I like to tell you guys about some of my favorite music that is just outside of what we hear every day.  Like Ana Tijoux , Lindsey Sterling and ZZ Ward. This time I want to tell you about the best rapper I have found in a lot of years; Yelawolf.

Yelawolf is from Alabama. He released an independent album and some mixtapes in the early 2000's, got singed and dropped by Colombia Records, then Interscope records took interest. He then signed with Eminem’s Shady Records. I first heard about him when Jesse Thorn mentioned him on the Jordan Jessie Go! podcast. I went straight to the YouTubes and found the video for the song Kickin’ and right away I was down. It’s tattoos, trucks and trailer park gangstas, awesome.

I know the people in this video, I grew up with them. Not those people exactly, but in general. That is the rural, working class flavor represented for real. Yelawolf may be from the South, but that energy is felt all over the country.

And the sound! I have long had a love of bass. For a time I was one of those kid with a car full of speakers, exposed wires and electrical tape. Bass so hard that it shakes the mirrors still can get me excited. On this song, and all his music really, Yelawolf has the booming bass going loud. It’s a classic sound done in a unique, modern style.

Unique is the key too. Nobody sounds like Yelawolf and he sounds like nobody else. He can grab a lyric and wrestle it to the beat while telling a story full of colorful people with a gritty plot line ripped from the dirt roads of America.

Yelawolf and Big Boi perform during the BET Hip Hop Awards
(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Two of my absolute favorite songs come off the Interscope release of his mixtape Trunk Muzik, Trunk Muzik 0-60; Pop the Trunk and Billy Crystal. They are straight up modern, old school gangsta music; second decade of the 21st century versions of a 1990’s Ice Cube. Stories about drugs, revenge and dark realities of the rural experience.

The piano loop and the screaming sounds that flow under the story of a drug dealer in Billy Crystal paint a picture of empty streets and flashing stoplights in a world of desperation and ruin as good as any movie.

Pop the Trunk is a song full of pent up energy ready to burst like fireworks. The hit of high hats, boom of the bass and piano build under this tale of revenge until the sound explodes at the chorus. The video for Kickin’ caught my attention; the video for this song made me a solid fan.

Yelawolf has plans for new music this year and is on tour. He'll be in Sioux Falls Sunday, April 13th at the Ramkota Exhibit Hall. Ticket info here.


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