Yelawolf is a very talented rapper from Alabama. Rather than ask him to tell his story again, I recently talked to him about his taste and influences in rap music for the first installment in a new series here called TALKS ABOUT RAP. This interview was conducted several months ago when Yela was in DC on the Deal Or No Deal with Wiz Khalifa. Both him and Wiz have deals now. Make of that what you will. Yela’s Trunk Muzik: 0-60 is in stores today.
What was your first encounter with rap music?
The first rap shit I ever heard was [the Beastie Boys'] “Paul Revere,” that was the first time I ever heard that 808 sound. I didn’t know it was hip hop or rap, I was in Alabama at the time, off in the woods. My mom was dating a dude who was on tour and he brought back some Run DMC and some Beastie Boys shit. So the first time I heard the 808 sound was “Paul Revere” and I was blown away by it. I remember how it felt when I heard it, I just fell in love with the sound. I didn’t even know how to define it at the time. I didn’t learn how to define hip hop until years later. There wasn’t no urban radio in Alabama back in the day. Shit, it’s still hurting now. The hip hop scene is more like in Hustle & Flow – dope boys, Chevies, just Country Rap Tunes as Pimp C would say, rest in peace. It’s sparse out there. If you’re up on some shit you’re really dolo. I got into skateboarding early and I was hearing Souls Of Mischief and Black Moon and Mobb Deep [on skate videos]. And at the same time I was hearing Three 6 Mafia, Skinny Pimp, all these locals from Tennessee and then UGK, MJG and Eightball, Outkast. So I was getting a wealth of Southern music, along with the bass music that came through like Magic Mike all that big speaker shit. It was just blending all that shit as I grew into knowing who I was. (more…)