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Yelawolf, Radioactive

Yelawolf’s road to stardom wasn’t paved in gold. The Alabama native trudged through back roads, dark clubs and, at times, a whiskey-induced haze, to make his way to the top. On his proper debut, Radioactive, Wolf combs deep into his past experiences, backed by slick production by way of J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Diplo and Jim Jonson, among others, to twist a tale that’s every bit as satisfying as poppin’ the top on a cold one after a long day.

Throughout Radioactive, Yelawolf utilizes a barrage of double-time rhymes over brooding beats with bottom-heavy drums. He impresses on the Fefe Dobson-assisted “Animal,” a pocket of lyrical bravado. “Trashy White, pass the mic, Yeah I’m doing em dirty,” he spits over the bouncing synths. “Fists start pumping when I’m in the lights, like I’m rapping in Jersey.” On the menacing “Throw It Up” with Eminem and Gangsta Boo, Yela doesn’t yield on the mic. “I got two cars in the yard that don’t run, so why the fuck would I break shit down for you,” he sneers before moving out of the way for Em, who puts on a rhyming clinic. “My, Yelawolf and Gangsta Boo came here to, show you a thing or too/About sign language, middle fingers aimed at you, so we don’t have to scream at you.”

Next to another veteran, Mystikal, Catfish Billy slows his flow, for a measured take on life (“Get Away). Likewise on “Slummerican Shitizen,” with Killer Mike. Here, the two swap stories on depravity and second-class citizenship. “I’m on the sidewalk with this fuckin’ skateboard and these dirty ass jeans,” Yela raps. “I’m the boy that stole a pack of Twinkies And a bottle that’s green.”

Overall, Radioactive is sonically cohesive; in addition to the bigger names, Ghet-O-Vision in-house beatsmiths craft a dynamic set. At times, however, Yela revisits themes, (“Good Girl,” “Hardest Love Song In The World”) and feels like the secondary participant on a number of tracks. But more than not, the album is a standout effort that introduces the full-range of his talents as an MC with crafty songwriting abilities and deft ear for a sonic palette. Hazmat music. —Jayson Rodriguez

  • http://xxlmag.com J. TON

    Solid debut album worthy of a xl u rappers better start fearin the white MC. WHITE DAWG GET EM!!!

  • http://xxlmag.com J. TON

    Soild debut album deserves an xl u rappers better start fearin the white MC. WHITE DAWG GET EM!!!

  • jason

    How did this only get a l for originalty? I dont hear any other mainstream album that sounds like this.

    • jimmyjam33

      tha hell u talkin bout, theres nothing original about this shit, if this guy wasnt signed to shady u better believe people would be rippin this shit to shreds

      • NAPTOWNNUISANCE

        Do you know how freakin stupid you sound. The dude was makin major waves on the underground scene, and gettin all kinds of love from industry cats, wantin them on his songs. He was official before he signed with Eminem, dope.

        The album is hit and miss for me there is some really good songs and a few so so songs but over all it was a solid debut into the mainstream, not as good as his underground shit but he can only get better with major backing from here on out.
        Yeller holleratchee, catfish is the real deal and killin most of these new wave sorry ass rappers out right now. Listen to good music or get laughed at.

  • jake

    no shit how the hell does this only get a large for originality explain yourself??!!

  • mike

    I also agree with jason and jake…it should be XXL for originality, for gods sake at least XL. And I also think the lyrics are stronger than the rating…great rhymes…I’m hearing something different every time I repeat a track

  • tmac

    if anything should only be “L” it would be the beats…originality definitely XL. But not a bad review. Really good album, only problem is some of the hooks flat out suck, kinda like recovery, great lyrics over slightly above average beats and sub-par hooks

  • Tom

    How the hell do Radioactive and Take Care get the same rating for Lyrics? That right there shows that XXL’s reviews mean sh*t these days. Pathetic excuse for a magazine

  • jimmyjam33

    this album blows chuncks, if this was anyone else not signed to shady there would be sellout accusations galore, cos thts ecacytly what he did.

    • DMAC902

      ight bud u clearly listen to lil b or some whack shit stop hatin. yelawolf is tooo nice BAMA

      • jimmyjam33

        the reply of the moron who has nothing else to say. clearly im a yela fan but not a shady dickrider and thts why i can see the album objectivley and see tht it sucks and is a cop out. he switched up his whole style, he was original, now hes not. hes the only person i can legitematly call a sellout.

        • cam

          Just because it’s not a carbon copy of trunk muzik doesnt mean its garbage. Great album overall with a few tracks that could have been left out.

  • jimmyjam33

    exactly*

  • GetIt

    Fuck Yelawolf

    • NAPTOWNNUISANCE

      Alright we get it your a hater, go back to your moms basement now, and practice rhymin and maybe you can sell records one day too.

