Yelawolf stopped by the HipHopDX offices in Hollywood for an interview about his nearly 15-year career. During the conversation, he discussed how he needed to leave his hometown in order to truly find his place in Hip Hop.
He described in detail some of his early shows with Rittz, B.o.B. and Big K.R.I.T. At one show in particular, Yelawolf remembers a wild sequence of events happening that included singer Fantasia twerking on stage while he was performing and Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled and music business veteran L.A. Reid watching from the side stage.
“I remember this one show and there was about 1,500 to 2000 kids,” he says. “It was a sold out show. Fantasia from American Idol jumped on stage and started twerking. I had hair down to my waist. Lil Wayne was there, DJ Khaled was there, L.A. Reid was there… The show was just crazy.”
After that performance, Yelawolf was told the labels didn’t know how to proceed with his music.
“After the show, the word I got back was this is dope, but they didn’t know what to do with it,” he said. “They were like, ‘This is cool, but what the fuck is this?'”
Yelawolf details one moment in particular with Reid that helped define his career. Reid had asked Yelawolf to rap in front of his entire office when the two were in talks about a record deal, but he refused.
“The story to me is the most important part … I had already rapped in front of people in their offices before,” he said. “That shit never got me no record deal … It was a Thursday, I was performing the next day, a Friday at a sold out show at the Fillmore, opening up for Raekwon.
“If anybody in that building or L.A. Reid wanted to see me perform, they could come to that show. I wasn’t about to rap in their office. ‘Are we doing the deal or not? No, we’re not doing the deal? Alright peace.'”
He continued by saying his manager wasn’t as impressed with the decision when they got in the elevator.
Shortly after that moment, Yelawolf wrote what he calls his most “meaningful verse ever” on a Waffle House napkin. The next time he was in Reid’s office, he recited the lyrics he had written after their previous encounter, which made Reid tear up.
Elsewhere in the interview, he provides some exclusive stories about Eminem, Machine Gun Kelly and more.
Watch DX’s full interview with Yelawolf above.