Yelawolf, Creepin’ on a Come Up

Fresh off his feature on Juelz Santana’s “Mixing Up The Medicine,” Alabama newcomer Yelawolf is cooking up a batch of new music, including a recent track with Raekwon. With blessings from Atlanta pioneer Kawan “KP” Prather and his label Ghet-O-Vision Ent., Yelawolf offers up a unique combination of classic rock and hip-hop, which can be heard on his indie releases, Ball of Flames: The Ballad of Slick Rick E. Bobby, Stereo, and Arena Rap.

Despite the improbable odds of being a successful White rapper out of Alabama, Yelawolf continues to defy expectations and win over diehard rap fans and artists alike. His latest co-sign comes courtesy of Bun B, who appears on “Good to Go,” which is stewing interest for the rap rookie’s upcoming mixtape, Trunk Music. XXLMag.com caught up with the rising star, who now calls Atlanta home, to talk about breaking the color barrier, working with hip-hop legends and why you should never sleep on Yelawolf.

XXLMag.com: How does a White boy from Alabama link up with Harlem’s own Juelz Santana for a song like “Mixing Up The Medicine?”

Yelawolf: I have a band and in that band my homeboy Ashanti is my fiddler player and he knew Cane, who produced “Mixing up the Medicine.” Cane had come up with the idea of doing that Bob Dylan cover and previously, I had did this mixtape called Stereo, which was a hip-hop tribute to classic rock. I fit the bill for what he was trying to get across and Cane reached out to me to feature on it. Juelz came out and I met him in ATL.

XXLMag.com: Alabama isn’t really known as a Mecca of hip-hop. How do you fit in to the rap world as a White MC with heavy rock influence?

Yelawolf: I’m not the first white rapper. There’s nothing initially brand new about what I’m doing. What made it hard for me to break for so many years is my perspective, my influences and all of that combined. I grew up on hardcore shit so it just comes naturally… I’m inspired from Alabama because of what it’s like. I pick out literal things that are going on in my space and place them into the music. The culture of Alabama, my surroundings, things that I see everyday—big trucks, Confederate flags, Chevys, dope boys, projects, trailer parks, mud tires, deer heads, camouflage, rednecks, poor people, lakes, rivers, trees all the things I’m surrounded by heavily influences my content.

XXLMag.com: Your style also seems to be real melodic. Where did that approach to rap come from?

Yelawolf: My melody comes from classic rock. I was born into classic rock. My mom had me when she was about 15 and she was heavy into classic rock. I have a lot of that melody rooted in me.

XXLMag.com: Who are some of your musical influences?

Yelawolf: Early in my life, it was Lynard Skynard, REO Speedwagon, Journey and Mother’s Finest, classic rock. My mother’s boyfriend at the time was doing the Walk This Way Tour and some of the road crew came back to stay with us. They bought me some Motley Crue shirts and some Beastie Boys tapes; that was when I first discovered hip-hop. When I moved to Nashville, I found out more about Three 6 Mafia, UGK, and N.W.A. Around ’93 I started really getting into Hieroglyphics, Digable Planets—I was really into them—and I was really connected with Wu-Tang Clan as a fan growing up skateboarding. I could recite every word of the Cuban Linx project I used to ride to it every day, Raekwon’s definitely one of my favorite artists.

XXLMag.com: Speaking of Raekwon, how did you wind up collaborating with him on “I Wish?”

Yelawolf: I met him in Miami when we flew out to work with Scott Storch when I was with Columbia a few years ago. He just happened to be there—this was way before we decided to try and do a record. About four or five months later we were in New York cutting a record and KP called Rae; he got to listen to some of my album and he just ran with it. It was an honor—he doesn’t work with everybody.

XXLMag.com: As far as labels go you mentioned Columbia Records. Clearly you’re no longer with them. What’s your current label situation?

