Most skilled rappers can be separated into two groups: Those who can form a great hook, and those who can make great verses. The latter usually end up being great backpackers, like Jean Grey and Masta Ace. The former end up with major label deals, like Chingy or Nelly. Rarely, you find someone with the skills to build great verses and hooks. Every rarer, there is the true master of the genre, someone who can blend the two together and have fun while doing it.
Yelawolf is such a man.
So why ain’tcha hearda him?
Yela is a Southern (Alabama) white MC who got signed to, and dropped by, Sony/BMG when was featured on, and dropped by, “The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliot.” It’s probably only a matter of time before he’s signed again, but until that time, he’s indie.
His first and only album was indie, titled, Creekwater, and you can score it from CD BABY. Below are a couple mixtape tracks to enjoy. The first, Shake N Bake, is a party cut. My Box Chevy is a masterpiece–it begins with Yela talking to, and in the voice of, his Chevrolet. The version on the mp3 is superior to the version used in the video, also below, because it shows how free and fun Yelawolf can be when he’s allowed to do his thing. The video mainstreams his sound, making it dark and, frankly, far less interesting. This is what happens sometimes when artists let commercial instincts drive artistic endeavors.
Anyway, I’m recommending Yela highly. If you can find his “Ball Of Flames (The Ballad Of Slick Rick E. Bobby)” mixtape anywhere, it’s worth digging for. There’s a great take off of “Boyz N Da Hood” called “Boyz N Da Woodz.” And the two songs below are from it, too. (There’s a chance you can find it here. But don’t tell anyone.)
* UPDATE *
Sad news: Duck Down records, home of Buckshot, Sean Price, and all the other Boot Camp Clickers, has joined the RIAA. I have excised their artists from my best of 2008 list, and I expect to be receiving DCMA notices based on my past writings about the bands because, apparently, the RIAA/IFPI don’t even want us to write about their artists. (Several Bloggers have told me they got takedowns for posts without mp3s!)