“Me and Marshall Mathers both have an album coming out later this year,” Yelawolf said in the middle of the show Saturday night. “We’re like y’all; we don’t quit.”
After initially hearing this I thought, “Yela and Shady are going to do an album together?!” But upon further reflection, I’m pretty sure he meant separate. Although, Yelawolf and Big K.R.I.T. are supposedly still working on the joint album, Country Cousins, so I’m hoping that’ll still drop. I trust K.R.I.T. (I also understand the locking-oneself-in work ethic described below. That’s exactly how I’m writing this).
Show reviews are often chided in the industry as being damn near useless (it’s over, who gives a shit?), but it’s a revelation like this one that, to me at least, make them worth it.
It got me all excited, musically of course.
Watch Yelawolf’s live performance of “Trunk Muzik” at The Blue Note below:
The evening got off to a somewhat slow start. I still have absolutely no idea who the first opening rap group was. But I do remember that they were loud, although I couldn’t make out a single word they said.
The second group, Red Shirt Freshmen, rapped about being “red shirt famous,” although I’d never actually heard of them before. They also evidently wanted to fuck my girlfriend. To paraphrase: “Your girl say she got a boyfriend/I say that shit don’t matter.” This was news to me, and admittedly had me somewhat on the defensive since, ignorant of this core knowledge, I had unwittingly brought her with me. “If I’d had only known!” I thought to myself. But they did have a giant red Tellytubby dance on stage. So all is well that ends with a giant, red tellytubby dancing on stage. (Edit: I just learned what a red shirt freshman is, so to their credit, perhaps I’m not their target demographic).
When Yelawolf finally hit the stage, rapping out from under a cowboy hat and glasses, his level of talent was rather obvious. He spit out lines rapid fire in his characteristic, Alabama machine-gun-syncopated flow. And some of the songs had concepts beyond getting money, getting famous, and fucking my girlfriend.
“Catfish Billy,” off his 2013 mixtape, Trunk Muzik Returns, was an early, energetic number. A nailed live version of “Trunk Muzik” is embedded above. And he dedicated “Daddy’s Lambo” to the fans that have been following him for the past three or four years.
“I do this for you all,” he said. “I know every artist says that, but I never have until this tour. Y’all have been following me for the past few, maybe three or four years, and you get and support what I’m about. You’re what I do this for.”
He also rocked “Growin’ Up in the Gutter,” another one of my personal favorites with apocalyptic levels of bass-heaviness, as well as the aptly titled club banger with Lil Jon, “Up in the Club.”
Another point worth noting: Midway through the show, Yela pulled out a confederate flag and told the crowd: “Look around you, we got all types of people in here. Don’t you ever think that I wave this flag because I’m some fucking racist. I’m just reppin’ Alabama. And I love everybody.”
So why did he say this? Well, in the lieu of Lord Jamar‘s recent comments about white rappers being “guests in the house of hip-hop” (and Jamar violently threatening Yelawolf in particular on Twitter), Yelawolf being one of the most revered of these “guests” I can think of (along with the go-to argument, Yela’s boss, Marshall), and the fact that Yela publicly invited Jamar to all of his shows after Jamar’s recent comments.
No encore though, Yela was off to the next show post-haste. Although I did get to watch a larger, gauged-ear punk drunkenly throw a swing at a dude a few inches in front of my face on the way out. This solidified the redneck, hip-hop lane Yelawolf has made for himself. I walked away feeling a little more like the slum of an American that I am because of this—exactly what I wanted from a Bud-gulping, Jack Daniels’ swilling Yela show. And I got just that. Lookin’ forward to those two Shady records releases this year, boys.