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.
Exactly 5 months after the release of his previous album Love Story back in 2015, Alabama rapper/singer & Eminem protégé Yelawolf did not hesitate to announce plans for this new album over here. He spent last year dropping 2 singles, a prelude EP & then he went on a headlining tour all to promote it. However, he ended up cancelling the last 6 dates of the tour & was admitted into a psychiatric ward by his manager Jeremy Jones after an onstage mental breakdown that was resulted by the death of his childhood friend Shawty Fatt. He then re-emerged a month later under his government name stating that he lost nearly every friend & everything he had, gave his Slumerican Records label to his mother & was now making a fresh start as a new member of the renown Oakland-based alternative hip hop collective Hieroglyphics rather than staying with Shady Records & Interscope. Despite this statement, it wouldn’t be until early June of this year when he officially made his comeback with a music video along with the confirmation that he was keeping the Yelawolf name & staying with Shady/Interscope. Fast forward almost 5 months later, he’s finally releasing & surprisingly self-producing it.
The album opens up with the title track, where he’s talking about the day he was born as well as warning the listener to watch out whenever you’re around him & being back in the saddle after his recent personal issues over a killer hard rock-esque guitar. The next song “Shadows” tells the listener of how he went from going from being a vulnerable kid to becoming a criminal & the instrumental is fittingly ominous as he’s passionately venting his story to the audience. The track “Get Mine” angrily raps about getting yours over a country rock instrumental & not only does the Kid Rock hook fit like a glove, but I can also appreciate the scratches from DJ Klever as it pays tribute to all the DJs out there. The song “Son of a Gun” reflects on how his career began over some chimes with a decent guitar & some awesomely militant drums. The track “Ride or Die” is a dedication to Shawty over some perfectly gloomy piano keys & then a spoken word interlude from Slumerican signee Struggle Jennings over a twangy guitar, we are then treated to the next track “Daylight”. Here, Yela raps about his alcoholism over a country guitar & the fact that he uses the same rhyme scheme for nearly the whole first verse just proves how lyrical Catfish Billy can be.
The song “Do for Love” talks about a dad who eventually decides to rob a store as well as a mother who strips & sells drugs over a dramatic instrumental. The track “Punk” spits about feelin’ at home over a fast-tempo rap rock instrumental & the Juicy J hook makes me a little disappointed that he doesn’t have a verse on here. The song “Row Your Boat” has a somber instrumental & I definitely appreciate Yelawolf getting conscious in his fully sung lyrics, but the hook is actually super corny to me. The track “True to Yourself” passionately talks about living for the moment pretty much over an Western sounding instrumental with some background choir vocals & horns. The song “Sabrina” is a heartfelt dedication to his daughter with the same name & while the instrumental is ok, you can truly hear the pain in Yela’s voice as he’s remembering her. Especially when he’s screaming at the end. The penultimate track “Violin” cleverly compares a soldier & the country he’s fighting for to a man with an unfaithful woman over an acoustic guitar with some beautiful string sections & background vocals. The album then closes out with “Keep Me Alive”, where he explains his come up about his over a twangy guitar & settle drums. Also, the Wyonna Judd hook is probably the best on the entire album.
