A combination of Classic Rock and throwback Southern Hip Hop, Alabama-based rapper YelaWolf has taken the internet by storm this year. From performing with artists like Big Boi and Raekwon to appearing on tracks alongside Slim Thug and Juelz Santana YelaWolf has definitely made his mark in 2009. And come 2010 he plans on introducing the world to his music once his mixtape Trunk Muzik drops on January 1.
Prior to his show with Raekwon in New York City, YelaWolf shared with DXnext his musical inspirations, why skateboarding is the fifth element, the influence of his Southern roots on his music, and much more.
The Sound: “The easiest way for people to understand it without hearing it is like a mix between Lynyrd Skynyrd and OutKast. It just depends on where I’m at with the music at the particular time. If it’s a Rock track, then obviously it’s gonna push me in that direction. But if it’s like some straight Rap shit like ‘Good To Go’ then it is what it is.”
The Inspiration: “I’m inspired by [Raekwon] of course among hundreds of other artists. I was influenced heavily by Classic Rock when I was growing up. When I was a kid, I grew up around it. A lot of Classic Rock melodies influenced my music and my style. And the hardcore early southern Hip Hop scene that I grew up on. Specifically Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Journey, Fleetwood Mac, just to name a few - [Jimi] Hendrix obviously. On the Hip Hop side, my first taste was Run-DMC, The Beastie Boys, N.W.A., Triple 6 Mafia, UGK. Speaking of UGK, I got a record with Bun B which as equally as exciting as getting on a record with Rae.”
A Week Is All It Takes: “Trunk Muzik was all recorded in a week - written and produced. We set up a room in the back of my house and wrote and produced Trunk Muzik entirely. And then with the exception of 'I Wish' , which was already recorded and ‘Fuck You,’ which we’re putting on there. We just created it from the jump. Nobody was rushing me to do it. It was for no other reason then ‘can we do a dope mixtape in a week?’ Spending tireless time in the studio. We pulled it off. We just challenged ourselves. To do a dope project quickly.”
Home Is Where The Music Lives: “I derive all my inspiration from life experiences so it a 100% influences my music. My music sounds like my home. The shit that I say and what I talk about you can see physically if you drive through my town. I’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of years figuring out how to do that specifically. I really wanna bring people to my world so yeah, I would say that my state, my town, my culture has heavily influenced my music. It is my music.”
Overcoming Adversity: “I face challenges because of who I am you know, not white boy. I face those challenges obviously, but I’m just saying I face challenges because of the type of music that I chose to do. And I’m not saying Hip Hop. I’m saying the type of Hip Hop that I chose to do. I think they’re taken by it because of the content, the style. They’ve never heard anything like it. It hits people in different ways. Some people become attached to it instantly. Some people it takes a minute.”
The Fifth Element: “For me it [skateboarding] was the main outlet that I got all underground Hip Hop. Everything I know about underground Hip Hop came from skateboard videos. All of the street knowledge that I have comes from me skating on the streets and being in the streets. Spending day and night for years on the streets with my skateboard and my crew listening to Hip Hop. Living the life. And not every skateboarder likes Hip Hop. There’s a lot of skateboarders that don’t give a fuck about Hip Hop. There’s a lot of graffiti writers that don’t give a fuck about Hip Hop either. You know what I’m saying? It’s an element. It just is. It pops up in pop culture now and like after it became popular in Hip Hop I said that a long, long time ago. It’s showing. Everybody who knows Hip Hop knows that. Like for real, if you know your shit you know that.”
New Music, New Year: “I remixed ‘I Wish,’ I’ve been working on that. I did a mixtape record for SMKA. [It's] pretty dope, wrapping up little skits and what not for Trunk Muzik. You know, working on the mix. I had my homie call in from Alabama Correctional, he dropped a verse yesterday. And then we last minute remixed ‘Stage Lights’ a record off Arena Rap and Malay took the beat to fit Trunk Muzik and it came out stupid. That’s another jewel we’re gonna add to Trunk Muzik.”
One Goal For The New Year: “I just want everybody in the world to hear Trunk Muzik in 2010. That is my goal. That’s the main goal and I don’t see it impossible either. With the Internet and what’s happening right now I think that it’s a possibility. We’re gonna work hard in 2010.