Friday, December 16, 2011

Yelawolf-The Grimiest redneck out there

By: JR

           Amid the glut of Southern rappers who have dominated hip-hop’s last decade, there hasn’t been one quite like Yelawolf, the heavily tattooed, self-proclaimed white redneck from Gadsden, Ala., whose stellar independent releases made him the centerpiece of Eminem’s Shady Records rebuilding project last year. On his debut record, he shows off an impressive range of skills - an eye for narrative detail and a vicious double-time flow worthy of Eminem’s early output. Even in embracing his working-class Southern roots, as on the Kid Rock-assisted “Let’s Roll,’’ Yelawolf eschews chest-thumping pride in favor of gritty humor and realism (“With a fold up chair, a 30-pack on the back of that tailgate/A-L-A B-A-M-A I’m off I might pee in the lake’’). And although some of it feels rubber-stamped for mass appeal, “Radioactive’’ packs some surprisingly insightful moments, like the blue-collar anthem “Made in the U.S.A.’’ and the motivational “Write Your Name.’’  Yelawolf’s songwriting talents and pure rhyming skills (see the manic attack of “Animal,’’ produced by Diplo) are enough to make “Radioactive’’ an explosive debut. (Out now)

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