  • goose

    Much better than Drake, Niki, Big Sean, J cole, Rick Ross, etc. His lyrics are light years ahead of the rap game. A truly good album you don’t necessarily like at first listen… The metaphor after metaphor crap is getting old, you hear it once and don’t ever want to hear it again, regardless if it was dope. Kanye, Jay, and Wayne probably shit their pants when they heard the this new new

  • goose

    Much better than Drake, Niki, Big Sean, J cole, Rick Ross, etc. His lyrics are light years ahead of the rap game. A truly good album you don’t necessarily like at first listen… The metaphor after metaphor crap is getting old, you hear it once and don’t ever want to hear it again, regardless if it was dope. Kanye, Jay, and Wayne probably shit their pants when they heard the this new new

  • ATL Officer

    GREAT FIRST ALBUM AND ITS GREAT TO SEE A ARTIST FOCUS ON LYRICS MORE THAN HOT BEAT TO DISTRACT THE LISTENER

  • realrap

    wtf? this just gets an xl? xxl are fucking up…shitty rappers like drake and wayne are making headlines nowadays when the real rappers are getting nothing. i bet if ice cube or some one now made an album that was hard as fuck, xxl would give it some shit lil an L but lil wayne would get something like XXL…this is bullshit. fuck you XXL you did the same for RED album and that was an amazing album…so is this. get your head out of YMCMB’s ass

    • good man

      yo the problem is not that this deserves xxl (its great but not perfect.) the problem is that those albums deserve less. but i think the reason why xxl rates shit the way it does, is by the artist’s standards not rap’s standard. if they rated albums in relation to each other, all shady records shit, all strange musics shit, all of blu’s shit, they would all get xxl all the time. they rate albums compared to the artist’s albums, which explains why this, all 6′s and 7′s, hell: the sequel etc. get xl and not xxl. yelawolf’s trunk muzik 0-60 was classic, deserving of an xxl but this isn’t as good. tech n9ne has (arguably) come out with better albums. and both eminem and royce have released better shit than that ep they did, seperately and together. you think drake can do much better than the album he just came out with? you think khaled can put out anything better than the crap he puts out? nah man. reviews are based in relation to the artist’s other work, or potential. unless of course albums are total shit (soulja boy and lil b.) but they are a bit gratuitous with young money and popular trashy rap, but reviews they give are pretty accurate. just take into account that these guys like mainstream rap, and will review albums based on their own opinions.

  • http://xxlmag Agent#45

    I’m not a diehard Yelawolf fan, I was exposed to him by hearing his verses on Big Boi and Game’s CD’s, and honestly this CD was a huge disappointment the Intro is what I expected of him, and the CD just went all over the place, Production wasn’t that great and his lyrics were good but nothing spectacular for someone who has an unique style, he made a name for himself and didn’t live up to the reputation that he built for himself! I expect his next CD to be way better than this. The problem with Artist these days mixed tapes are better than actual CD’s!

  • wake factor

    all the haters out there need their ears checked by a doctor, cos they aint hearing shit right, this album is totally original, has more bangers than a Barbeque that spits fire flows and some easy going tracks too keep it laid back wit sing along hooks so yeah thats what it is

  • Jeff

    this nigga is wack as hell his voice sounds like shit and so does his flow….idk why Em signed his ass he got SLAUGHTERHOUSE there is NO NEED for DUDE TO BE ON SHADY!!

  • rick c

    gotta love yelawolf. never liked him to much before this album, but after listening to this cd it proved to me he has real and raw talent.Which also made me view his older songs in a more positive way now that i know hes just not some damn crazy hick.word up my dude

  • jayt

    not what i expected, but damn good anyway

  • http://xxl.com eppie

    hell yeah yela keeps it fresh for us white boys out there.

  • http://Gmail.com asasasas

    Fo my patner Yela keep it good. And Getlt go suck a dick and shut the fuck up!!!!

  • Kris

    This is a fantastic album although it does sound a little like Bone Thugs and Harmony.

  • onlyeffinpost

    dude… from Atlanta seen yela many times @ smith’s ol a few amongst others… and after he signed to shady was expecting better, harder and more yela, and got a radio/arena ready album… can’t hate him for chasing his dream. Just wish his dream was the grime that got him there.

  • Ghostface

    This album doesn’t touch Trunk Music. He sounds best on Drama beats. I’d like to see Trunk Music 2, please. Album not bad but a little boring compared to TM.

  • kassie

    i love love love yela and the new album. im on that slumerican shit!! yela 4 prez!!

  • Hishman

    HAHAHA @ the people shitting on this album!! I don’t even know where to begin. So I won’t. I’m a white country boy too inspired by rock & rap. I’ve listened to Em religiously for over 10 years. I’ve absorbed his word play, style and his Shady side. This album, Radioactive, has given me what I need to start making some movements. See you in a few, Yela. GOD BLESS you for this REAL album. No bullshit. Peace out, Hishman. Oh yeah, XXL, F* You and your ratings. Weak.

  • EM1

    do you even understand music? do you what the music business is? your comments don’t make you sound smart and definitely don’t make you sound like a hip-hop pro. there’s a reason its called mainstream you idiot, because everybody is listening now. he didn’t sell out he’s still the same its just some of the hooks on the album that are pop. his lyrics are still the same, he’s still a bad-ass white Mother-fucker. but when you go mainstream you have to add those hooks otherwise you won’t sell (even Biggie did it). if you don’t plan on selling then stay underground. It all depends on how pop you become. I’d say yelawolf has gone as less pop as possible. If you heard the album you see that at the end of Throw it Up eminem tells him that he needs a love song because girls like love songs. He did one while staying yelawolf: it isn’t exactly the typical love song you’d hear on any other rappers album.

    And for God’s sake you have to understand that rap isn’t about doing the same thing every time. if you wanted Radioactive to sound more like trunk muzik then listen to trunk muzik, a rapper is as good as his style. and when it comes to yelawolf he has a 1000 styles all rapped up in one.

    The album deserves a XXL or XL on originality because unlike Lil’ wayne he knows how to fuse rock and rap and still pull off a flow that kicks ass.