Armed with no preconceived ideas and even less exposure, I dove into the Yelawolf album with no expectations. Quick research let me know that he’s white and Cherokee, from the South, and is a skateboarder (at least at heart). That lead me to excitement because it told me NOTHING about what to expect from his album. From what we’ve posted on the site, most of y’all don’t have any idea of what to make of dude either. So let’s just get into it.
When the first track, “Get The Fuck Up” came on, I was immediately hopeful that this was the vein of the entire album. There was some sick guitar riffs and incessant boom bap (which we don’t get nearly enough of in today’s Hip-Hop music). As the title suggests, this is just screaming intro into the album that will have you throwing the weights up out the gym if it makes your playlist. I’d have to wait until “Marijuana” to get another song crafted like this one. He really seems to shine through on the more hard hitting tracks.
If you’re looking for evidence of his storytelling look no further than”Daddy’s Lambo”, “Billy Crystal”, and “Love Is Not Enough”. “Daddy’s Lambo” has a syrupy slow beat, produced by Drama Beats, that Yela uses to craft his story of taking advantage of young naive chick. You know the girls that are turned on by the bad boys and life outside of the prim and proper world that their wealthy, overprotective parents have built for them, they are his prey on this song. It’s a fun song and the beat, tho simple, is pretty hard to deny. “Billy Crystal” is a meth dealer song…I don’t know that there are many other songs like this, but I def now that I can’t recall any. The star of the three songs I named, and for that matter the album, is “Love Is Not Enough”. It’s my favorite song on the album and best example of story-telling over a Do Or Die sounding beat and a Devin the Dude sounding hook (that probably would have boosted this song into the stratosphere had he been on the hook). You all know by now how I harp on the relationships and how relatable a song is so I won’t go into that, but you can see by the title what this song is about.
For those of you that are from the south and are looking for music that reflects your culture proudly, he doesn’t leave you out either. “That’s What We On Now” is an anthem of sorts that champions “where the sticks meet the bricks” and “some new mobile home shit”. It’s here thatYela paints a different view of the trailer parks and redneck life than what you’d believe by watching Dukes of Hazzard (damn, most of y’all never saw that show huh?).”Box Chevy” and “Pop The Trunk”are songs that appeal to a more broad southern experience. Where “Box Chevy” speaks about the hood classic Chevy Caprice “Pop The Trunk” is your queue to leave the scene if that phrase is muttered.
The album does have some minor slips. “I Just Wanna Party” is a contrived party anthem that really doesn’t seem to fit in with the album, even though the album is varied. The inclusion, as with most of his appearances, is a grab for sentimental and popularity gain, but he adds nothing to an already lackluster song. The same could be said for the canned drums and production on “Good To Go” that features Bun B. Bun seems like he’s jumping on everybody’s track nowadays, but this is one I wish he didn’t do. I promise I’ve heard this beat on myspace or someone’s free beat tape somewhere and I’m not a fan of it making the album at all.
Like I said in the intro, I had no idea what to expect from dude. Lately, his name has been popping up more and more in discussions I have with folks about Hip-Hop and most prominently on the BET Hip Hop awards where he’s been in a cypher and shared the stage with Big Boi in one of the better performances that night. While Yela is extremely versatile and talented, this album comes off a little scattered and a little boring in some spots. Maybe Yela was trying to hard to showcase his versatility but it’s not all bad. At the end of the album, it’s a good look at what he’s capable of and with careful production, he could be a major player in the future. What you get is a solid debut album from one of the South’s up and coming stars.
nappyPicks: “I Wish”, “Love Is Not Enough”, “Get The Fuck Up”, “Box Chevy”