Yelawolf is a 39 year old rapper, singer & producer from Gadsden, Alabama who first came onto the scene in 2005 with an honestly mediocre debut album Creekwater. He eventually broke out onto the mainstream in 2010 with his Trunk Muzik mixtape & eventually signed to Shady Records/Interscope Records & releasing his sophomore album Radioactive: Amazing & Mystifying Chemical Tricks the following year. A focused grouped, yet still fun major label debut. He then returned in 2015 with Love Story, where he started to incorporate country & rock music into his style. But when his childhood friend Shawty Fatt passed away at the tail-end of 2016, it caused him to disappear from the scene for a while. The man fortunately returned with Trial by Fire, a self-produced & refined sequel to Love Story. Yelawolf just fulfilled his contract with Shady/Interscope this past March with Trunk Muzik III & a little over 7 months later, we’re now getting his 6th full-length album.
After the “Mama Wolf” intro, we go into the first song “Unnatural Born Killer”. Where Yela claims himself as just that over an abrasive instrumental. The track “Opie Taylor” finds Catfish Billy comparing himself to the famous Ron Howard character of the same name over a relaxing instrumental from DJ Klever while “Box Chevy VII” is another banging installment of Yelawolf’s titular song series.
The song “Here I Am” talks about whooping someones ass over a sweet guitar line while the track “Still Ridin’” talks about leaving Shady/Interscope over a funky bass-line & some keys. The song “Lightning” tells the story of Tommy over a horror-esque instrumental while the track “Renegades” is taken off of Yelawolf’s 2016 EP H.O.T.E.L. (House Of The Endless Life). The song “So Long” is a decent country rap anthem about relationship issues while the track “You & Me” is a cool follow-up.
After the DJ Paul skit, he actually gets with Yelawolf on “Country Rich” to talk about being a rich hip hop artist from the south over an acoustic guitar. The penultimate track “Keep on Rollin’” with Big Henry & Cub da CookUpBoss is an average sequel to the song they did on Trunk Muzik III. The album then finishes off with the titular song, where Yelawolf declares himself as such over a druggy beat.
For this being his first release off Shady/Interscope, I enjoy this. It’s like a mixture between the Trunk Muzik era as well as the Love Story & Trial by Fire eras. If this is the road he wants to keep traveling down in the future, then I’m all for it.