And as a whole, I think it’s his best full-length album yet. The country & rock elements are being fused in a lot better, Yelawolf sounds his most focused, most inspired & he’s starting to rap a lot more than he did on the last album. I‘ve heard some people say that he’s full-blown corny, but I think this is a prime example of how much of a dedicated artist he is
Almost 8 months after releasing his 6th mixtape Trunk Muzik Returns, Alabama rapper & Shady Records signee Yelawolf is now releasing his 4th EP & he has enlisted DJ Paul of 3 6 Mafia fame to produce it in it’s entirety. The EP opens with “Get Straight”, which has an hard hitting trap beat & not only are Catfish Billy’s rhyme schemes just batshit insane, but the yelled hook makes you wanna sock someone in the face. The track “Mastermind” talks about being just that & the Pink Floyd sample that Paul uses gives it a super creepy atmosphere. The song “Bowties” with former Slumerican now Strange Music signee Rittz talking about Chevys over another dark yet abrasive instrumental complete with a sample of the classic Metallica song “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. The penultimate track “Party Prophet” if you couldn’t tell is a club banger & this is actually the only song on the entire EP where Paul spits a verse. Needless to say, it was a great fit. The EP closes out with Light Switch, which describes Alabaman life from his perspective over a rap rock/trap fused instrumental. Honestly, I think this is one of Yelawolf’s best releases. His delivery is super energetic on every single song & DJ Paul’s dark abrasive instrumentals compliments these energetic performances fantastically
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
Just about a year & a half after the release of his latest album Love Story, Alabama rapper/singer Yelawolf is now delivering his 5th EP in promotion of launching the new website for his own label Slumerican Records. The EP opens with “Supersonic Alley Cat”, which is mostly a country instrumental up until a hook during the last 30 seconds. The next track “You Should’ve Known” is possibly about his ex-fiancé Fefe Dobson over a spacey piano instrumental & while the first verse is decently sung, the rapid-fire delivered rap verse that follows is just the Catfish Billy that I know & love. The song “Renegades” is pretty much Yela singing about living life like a rebel along with addressing his haters over some guitars & the Royal Blood sample is just ok. The track “Someday” samples the Bob Seger song with the same name & you can truly hear the real frustration in Yela’s voice while he’s rapping the verses on here. The song “In Love Tonight” could very well be the weakest track on here, mainly because I find it to sound unfinished as it just has a hook with a guitar in the background. The penultimate track “Be Yourself” with Slumerican’s latest signee Bubba Sparxxx sees the 2 rapping about not being fake & the instrumental is probably the hardest hitting on the entire EP. The EP then closes out with “Good Love”, which about being in love with this chick he invites to his hotel room over some guitars. Once again, the sung verse is decent but the rapped verse is really where it’s at. While I didn’t see this coming, I found this EP to be a solid prelude to his upcoming 4th album Trial by Fire. It’s very similar to Love Story, but this is way more shorter in contrast to it’s predecessor being nearly 75 minutes
With the release of his 3rd EP Psycho White just 4 months prior, Alabama rapper & Shady Records signee Yelawolf is now giving us his 6th mixtape. Not only is it entirely produced by WLPWR, but it’s also a sequel to his 2010 breakout tape Trunk Muzik.
This sequel opens with “Firestarter”, where he talks about how he’s a problem in the rap game over a somber beat while the next song “Way Out” sees Yela going on his countryside shit over some glossy keyboards. The track “F.A.S.T. (Funky Ass Shit To) Ride” is a charismatic humble brag over some prominent bass & ominous synthesizers while the song “Box Chevy 4” is about doing drugs & then having sex with a woman in his 1979 Chevrolet over a decent electronic instrumental. The track “Hustle” with Paul Wall brags about their work ethics over a spacey keyboard lead & the song “Catfish Billy” is the story about Yela’s alter ego with the same name over a nice rap rock beat.
The track “Gangsta” with A$AP Rocky & Big Henry sees the 3 getting confrontational over a decent trap beat while the song “Rhyme Room” with Raekwon & Killer Mike pretty much speaks for itself over an atmospheric beat. The penultimate track “Fame” sees Yelawolf looking back at his career up until this point over an intergalactic sounding beat & the closer “Tennessee Love” is a passionately sung ode to his now ex-fiancé Fefe Dobson over some gloomy keys.
While many sequel projects fail to live up to the original, I enjoyed this almost as much as the first Trunk Muzik. Yelawolf manages to make a comeback to his hardcore hip hop roots after the commercial & focus grouped Radioactive: Amazing & Mystifying Chemical Tricks & the WLPWR production suits him as well as it did in the past.