Yelawolf: My management team, J Dot and Courtney Sills, introduced my music to Kawan “KP” Prather in ’07. He flew down to Atlanta and basically signed me on the spot through Columbia with his company Ghet-O-Vision Ent. We were with Columbia six maybe seven months when Rick Rubin came in and just cleaned house. We uprooted from Columbia and went back to the streets. Ghet-O-Vision Ent.’s been working as an independent for the past three years together. As you know, KP brought OutKast out, he signed them, he brought out Tip, Pink, John Legend, Usher, he’s a music pioneer for Atlanta and he’s just brilliant at what he does.

XXLMag.com: In terms of your upcoming mixtape, Trunk Music, what can we look forward to off that?

Yelawolf: Trunk Music is straight raw rap. I’m really excited about it—definitely my best yet. I’m heading to the studio to wrap it up entirely…. People are going to be awed by incredible super hot beats. [Willpower of Supahot Beats] killed it. He did 99-percent of the tracks. The production is amazing. The perspective is what’s attractive about the music—I don’t imitate, lie, or beat around the bush with the truth of my own life. I speak from pieces of my life’s experiences and put it in my music that is what is going to make it special. There is a lot of depth; it’s definitely not in one lane. —Rosario Mercedes Velazquez

  • NVR

    Kane Beatz is whats up, that dude is gonna go far, he already putting someone on. Two poppin singles right now, Mixing up the medicine and Bedrock. GO KANE

  • Avenger XL

    Here is the problem with all of this. His track record starts off with doing a remix for Juelz Santana who’s star has been sinking like most of the drip set since Cam-moron went on alcohol induced subatical. He has been signed to a subsidary of a guy like KP who is trying to find his next big thing. Dude will be mis-managed I am going to do more research on him. To see if he is even nice or is it just the production and they are going for the kid rock/bubba sparxx angle again.

    • AZ40

      I think your right in doing more research that’s exactly what I thought when I heard some of his music and some of his influences(oh another kid rock bubba sparxx), but he is definitely more melodic and a better rapper than kid rock and it’s something different to listen too especially if your musical palate is wide ranged…I’ve liked some of his music on his mixtapes, he kinda reminds me of ray cash in a weird way if anybody remembers him

    • paleface

      you dont know what the hell yur talkin about. first off, his track record doesnt start off with juelz santana. he sung the hook for the slim thug “i run”. and it doesnt start there either. so kp, mis-managed OutKast, Tip, Pink, John Legend, Usher? did you even read the article? or u just listend to the medicine track and start hatin? he`s got some of the best versatile spits in the rap game right now and he`s got a live band. you cant go wrong with a live band. the dude is clearly takin hip hop in the right direction. and im not a fan of dipset at all! i dont own one of their cds, but santanas always had great spits. whats the kid supposed to do, go hunt down 50 spent for a feature,just cuz dude dropped another overated recycled material album recently? or try to come up with a million bucks to get that weird arrogant goof eminem to do a feature? yela`s beats are too tight for em, theyd have to be slowed down and crappy for him, “poppin bottles” what a joke!

      • NAPTOWNNUISANCE

        I agree dude is startin off strong.BUT Dont sleep on Eminem just because his Relapse was half great half garbage, your favorite rappers favorite rapper seems to be back in full force. From what I have been hearin Relapse 2 will be nothin short of classic. He himself said it will be more serious which is what most people love about him any way. After all that is when he shines the hardest any way.

  • BEEZIE!

    the problem is that you’re a bitch ass hater. Thank you and good day.

  • bk

    “Box Chevy pt. 2″ sold me on Yelawolf.. he’s got more range than Bubba and the classic rock influence isn’t as corny as it is in Kid Rock.

  • DC

    Everybody trying to analyze this dude.. just listen to his music..damn!!! I didn’t get it at first, but now I do..shit is jammin’. Keep doin ya thing wolf

  • Supahot Beats

    Relax folks dude is dope. He’s got some great co signs, great music, and KP is legendary A&R who found TI, Outkast, and many other Classic southern greats. Google “I Wish”, “pop the trunk”, and “Good to go”. His music speaks profoundly. Peace

  • eazy money

    terrible photo promoting drinking and driving

  • AnR Guy

    I wish to hell I’d discovered him before KP!

