With the release of his major label debut Radioctive: Amazing & Mystifying Chemical Tricks being 4 years prior & releasing a couple EPs & mixtapes afterwards, Alabama rapper Yelawolf is finally delivering his 3rd full-length album. This is also his first commercial release under his own label Slumerican Records, yet his 2nd with Shady Records & Interscope.
The album kicks off with “Outer Space” which has this fun rap rock vibe to it thanks to WLPWR & Catfish Billy himself sounds hyped to finally be back. The next song “Change” tells the listener about him finally finding himself, but Malay’s guitar-tinged production was just ok to me here. The track “American You” sees Yelawolf singing about an average American man & sonically, it is a full-blown country rock song. The song “Whiskey in a Bottle” raps about coming of age & I was surprised to hear that they used the same sample that Madvillain used for “Supervillain Theme” off their must-have 2004 album Madvillainy. The track “Ball & Chain” sees Yelawolf singing about going from a prisoner to a well known rapper over an acoustic guitar, but it really shouldn’t have been an interlude.
The song “‘Til It’s Gone” sings then raps about not being taken advantage of & I absolutely love the country vibes of it. It was also perfect that it appeared in one of the final Sons of Anarchy episodes. Similar to “American You” being a full blown rock song, the track “Devil in My Veins” is a full blown country song from the instrumental to Yelawolf’s vocals & it’s just ok. The song “Best Friend” is another full-blown rock song with Yelawolf singing about his religious beliefs & the album’s sole feature from mentor Eminem is just angry as Hell. The track “Empty Bottles” has a few corny shot-glass lines near the end of the first 2 verses, but I do like the guitar & the passionate delivery as he discusses his alcoholism. The song “Heartbreak” is a rapped message to his ex-wife Sonora Rosario & while it’s the only song on the entire album to be produced by Eminem, it doesn’t disappoint. Especially since he surprisingly got back with Dr. Dre production underwings Mark Batson & Mike Elizondo to play keys & guitar on it to give the beat that late 90s/early 2000s Dre vibe.
The track “Tennessee Love” is a solid love tune taken from Yelawolf’s last mixtape Trunk Muzik Returns & as for “Box Chevy V”, it’s yet another great tune of his to cruise to & the record scratches weren’t too bad either. The title track raps about not wanting to be forgotten & the beat has an ambitious tone to it. The song “Johnny Cash” sees Yela using one of his idols to talk about stage fright & the sample used in the beat gives it a gloomy atmosphere to it that’s actually pretty nice. The track “Have a Great Flight” is another fully sung yet beautiful tribute to great-grandmother over a some lovely guitar & string sections.
The song “Sky’s the Limit” raps about the American dream over some somber piano chords with some guitars later thrown in & the way he vents about his step-father abusing him on the acoustic penultimate track “Disappear” was very personal. The rapped closer “Fiddle Me This” tells the audiences a few more things he wants to get off his chest before the album ends & while I didn’t expect the fiddle solos & DJ scratches near the end of it, it definitely fits in given the title.
I’m not surprised that this was more country/rock influenced AT ALL, but it does work. I really didn’t have to be 18 tracks/75 minutes long & his prominent singing was ok, but he sounds a lot more comfortable & passionate than he did on Radioactive