Yelawolf’s proper, full debut album, Radioactive, will be available October 25. But in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the Gadsden, Alabama native says he seriously contemplated ditching Hip Hop all together.
“I had tried to get a deal with some rap shit, and everybody was giving me the runaround,” Yelawolf explained. “All these labels were gassing me up but never pulling the trigger. I just felt like, ‘Fuck it, I’m just gonna do whatever I want to do.’”
True to his “Catfish Billy” nickname, Yelawolf embraced a decidedly non-traditional Hip Hop sound. He said he started a band that featured a banjo and a fiddle alongside a set of turntables. After catching wind of Yelawolf’s new, Bluegrass-tinged approach to Hip Hop, his management team asked him to try the more traditional route one more time. The end result was 2010’s critically acclaimed Trunk Muzik mixtape, which was repurposed into a retail offering.
Interestingly enough, one of Yelawolf’s early goals was to have his music heard by Eminem. And after signing with Interscope, Yela was added to the Shady Records roster—effectively knocking out two goals.
“I just feel humbled, but I also feel validated,” Yelawolf added. “When I finally got all my shit together, all my music, it was a hard pill to swallow for a lot of people...I always wanted to meet Marshall and let him hear my shit. I was like, ‘Yo, man, I think that if he heard the shit he would really get it.’ In a sense, man, we’re cut from the same cloth, and it’s almost like country meets city. But there are so many similarities about the steps that I had to take, the steps he had to take in order to get to where he’s at. There are a lot of life similarities that we clicked on.”