Fierce is the vibe we got from Michael Wayne Atha, or better known as Yelawolf, and in the era of artists’ honesty he’s one of the bunch who isn’t apologetic of what he thinks and where he came from. Yelawolf’s upbringing around Baton Rouge, Franklin, TN, Nashville, Atlanta and Gadsden exposed him to the hip hop scene, resulting in his high appreciation to the music genre.
His influence is a mix of legendary artists such as Snoop Dogg, Three 6 Mafia, N.W.A., Ice Cube, Souls of Mischief, Digable Planets, UGK, Skinny Pimp, Nappyhead and Goldteeth. It was when he lived in Antioch, TN around 1993, and Yelawolf has been writing his rap since. Yelawolf told a story about his rapping journey, from where it was deemed ‘inappropriate’:
“I actually got suspended for my first rap there too (Antioch). I was going to this school called Carter Lawrence in downtown Nashville. I started writing this one particular rap and my boy was like ‘let me get a copy of that’ and I was in the principal’s office making copies…please don’t ask me why, but I wanted to give people a copy. While I was in the office the principal was like, let me see that and he snatched it up and it was a bunch of profanity in it because I was just basically at that point obviously emulating all of my favorite rappers, so he suspended me and called my mom to come and get me. My mom came up there and pitched a bitch. She was like, ‘how dare you try to stifle his creativity. Look at the s*it he’s dealt with everyday, you can’t suspend him for writing this.’ She got me back in school and after that, I knew my mom had my back on it. She kinda showed a sign of believing in me and that I was onto something. After that, I just kept writing and I’ve always been a writer.”
The experience only forced Yelawolf to perfect his writing and after moving back home to Gadsden, he teamed up with Jeremy “J Dot” Jones. Their guerilla move of giving out CDs in the Atlantis Music Conference in Atlanta back in 2007 wowed industry insiders Courtney “Bear” Sills and Kawan Prather (KP).
Before he knew it, Yelawolf was signed by Columbia/Ghet-O-Vision Entertainment. But it wasn’t long before the deal went kaput and Yelawolf left Columbia after dropping some mixtapes including Slick Rick and Bobby, Stereo and now Trunk Muzik and also an EP titled Arena Rap in the lineup. Kicking off 2010, he’s signed with Interscope and is now in the works of getting his upcoming debut album ready.
After years and years of figuring out what to say and how to say it, Yelawolf finally reached the stage where he could just be himself. With all the attitude oozing from him, there’s only one thing left to do: get his style. Since he’s one of DrJays’ Summer Sensations, it’s not hard to do.