Yelawolf Talks Dealing With Hecklers, Thought Process Behind "Trunk Muzik"

Exclusive: The Alabama emcee explains the difference between being a lyricist and a songwriter and how Eminem is the best example of both.

It’s difficult to find another genre of music as inherently competitive as Hip Hop. From deejay battles to B-Boy battles to Beatboxing Championships to graffiti, each element comes complete with it’s own sport-like display of skills. The same is consistent with emceeing, and as the genre continues to mature, that competitive spirit has further ingrained itself into quality songwriting. “When I made Trunk Muzik, I felt like I had to prove my worth being here as a rapper because I had never really went hard because ultimately I’m a songwriter,” Yelawolf told HipHopDX at the 4th Annual Roots Picnic in Philadelphia’s Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing.

“Being an emcee and wordplay is just a perk to practicing for so many years. But the point to me is to make a good song. I’m pretty strange as far as the music that I listen to. I could be listening to James Taylor. I could be listening to Crunchy Black or I could be listening to Nas. You’re more interested in the artist not his lyrical ability. That’s nerdy, you know. Who cares? I don’t care if a rapper can flip a 100,000 words. It’s impressive but it’s also boring at times. It’s like, ‘That’s cool, man. But your song sucks.’ It’s a balance, yo.”

Following his breakout year in 2010 and the success of Trunk Muzik, The Gladsen, Alabama native inked a deal with Eminem’s Shady Records in 2011. Eminem’s origins in Detroit’s battle scene has been widely documented, most notably through the movie loosely based on his life, 8 Mile. “[Eminem] had that perfect balance,” Yelawolf said. “He’s ultimately the best example of an emcee who comes from the battle world who is able to make good songs and has skills. That’s not an easy thing to do. I just like making great songs. And on my project, Radioactive that’s coming out, we’re going to set an example of what people can expect from me for years to come.”

Similarly to Eminem, Yelawolf overcame racial hurdles on his way to national recognition. “Dealing with hecklers will turn you into a beast,” he says.

“As a white rapper, fuck man, and especially the way I step up there, the way I look and where I’m from and the shit I talk about -- I had to be ready to fight. That helped my show. It also helped my show to have a band. I had a band for a while in [Atlanta] and people used to show up to our shows in helmets because it got that rowdy. So I took a piece of that and project that Rock & Roll energy through Hip Hop live.

Yelawolf also commented on what he appreciates most about Hip Hop. "The dopest part about Hip Hop is that it can come from anywhere on the planet,” he said. “It's not like any other music. It's not. You can't really go to Japan and get real good Country Music. But you can go to Japan and get real good Hip Hop all day. Or Australia or even Alabama. Hip Hop is however you choose to brand it. That's the beauty of it all. Hip Hop can be anything. You can use a sitar from India to make a beat or you can use a banjo -- it's still going to be Hip-Hop. But you can't do that with other music. You can't."

Yelawolf performed at the 4th Annual Roots Picnic along with Little Dragon, Esperanza Spalding, Wiz Khalifa and headliner, Nas.

His upcoming album, Radioactive will be released through Gheto-Vision/Shady/Interscope. 

Purchase Music by Yelawolf

RELATED: "Daddy's Lambo" by Yelawolf [Video]


  • Anonymous

    yelawolf puts on the best show ever thats why his album trunk music 0-60 is still on the charts with no promtion the boy rips his shows and people go out and pick up his album i think yela will be a big part in saving hip hop

  • Ido Benji Efraim

    WOLFPACK all day!

  • tricia

    yela got dat long aryan face,jet black mohawak,blue eyes i aint gonna lie um um um but the whiteboycangetit#

  • jojo

    i met yelawolf but i accidently called him travis barker. i'm a big blink 182 fan and i didn't really know about yelawolf. after i shook his hand and got dissed by his security i downloaded all of his material. this guy is going to be an all time great. he raps for the country boys who get beat on by they daddies like me! love it!

  • ShystyOne

    Lyrics first but I agree with Yela, you can have all the dynamic lyrincs in the world but its still gotta makes sense and tell a story/entertain.


    you want a story go read a book music bout havin fun yall taking this shit way to fucking serious with this shit

    • Yep

      Real talk. Joe's sittin on some Waka Flaka dick. People better wake up and smell the indonesia. Hip Hop is alive via artists like Tech N9ne, Yela, Lupe, Thurz, People Under The Stairs, etc. You Should Rosco Dash-into oncoming traffic. That or go listen and re-interpret "It Ain't Hard To Tell" from Nasir Jones.

    • anonymous

      your a fucking dumbass for thinking that. ur prob 1 of them gucci or brick squad listeners rite? hip hop sux now adays except for a few good ppl keeping it alive and its all because of that exact attitude.


      my hiphop fine yall got the damn problems

    • Anonymous

      thats why hip hop sucks now. attitudes like that.

    • Doug Nichols

      ^ It's ignorant people like this that made Lil Wayne a superstar.

  • jack

    i like yelawolf but i dont agree with the statement he made "You’re more interested in the artist not his lyrical ability. That’s nerdy, you know. Who cares? I don’t care if a rapper can flip a 100,000 words. It’s impressive but it’s also boring at times. It’s like, ‘That’s cool, man. But your song sucks." what gets e into a song is the persons lyrical capability. you can be talking about takin a shit for all i care but as long as ur kickin creative metaphors and original wordplay ill listen all day. like eminem for example. some of his best songs, to me, are the ones where he's just rhyming for the sake of rhyming without any real concern of whether some of the shyt he says is appropriate or catchy. u could tell when a person really has a passion for rhyming when they can go on and on and on no hook no gimmicky subject matter. just bein an emcee. but hey thats just my personal opinion.

  • Rachael Misek

    When I saw Yelawolf in Madison, the whole mosh pit fell on itself, there were girls screaming and guys were like piled on each other. They took this big fat bouncer down with them. It was very entertaining. :) But the best part was watching him perform :)

  • Mr.Woodall

    yelawolf is an amazing artisit. I slept on him when he first popped trunk cause he looked crazy! But the first track I heard him on was with Big Boi and dawg I was just in awe!!! Dudes got a bright future!!

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