Marcus Reviews Yelawolf’s Radioactive

23 Nov

Radioactive (Introduction): Over minimalistic and sparse production featuring only drums and tame synths Yelawolf shows off his unique rap style as he spits flames on this intro track. Does a good job of giving new listeners a taste of what their in for and reminds old listeners why Yelawolf is one of the most promising up and comers in the rap game. (4/5)

Get Away feat Shawty Fatt & Mystikal: Yes you’re reading that right, Mystikal is on this song and he’s rambling as only he can lol. Not much going on in this song as far as substance goes but I’m sure people that are heavy in the Southern Rap scene will appreciate this one. To everyone else though it’s easily skippable. (2.5/5)

Let’s Rock feat Kid Rock: Kid Rock, another artist who hasn’t been relevant in a while, provides a catchy anthem-like chorus (thank god he didn’t rap) for this tribute to Yelawolf’s country roots. Over a energetic rock/rap mash up beat, Yela gives us a tour of sorts of the country lifestyle that he proudly shows off and gives a bit of insight on how the south his impacted him. Judging from the chorus and beat I could definitely see this being one of the mainstream singles off of the album but Yelawolf doesn’t change his style up so that it can appeal to the masses. (3.5/5)

Hard White (Up In The Club) feat Lil Jon: Some of you may have heard this one already since it was the first song to be released off of the album. To put it simply, this song fuckin BANGS. Yelawolf and Lil Jon get ignorant over a bass heavy beat that features a sample of a woman singing what sounds like gibberish on this track that is tailor made for house parties and clubs. I don’t party often but if I was out and this song came on best believe I’d go nuts. (4/5)

Growin’ Up In The Gutter feat Rittz: The best word to describe this song is RAW. Yelawolf and Rittz compare growing up in the gutter to living in hell backed by a tense, slow burning beat which stays minimalistic during the verses only to have frantic electro-rock synths explode out of nowhere as Yelawolf unleashes his inner rocker and gets his screamo on on the chorus. The whole song sounds like what would happen if Trent Reznor randomly decided to make a rap song. One of the best tracks on the album and one of the best examples of how different Yelawolf is from all of the other up and comers in the game currently. My personal favorite track. (5/5)

Throw It Up feat Gangsta Boo & Eminem: Gleefully vulgar and Nonchalantly boastful with a beat that’s so Houston that you’d think this was a UGK or Geto Boys song, it’s another of those tracks that southern rap fans are gonna eat up and others will probably only listen to for Eminem’s verse who, while dropping a hilarious verse (all I have to say is Ugly Boy Swag XD), was kind of out of place on this track if you ask me. Would’ve rather had Em on Growin’ Up In The Gutter but that’s neither here nor there. If you’re a southern rap love then definitely put this on your ipod and swerve up the street. (3.5/5)

Good Girl feat Pooh Bear: And now we’ve come to the point in the album up where the inevitable love song shows up. Pooh Bear provides a simple chorus as Yela raps about not deserving the good girl he has but trying to be the best he can for her. It’s a cute track but a cliche and forgettable one overall. Not appealing or catchy enough to be a successful single and too lighthearted to appeal to Yela’s normal fanbase I’d definitely file this one under “filler”. (2/5)

Made In The U.S.A. feat Priscella Renea: Yelawolf gives a satirical breakdown of life in the good ole U.S. of A and the manufactured dreams that fuel this country. The critics have sung this song’s highest praises and it’s easy to see why as it shows an more intelligent and socially aware side of Yela. The beat and chorus on the song are nothing to write home about (which kinda hurt it’s replay value) but the lyrical content and subject matter alone make this one of the strongest tracks on the album. (4.5/5)

Animal feat Fefe Dobson: Coming through with the oddest/most unexpected feature on the album; pop-rock singer, Fefe Dobson, sings the chorus on this synth-heavy Diplo produced electro-rap track that his Yela rapping in full double time and shows off the southern wit that his fans have grown to love. This one is not for the hip-hop heads in the least bit but I could see the pop crowd liking this one and could be a possible single in the future. Overall it’s a fun little track that’s catchy enough to not be considered filler. (3/5)

