When Eminem first signed Yelawolf to Shady Records in 2011, you could tell their relationship would be more than just mentor and protégé. Nowadays, Yela has earned his respect over the years, consistently showing his progression as an artist in releases like Trunk Muzik Returns and his EP Black Fall. Em’s growth is no different either as indicated in his eighth studio album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 officially out today. Quite possibly Em’s strongest effort in terms of nostalgia and lyricism, Yela is just as excited as everyone else to see what the Detroit MC has to offer.
“I heard all three [singles] that he put out. ‘Bezerk,’ ‘Rap God,’ and ‘The Monster,’” the Slumerican MC said. “I only listened to the three that he put out. I’m going to wait and buy to listen to the rest of the album.”
A few days before Em’s release date, we got down with Yela to speak about the impact of his closest friend dropping another album. We also got an update to his Love Story album, which is now slated to release in 2014.
XXL: Were you a fan of the first Marshall Mathers LP?
Yelawolf: I think everybody listen to that album in the entire universe. I was on that train, for sure. I listened to it. First time I heard Eminem I was in Alabama still at my grandmother’s house. First I ever heard of him or saw him was on MTV. Before that, I never heard of him. The first thing that I ever saw was “My Name Is” the video. I had to go back to get the old Rawkus shit. I found out all about the rap Olympics shit after. All the underground shit. I saw him on television I was like, “Oh my god. Yes! Finally! We got one!” It was tight.
Last time we spoke, you wanted to head out to work with Em on Love Story. Were you in the studio sessions for MMLP 2?
Nah, I haven’t been out to Detroit yet to work with Marshall on Love Story. That’s the plan, but he had to get through his album. I was out here working on Love Story and he was working on his project so it we were both focused [on] finishing up our projects. The goal is to take Love Story and go out to Detroit and sit with it.
He makes a reference to you about how you’re a better rapper on one of the tracks off the album.
That’s the homie, we got like mutual respect. There will never be another, ever. You know what I mean? An MC like him. It’s not going to happen ever. Marshall respects my style and where I come from and how I talk about the things I talk about. Bar for bar, he’s really difficult to fuck with on any level. That’s what he does. When it comes to styles and shit, I flip crazy styles. I know that for sure. I’m like an octopus with my steez, I can go any direction at any moment. But bar for bar, he’s brilliant. It’s an honor to be a part of the squad.
What do you think of the concept of the album?
Last time I saw him, where were we? Scotland? Kicking it. He was happy. He was in a good zone. I was about to peace him out because I was getting back on the plane. I walked in and he was spitting bars. Just chilling. Just zoning. It’s dope. It’s good to see him in that zone. I think it’s probably how he feels right now. He’s hungry. That’s why “Rap God” says that. Motherfuckers don’t forget who I am. It’s nostalgic for sure. It just reflects probably where’s he at right now in his music. How he approaches this shit. It’s dope, man. I’m happy for him. It’s always good to get another wind after so many projects, you gotta support that. It’s hard to keep flowing ideas after so many years.
What do you think is the cultural impact for another Em album?
All I can say is its lonely at the top. He’s put that work in. It’s Eminem. At this point, it’s kind of Led Zeppelin album or a Beatles album. It’s just is what it is. Opinions are like assholes. Some people are going to love it, some people are not. But, at the end of the day, it’s Eminem, dog. He’s putting out music. Every move he makes is culturally impactful. This dude has millions and millions of people following him. I expect to hear what I have always heard. Dope shit. Big songs.
Previously: Yelawolf Stays On His Grind