[Interview] Yelawolf Speaks On New Music and Setbacks
Yelawolf celebrated July 4th by releasing a new mixtape (Heart of Dixie) as well as a self-directed extended video for his song “Growing Up In The Gutter” off of his Interscope debut LP, Radioactive. The new material from Yelawolf comes at time that is also somewhat of a comeback. After breaking out in 2010, and cementing his spot a top Hip Hop’s best new artists in 2011, Yelawolf has had to deal with physical as well as music-related setbacks thus far in 2012. Earlier this spring Yelawolf suffered a serious spleen injury, which made him cancel several show dates and held up the creation of a new full-length project. Calling in from California, Yelawolf told me this afternoon that he is now fully back in the swing of things, creating and releasing music similar to the way he did it before signing with a major label.
“I had a lot of pent up creative shit that I wanted to get off. After Radioactive dropped I just felt like I needed to work. After I got hurt my plans for making my next album got all fucked up. I missed a bunch of shows and I had to get back on the road and make up my shows, so it cut into my time for making my next album,” Yelawolf said about the early motivation for his recently released Heart of Dixie mixtape with DJ Frank White and producer M16. Needing to get back to work, Yelawolf purchased a home studio, and set up a full recording rig on the back of his tour bus. Frank White, a fellow native of Alabama, reached out to Yelawolf with production from M16 and a request for one song that White would use on a forthcoming mixtape. That one record turned into a full project, as Yelawolf told me that M16′s production, “drove me right to the paper.”
Beyond his injury, Yelawolf had some of his momentum thrown off by being a part of a corporate structure. “This past year with Radioactive and everything I’ve been dealing with has just been so… just a fucking nightmare, man. It’s like I had so much fucking going and then I stepped into this fucking corporate bullshit world and it just derailed my whole speed. It kind of just like threw me off, just having to deal with people I’d never met before, people who don’t know about my music, people who don’t know about shit, basically. I just really had to focus on what it is that really was important to me,” he said.
Yelawolf decided to release the video for “Gutter” on his own after seven months of delays and hold ups. He released it via his own website (theloserswinagain.com). Yelawolf wrote, directed, and funded the entire project, further illustrating his return to the DIY mindset that initially led to his success.
“I just think that there were a couple pieces within the puzzle that had to get worked out. Unfortunately I suffered from other people’s lack of communication I believe, and I’m talking about within a corporate world. I just had to finally buck and say, ‘this is what the fuck I’m gonna do.’ And that’s just what I’m doing. I’m back to ground zero. That’s just the way I’m approaching music.”
Yelawolf will soon be releasing Psycho White, a 5-song EP that he created with Travis Barker. Following Psycho White, Yelawolf will drop Trunk Muzik Returns, which will see him once again collaborate with Will Power. He is also going to start soon on Country Cousins with Big K.R.I.T., and then hopefully we’ll see his sophomore release on Eminem’s Shady Records. He made it clear during the interview that his relationship with Shady records is very healthy, and referred to Eminem as something like a big brother. It’s the people outside of Shady and in the bigger picture that have slowed things down for Yelawolf and his team. Yelawolf made it to this point via hard work and a strong DIY attitude, leading into his sophomore album, it’s DIY time now more than ever for Cat Fish Billy and co.