happens for a reason, but as far as the reality show and what it stood for it was some bulls**t. I had actually auditioned for the next Hip-Hop superstar which is what they were telling me the show was about, but when the finalist all made it on to the show it was really random. They had some singers, dancers, a Christian artist, some rappers, and some wanna be rappers all mixed in together. It was wack to me but still a good opportunity. I gotta thank Missy for putting me on but, no, it didn’t launch my career. Now you have a great track record in the mixtape game. How would you describe your growth from Slick Rick and Bobby to  Stereo to Arena Rap to the current Trunk Muzik?

Yelawolf: My main areas of progression, is in songwriting and through performance. Especially in my performance is were I’ve grown the most. Going back to Slick Rick and Bobby I have the same hunger for rap and delivery as an emcee, but when you fast forward to Trunk Muzik I just went into overdrive. I just wanted to out do everything that I’ve ever done lyrically. The hunger has gotten stronger. The need and want to succeed and be the best has changed drastically. I also got a better grip on the value of my team; the whole team has actually progressed as a unit, which is why all of this is happening. It’s not just my records, its not just me performing, its that collectively we’re grinding and making it happen. When can the people expect to see the album?

Yelawolf: Before the year is up you’ll have a full length album. I think we’re going to do another mixtape. I don’t know the title and I don’t know when it’s going to drop and I haven’t even recorded one record for it yet. But I’m not worried because we record really quickly. We recorded “Trunk Muzik” in a week’s time. We’re really just focused on putting visuals to “Trunk Muzik” right now. I’m going out to do some shows for South By Southwest then after that I’m going on tour with Wiz Khalifa, which I’m very excited about too. I’m thinking about the line in your song “I Wish” when you state “I wish a motherf*cker would tell me I aint Hip-Hop .” Are you running into a lot of haters out there? Because your music is so eclectic do you feel that it is meeting with any resistance or producing any misconceptions for you as the type of artist you are.

Yelawolf: Yeah I think that concept came from people crossing there arms at my shows, and no matter what I would come out with or what type of show I would put on you still have those motherf**kers who are just gonna keep their arms folded. So that record is for them. Actually one time when I was live with Raekwon and opening up for him in Atlanta I came out and had a few hecklers. For the most part the crowd was feeling it, but there were a few people who were just out right booing me and talking s###. So I stopped the music and I dropped “I Wish A Motherf**ker” would because that record is specifically for those types of people. And I delivered every line straight to the dude’s face then jumped into the crowd and delivered the rest of the record to his face. I have a few records for those types of situations like “I Wish” “F**k You” and “Don’t Make Me Pop The Trunk.” It’s all apart of my intensity as an artist. I know you love Alabama, so I want to know has Alabama been showing the love back to you. Are you going to get the keys to your city now or have a street named after you, lol?

 Yelawolf: For those who have access to the Internet back home, they know what’s going on and they are hugely supportive. Most people are just waiting for my CD to drop. Honestly in Alabama most people are still waiting for that hardcopy. I mean I live in a neighborhood where nobody has a computer and even if they do have a computer they won’t be online. I don’t even go online much at all. I mean I’ll go online from my Blackberry. I had to catch up I just got a Twitter right before Trunk Muzik dropped. I was forced to do that but now I love it. My town is real Hustle and Flow like the movie. It’s just dope boys and working class people living life. Alabama is hugely supportive of their artist though like I remember when Ruben Studdard won the American Idol there were billboards all over the state of him.

Interview with Yelawolf; story continues after video. You’ve had an interesting childhood. Your mother had you when she was a teenager and raised you on her own then you went to California to be a skate boarder. How have these experiences shaped your music?

Yelawolf: I mean everyday of my life has some how influenced and shaped what comes out on my records. All my experiences with my mom and those endless stories as a skateboarder mixed with the life of someone pursuing music, and life on drugs and alcohol has all shaped me. The other day I was just saying that the key to having endless things to talk about as an artist is in using concepts. There are millions and millions of things in the world to think about and create metaphors for songs. I use my own perspective, the things I’ve seen, and the things I’ve been through good and bad to create records. That’s one of the dope things about Hip-Hop  is that you can be unspecific and just talk about anything. Hip-Hop always you to stretch your story out forever. Do you apply the same focus into rapping as you do when trying to do a complicated skateboard trick?

Yelawolf: It’s exactly the same kind of passion. When I’m in the booth I get p##### off if I can’t drop the verse the way I want it in the first try. It’s like if I can’t land a trick that I know I can do that I’ve done for years I get mad. I punch s###; I punch the walls in the booth all the time cause I just get so p##### off when I don’t do what I know I can do perfectly. It’s also very independent when you’re on the mic and you’re trying to deliver something that you want, it’s an independent story that you’re trying to convey. It’s just you and the mic that’s all you got in there to get your point across. When you’re out there on the streets with your skateboard it’s just you and your skate board. You have nobody to blame but yourself if you f### up. It’s the same laws and the same principals. It’s about having a style and persevering and landing that s### just like persevering and making a record dope. Has the skateboarding community supported you as an artist?

Yelawolf: I would like to think so. For the most part all of the skateboarders that I’ve met are real supportive. Not every skateboarder likes Hip-Hop . I grew up skateboarding and through that the world of skateboarding has brought me tons of underground Hip-Hop  and the culture of the music. I’m just a skateboarder I mean I don’t want to write a record about skateboarding anytime soon but it’s just something that I do. I love to do it and I will do it forever. Most new artist try and fit a certain criteria and adhere to the rules of the industry, but you just don’t care, why is that?

Yelawolf: I really don’t give a f**k because it never pays to care about the politics of the industry. Somebody is always breaking the boundary anyway. I just leave it all up to my team. They trust me when I step on stage and I trust them to go handle the other s**t. I don’t get involved in any of the politics within the industry. I’ve been s**t on so many times by industry people that I just don’t give a f**k anymore.