    Yelawolf has a fresh new sound.
    He’s NOT just another Eminem (no shots), and
    Kidd Rock or Bubba Sparxx fit nowhere in the equation.

    His lyrical prowess ALONE is the stuff of legends…Hip Hop is better with him in the mix….despite the color of his skin.
    They’re taking it back to what the genre was about all along….a rappers flow.

    There are some mis-informations in the article…although positive.

    1. It’s ‘Courtney Sills’ on his mgmt team…not ‘Fields’.

    2. His project was launched by KP of GhetoVision, but 99% of the TRUNKMUZIK album was produced by Will Power, owner of SupaHot Beats….not KP….that must’ve been a Freudian slip.

    3. His buzz, unlike many of the major signed artists…is not manufactured. Ask the fans.

  • vansur

    fuck haters

  • http://www.iap-tv.com Harra$$

    Yall niccaz trip me out. Flo Dawgz beenkillin dat Rap / Rock chit! Check out Block Addicts. http://www.iap-tv.com Them boyz do it big!

  • REALLY

    YELLERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!! On a come up my dude

  • big johnson

    stop actin like this dude is hard for 1 the co signs he got are not getting bumped in the streets and #2 who is this dude? im from the south and never heard of him the only way this dude will get on is to get signed to a major on a 360 deal and get famous and be broke!!! and the reason he get signed is cost he a white boy and highly marketable so he will be a gimmick…he better go the radio route..p.s im not hating.. because you are featured in a magizine DONT MEAN YOU ARE HOT!!!

    • low lyfe

      are you serious… yall people aint listenin to tha music.. you hatin hard as fuck.. you saw his name in a mag you read everyday, didnt know shit about him and saw an oppurtunity to take a stab at him… and you from tha south and dont like yeller?!!? you a whack job homie.. you from a southern state, not from THE SOUTH…

  • jmocken

    Trunk Muzik is by far my most anticipated mixtape right now. @AZ40, I get where you’re coming from with the Ray Cash fast-rapper comparison, but Ray Cash ain’t gone! He put out a decent mixtape earlier this year, which he sampled Queen on actually; so I guess they do share certain similar creative ideas and influences.

    Oh, and Cam took time off to care for his mom after she had a stroke, not for an “alcohol induced subatical(sic)”

  • techkid

    Haven’t really heard much of Yelawolf, but man I’m diggin how he is influenced by classic rock. Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of the all time greatest. This could be a new twist for rap. Go get’em Yelawolf.

    - A.J

  • NAPTOWNNUISANCE

    Dude is pretty decent. After reading this article I checked into him and gave a good majority of his songs a listen.I added him on myspace. He is kinda like Andre 3000 meets the sound of kid rocks music. But he does the classic rock songs justice and dont butcher them. Im gonna keep a ear out for him.He definitely stands out in this new era of main stream garbage that is getting spoon fed to us by the industry,shame there is only a select few artists making quality music these days,and those are established ones who have been around for a while. Yelawolf is definitely a breath of fresh air.

  • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

    i wish he had a verse on mixin up the medicine, not that santana didn’t do his thing. but i would have loved yelawolf’s take on that track.

  • The Mail Man

    He has a remix version on the Trunk Muzik project.. you can get it at http://www.djbooth.net or on his myspace.com/yelawolf

  • http://Www.myspace.com/gemstardagoldenchild Gemstar Da Goldenchild

    Str8

  • live from da island

    1st off 1 time for supahot beats,2nd 90% of all ya’ll on here don’t no a damn thing bout catfish billy,pls don’t insult da man{bubba and kid rock r u fucking retarded!} this man is going to take hip hop in the south to the next level, relapse ain’t shit compared to creekwater and that was homies 1st record,far as the white boy part of it is concerned with the right backing yelawolf will probably be bigger than em.[yeah i said it]reason he’s doin hooks cuz nobody wants to be outshined by ur neiborhood whiteboy from da trailerpark,get they ass yeler…

  • low lyfe

    fuck haters.. THE SOUTH gone rise

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