The Foundation
Yelawolf explains what it's like to be a hip-hop dad.
As told to Emmanuel C.M.

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of XXL Magazine.

Yelawolf: I didn’t have a father. My dad was 86ed when I popped out. So I spent my life as a Gypsy, pretty much, with my momma bouncing around. I was always close with my grandparents. When I was young my mom dated a man named Jim Garner and he became my second most important father figure besides my Paw Paw (grandfather). He came over when I was 14, which must have been a nightmare; smoking all his weed and drinking all his liquor. But for me being a father—with or without hip-hop—I couldn’t imagine life with the guilt of being a bad father, I don’t know how to do that. How do you abandon or not care? I figured it’s easy to have kids. My grandmother used to tell me, "You know what causes that right?" And I’m like, "Yeah I know."

But just being a dad, it’s a serious challenge. But I got great kids; they are geniuses, so smart. They are going to follow up and hold me down after my career is done. I’m just making sure I’m providing for all their hobbies and their desires. My oldest son, he is 12 years old and he wants to be a fashion designer. I think that’s so ill. I got him a sewing machine. They are not normal kids. My oldest son never had a hair cut. They all skateboard and write movies. My oldest and his littler brother write scripts and perform them. They record them and edit them. They’re only 10 and 12. You begin to watch little bits of you start to grow out of your kids. That’s what a man is supposed to be. I’m separated, which makes things extremely difficult but I’ll always be a good partner for my kids. People fuck up and let their woman determine the relationship with their kids. That’s a big problem.

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