"Hottest Breakthrough MCs of 2010" Candidate: Yelawolf
Yelawolf just had a show in his hometown of Gadsden, Alabama, and was so moved by what he saw, he was at a loss for words. Luckily, he had rhymes instead.
"You had these white boys with these big-ass trucks with mud all over them," he recalled. "D-boys from the North Side projects rolling up on dunks. You had dune buggies, bikes. It was everything I've been saying coming to form."
Wolf has been toiling underground for years, signing with legendary record exec Kawan "KP" Prather in 2007. He went through getting dropped by Sony Records and being snubbed by Def Jam only to heat up so large, Interscope Records picked him up earlier this year. Wolf's energetic live shows and his performance style — which fuses hip-hop and rock — set him apart. Of late, he's gotten a major co-sign from Big Boi, appearing on the Andre 3000-produced Sir Lucious Left Foot track "You Ain't No DJ."
"That was actually my debut feature on a distributed project with a major artist," said Wolf, who has been on independent projects for Juelz Santana and Slim Thug. "That sh-- is jamming. As soon as I found out, I was rubbing my hands together as to when I could work with Outkast. I've been with KP since '07, waiting on that moment."
On his upcoming debut, Trunk Muzik: 0-60, Yela got a chance to work with another ATL superstar: Gucci Mane.
"I wanted to take advantage of the moment," he explained of working with Gucci on the yet-untitled track. "I was like, 'Let's go do an intro together. Let's go intro this bitch and vibe out like MCs. Let's do this bitch.' That's what we did. Gucci's rock and roll, balls-to-the-wall hip-hop. Straight Southern b-boy rap sh--. I've always been a fan of Gucci's style. I was a huge Crunchy Black fan. Even like the Nutcracker from Group Home, Shawty Lo. Very broken-down, simple rap style. I was excited to have him. It made the record. The record was already crazy; he just took it to that next level."
Wolf's Trunk Muzik: 0-60 is an enhancement of his mixtape Trunk Muzik.
"We picked the 0-60 title because, for one, we didn't want to alienate any of the new fans we were making," he described. "We felt it was too soon to step outside of anywhere we were. With Trunk Muzik, we created a sound and feeling we didn't want to move from. We called it Trunk Muzik: 0-60 because it represents how fast we been moving since we been doing these shows and got a deal with Interscope. Everything is moving. We wanted to mirror that with the music. Picking five of the fan favorites from Trunk Muzik and putting on seven new ones.
"I'm never scared what people are gonna think about music that I make," Yela added. "I just go in there and make music that sounds good to me. And it sounds good to my crew. I just trust my crew. If it leaves the studio and we're happy with it, that's what matters the most to us. Because if we're happy with it, then I can perform it. As long as I can perform that record, I can translate the energy I need to get somebody to understand it. I've worked so hard to get to this moment. I'm just soaking it up, taking it day by day, trying not to let it go to my head. I just love my fans and the fans I'm making. My fans are like no other. Completely original people."
Yelawolf and 19 other up-and-coming MCs are in the running to become MTV News' "Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010" — and the winner will be decided by you!
Cast your vote for the "Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010" right here. The top five will be revealed beginning July 19, and the winner will be announced on the "Sucker Free Summit" July 25!