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.
Yelawolf is a 39 year old rapper, singer & producer from Gadsden, Alabama who first came onto the scene in 2005 with a mediocre debut album Creekwater. It wasn’t until the kickstart of 2010 with the release of his breakout tape Trunk Muzik that he would gain attention, eventually signing 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. He fortunately returned with his previous album Trial by Fire, which is pretty much a self-produced & refined sequel to Love Story. Now after dropping a total of 8 vicious freestyles, he’s returning with his 5th full-length album & his last with Shady/Interscope.
The intro kicks things off fantastically, as it pretty much serves as a sequel to Trunk Muzik‘s title track from Yelawolf’s angry bars down to WLPWR sampling the original “Trunk Muzik” song itself. The next track “Catfish Billy 2” of course is a gritty follow-up to the cut that introduced the world to Yelawolf’s alter ego to begin with & even though I appreciate the song “Rowdy” for being a description of coming from the gutter as well as an abrasive beat from DJ Paul (who also provides an adrenaline pumping hook), the Machine Gun Kelly verse is laughable. The track “Special Kind of Bad” is a violin & bass-heavy love ballad that’s goes over very well, but the next song “Like I Love You” is a cringey follow-up to it with a moody trap beat. The track “Drugs” is a look at addiction over a somber beat while the song “Trailer Park Hollywood” talks about looking country fresh & the beat is perfect for the whip.
The track “No Such Thing as Free” with Caskey & Doobie is a jab at people who talk crazy over an eerie beat while the song “We Slum” with Shawty Fatt & Big Henri is self-explanatory over a banger beat. The track “Box Chevy VI” with Rittz & DJ Paul is a tribute to old school Chevrolets over a vintage Paul instrumental while the song “All the Way Up” with MopTop & Cub da Cookup Boss is a look at their feelings on fame over some keyboards & skittering snares. The track “Over Again” is a somber breakup anthem with a cloudy beat while the song “Addiction” tells the depressing story about a friend of Yelawolf’s over a piano infused boom bap beat. The album then closes out with “Over Here”, where Yelawolf disses rappers who’re only out for the fame over a settle guitar & some thumping kick-drums.
With Yelawolf’s tenure at Shady Records being over, this is the best full-length album he’s released yet. The features are hit or miss, but it’s a great return to form of his earlier work from his deadly lyricism all the way down to the menacing production. Really looking forward to the future as he is now a fully independent artist.