Part of the appeal of certain rappers is their voice’s ability to embody the region they represent. Listen to two words out of Ghostface Killah’s mouth and you’re instantly transported to a grimy bodega in New York. Juvenile took us to the murky swamps of the bayou. And Alabama’s Yelawolf, compliments of his Southern twang and white-trash swag, grabs his skateboard and takes us on a tour of the trailer park. It’s hot. Everybody’s wearing wife-beaters and jeans. There are a lot of raised Chevys on 24s that are painted in some of the most garish tones of candy paint known to man. Somebody even handed me some Nyquil, Sprite, and Dum-Dums!
But in all seriousness, Yelawolf has been a name on everyone’s tongue during 2010, getting co-signs from true-schoolers like Bun B, Raekwon, and Big Boi to critically-reviled yet commercially-successful rappers Gucci Mane (brrr!) and Waka Flocka Flame. His Trunk Muzik mixtape was so well-received he took some songs from it, packaged it with some new material, and took it to the next level, the retail mixtape, with Trunk Muzik 0-60. The first track, “Get the Fuck Up” is heavy on the rock music and it brings back memories of Kid Rock during the Devil Without a Cause days, before he found out he was a country music star. Following that is “Daddy’s Lambo”, which is what we came for: a knocking beat courtesy of Drama Beats, Yelawolf’s rapid-fire delivery, and a damn catchy hook. That’s the winning formula for this mixtape, except WillPower handles the production for three-fourths of the tape. While the familiar rap topics are covered, (cars, vehicles, women) Yelawolf mixes in storytelling, partying, violence, love, and his role in hip-hop in regards to him looking more Travis Barker than MC Whoever. For every slapper like “That’s What We On Now”, there’s a thoughtful track like “I Wish”.
Trunk Muzik 0-60 is aptly titled, as WillPower keeps the bass all the way turnt (sic) up and begs to played in your car. “That’s What We On Now” almost certainly served as inspiration for the production on the Bomb Zombies EP. But WillPower also throws in some cruising music in the mellowed-out “Box Chevy”. Some of the production is blatantly Southern, with “Good to Go” as an example of something that sounds like a recycled beat that you’ve sworn you’ve heard another Southern rapper spit over. The rock tracks “Marijuana” and “Get the Fuck Up” are decent, but the screaming of “MARIJUANAAAAAAAAAA” throughout the hook gets tiresome. But excluding the rock tracks, Trunk Muzik 0-60 is a solid release and should generate even more good things for Yela in 2011, namely a debut album that we’re already longing for.