As I fight through what might be the second food coma of the past two days, I am attempting to write about just how increasingly impressive Yelawolf has been in just the past year. I’m well aware the rapper who sometimes calls himself Catfish Billy has been around for several years, but you would be fooling yourself if you didn’t think he has owned at least a sizable portion of 2010. If you didn’t know him before this year, chances are you learned of his skills when reading basically any site or magazine’s coverage of this year’s SXSW. He was easily the act to write about as he demonstrated his intense onstage skills and blew away critics and industry people across the board.
Personally, what made me want to know more about Yelawolf was that damn “Pop The Trunk” video. To be honest, I had heard snippets of other tracks and seen photographs of him, both of which had me questioning just why so many people were hyped about his music. Yeah, yeah, I know — “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I’ll admit my mistake on passing on him at first because of his looks. I then couldn’t really get past his voice, which at times was just too high-pitched or nasally for my taste. But the more I listened, the more I found it endearing, in its own way. There’s nothing like a distinctive voice and flow. And Yela’s got both of those down pat.
The reason “Pop The Trunk” resonated so strongly with me, though, was the combination of its gritty attitude and storytelling. I felt like I was sitting before this dude from another world as he outlined just why he felt the current situation might lead to a physical and violent altercation. And when that was all mixed together with his sometimes erratic delivery? Forget about it. I was hooked. I instantly grabbed his most recent mixtape, Trunk Muzik, and eagerly anticipated his proper debut upon the news he had signed with Interscope.
While we’re still waiting to hear that project, he has just released an updated version of that mixtape dubbed Trunk Muzik: 0-60 that’s remastered and features new tunes. Most notably, the “album” boasts one of the best, hardest (paws?) opening tracks of the year in the rock-ish, balls-out “Get The Fuck Up”, which is also one of six new cuts. And from there through the self-titled closer, it’s a nonstop onslaught of fiery lyricism dealing with booze, women, cars, Southern traditions, and more over a blend of deep-fried boom-bap, guitars, synthesizers, and thick bass.
It shouldn’t be that surprising that Trunk Muzik: 0-60 is this good considering Yela’s skill level. But considering the current climate of watered-down “major” releases — it is surprising. Sure, this technically isn’t his debut, but the new material on the album shows that Catfish Billy isn’t about to flip the script anytime soon. While the hook to “I Just Wanna Party” is annoying as all hell, the majority of the track — Gucci Mane’s verse included — is very strong. And for a mainstream single, that’s pretty damn refreshing, even if white college chicks are probably going to ruin it for everyone.
Well, that’s about it for now. I’ve included streaming versions of several Yela tracks below for you to enjoy. I hope these encourage you to go out and cop Trunk Muzik: 0-60, which you can easily find for less than $10. Until next time.