Album Reviews

Yelawolf – Radioactive

on November 23, 2011, 7:57am
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With his working-class Alabama heritage, unflattering quasi-mullet, and mom-honoring tattoos, Michael “Yelawolf” Atha is no one’s idea of a rap phenomenon. But if you’ve spent any amount of time with his breakthrough 2010 mixtape, Trunk Muzik, or its revised edition, Trunk Muzik 0-60, you can testify to the fact that he’s a much more adept emcee than he might appear to be – see the eerie thump of “Pop the Trunk” or the Raekwon-featuring “I Wish”.

So, after those tapes and high-profile collaborations with the likes of Big Boi and Tech N9ne, here’s Radioactive, Yela’s Shady Records debut. Things come out of the gate quickly with the bare-bones intro and ”Get Away“. On both tracks, Yela blitzes through the beats with the same stunning technicality that‘s all over both Trunk Muziks. The best moment here is the Killer Mike-abetted “Slumerican Shitizen”, in which both emcees deliver characteristically mouth-foaming verses over crunching electric-guitar riffing.

Somewhat predictably, things go awry when the radio-ready, guest-provided hooks (mostly from upstarts including Mona Moua and Priscilla Renea, who sounds a bit too much like Rihanna) show up. The hooks themselves can be enjoyable, but they just don’t bode well with Yela’s aggressive delivery; any intensity he builds up is usually drained when someone else grabs the mic. Still, the peaks overshadow the valleys here, leaving an adequate showing from a guy who deserves to be taken more seriously than his looks and background might warrant.

Essential Tracks: “Hard White (Up in the Club)”, “Slumerican Shitizen”

5 comments

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ตารางบ้านผลบอล
May 13, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Ahaa มัน ดี การสนทนา เกี่ยวกับ เกี่ยวกับ ที่นี่
ที่ นี้ หน้าเว็บ ฉันได้อ่าน ทุก ที่ดังนั้น ตอนนี้ ฉัน
ยัง แสดงความคิดเห็น ที่นี่ .

Joyobonix
November 24, 2011 at 3:01 am

if you want 100pct yelawolf that is more hardcore download this mixtape: 

Mike Madden
November 23, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I usually ignore comments like yours, but I have to defend myself here.

I think Yelawolf is a fantastic rapper, and I’ve heard a lot of his work, including both Trunk Muziks and stuff from his early mixtapes and EPs. But I just don’t think he fits in all that well with some of the beats and hooks here. I was really looking forward to this album and I was let down a little.

And you’re right: I don’t know about “how relatively HORRIBLE 95% of contemporary hip-hop and rap albums are compared to their 1990s counterparts.” I like a ton of different rap, old and new, underground and mainstream.

Sorry for sharing my opinion, but that’s my job around here.

Hence
November 23, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Ehf this review. It’s the least comprehensive consideration I’ve seen of an album in a long time.

Allow me to provide an alternate perspective.
The two “essential” tracks listed here are by far two of the worst on the record. They’re abrasive and crude sounding (a quality that actually works for Up In the Club.) Slumerican Shitizen and Growin Up In The Gutter are the only songs I skip. I just don’t like the sound of them. 

Yela has an amazing flow. The way he wraps words around is really quite contagious. Even better is the sonic quality of his voice. It cuts so cleanly through beats, sounding really high in the mix even when he’s doing cool whispery raps. I’ve been listening to the record for almost a week, and I catch myself speaking, (or thinking to myself) in a pseudo- yela-esque- accent. It’s cool.

He’s a white rapper coming out the gates under the wings of THE white rapper, and somehow Yelawolf finds a way to embrace that, and stand apart from it at the same time. The only song featuring Eminem, (and the nicely capable Gangsta Boo) is easily one of the best rap records of the year. It’s seriously good. Em delivers an amazing verse much in line with his recent output, including a plethora of fast food chain drops and an adversarial tone towards an ambiguous b*tchy female. What’s nice is, you can see a clear progression from his work on Recovery, in that (potentially inspired by Yela) he’s using more dynamics. Instead of non-stop ferocity he’s slowing down, using smooth voice tones and pauses. Em used to specialize in dynamics back in the day, so it’s good to hear that again.

And Smooth is where this album really gets it right. There are many tracks that get my head nodding along with Yela, laughing at his jokes and going “oh!” at how awesome some of the lines are. I hate sing-songy hooks on rap albums but many here are actually much better than I expected. They’re not just tolerable. I actually like them. Even the one by kid rock. Yep.

Any rap record needs to convey the ongoing saga of the rapper, and a first rap record should do especially that. Yela manages to do this in subtle ways, mainly getting you acquainted with different elements of his personality. He’s a pretty multifaceted dude. Some songs give you some back history, others give you some insight into his earnest political disposition, or his modesty.

On whole, I’m spinning this a lot, and getting more out of it all the time. Great Stuff. 

ShrugOffHaters
November 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm

4/5 stars.

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