The Hardest Love Song In The World: The second love song on the album but the only one to get it right. Over a soulful beat Yela raps about a Bonnie and Clyde-esque relationship with a southern girl while an unnamed singer croons on the chorus. Lyrically this song comes off sounding much more genuine and natural than Good Girl and it’s more catchy overall. It’s a sweet song with a brilliant title that would definitely do well as a single if he decided to release it as one. (3.5/5)

Write Your Name feat Mona Mona: First thing I noticed about this song is that beat is almost exactly the same as the one on Aston Martin Music by Rick Ross but with a piano added in there. Makes it seem like J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League bullshitted with this beat. But anyway, Yelawolf tries his hand at inspirational music on this track as he raps about there being a star in all of us. I won’t lie, this track’s kinda corny (especially the chorus) and with the half assed beat backing it I can’t help but label this as skippable. (2/5)

Everything I Love The Most: Just in case you forgot that Yelawolf is a proud redneck from Alabama he aims to remind you on this song as he gets his country rap on. The chorus on this song sounds right out of your typical country song as Yela melodically asks “Why is everything I love the most so wrong for me?”. As someone who’s not really into country I can’t honestly say I’m into this one but I’m sure there are people who’d dig it. If anything you definitely can’t say that Yelawolf isn’t proud of where he comes from and that’s admirable. (2.5/5)

Radio: In the same way that he did on Made In The U.S.A., Yelawolf breaks down how the internet killed radio and music video stations. He drops alot of truth on this song and I’d probably like it more if the music backing it wasn’t so generic and the chorus (which I think he sung himself) wasn’t so weak. It’s a great idea/message that’s waste on a lackluster song. (2.5/5)

Slumerican Shitizen feat Killer Mike: Yelawolf goes all punk rock on our asses as he openly embraces the way society views his hillbilly lifestyle and dubs himself a Slumerican Shitizen (which I’m sure will catch on) while Killer Mike drops a verse about how the lower class gets dicked by the government. While you definitely hear Yelawolf’s rock influences throughout the album this is probably the closest we get to a full on rock song. It’s Yelawolf at his most rebellious and you can’t help but love the way the guy is so sure of himself. One of the stronger tracks on the album. (4/5)

The Last Song: As the album draws to a close we’re treated to the most personal song on it as a reflective Yelawolf talks about his strained relationship with his father and how due to the absence of his father he was forced to grow into a man at a young age to take care of his mother with nothing but a piano and light beatboxing as the backdrop. It’s impossible not to appreciate the heartfelt honesty on this track and I think that it was smart to place at the end of the album so that just when you think you’ve figured this guy out, BAM he gives you some more to learn. Another one of the stronger tracks on the album. (5/5)

Yelawolf is known for being one of the most polarizing up and comers in the rap game due to his southern roots. The general consensus with him is either that people love him or they hate him, there’s really no middle ground in his case and after listening to this album I doubt it will do anything to change that. Yelawolf’s pride in his southern background/hillbilly lifestyle is a constant theme throughout this album and while some people, like myself, will find it endearing and embrace it along with him others will be turned off by it and move along. Because the album has such a consistent theme it’s biggest weakness appears in the form of attempts to be commercial. The second half of the album much weaker and scattered than the first because of this. Most of the more “pop” sounding songs on the album are lackluster, a bit halfassed and ultimately end up feeling out of place in the overall scheme of the album. When Yelawolf is in his natural habitat though, he shines marvelously. Yelawolf such an intriguing emcee and shows his depth/versatility multiple times throughout Radioactive. He can be charming and witty on one track, satirical and self aware on another and then raw, vulgar and rambunctious on the next one. There are even moments when he’s all of them on the same song! What truly makes Yelawolf unique though is his oft mentioned Alabama roots. He shows them off so proudly throughout the album that you can’t help but appreciate it and his pride serves as the defining trait of Yelawolf as an artist (his schtick if you will). He’s a hillbilly, a skater, a rockstar and a dope emcee all rolled into one polarizing but extremely interesting character. While flawed, uneven and doesn’t really have a strong replay value, Radioactive is a solid debut album and provides us with a good analysis of not just Yelawolf the artist but the man behind the artist. I for one am anxious to hear what’s next.

Lyrics: 4.5/5

Production: 3.5/5

Replay Value: 2.5/5

Overall: 3.5/5

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