Eminem wasn't the first-ever white rapper, but when Slim Shady kicked in hip-hop's doors in 1999, he was still an anomaly. In 2011, Yelawolf doesn't have quite the same difficulty, as the white rapper stigma, for the most part, has subsided. It's a topic that Em and Yela discuss in the December/January issue of Vibe magazine.
In the magazine's cover story, Eminem tells veteran writer Erik Parker that he and Wolf, who Em signed to Shady Records earlier this year, hardly consider race while in the studio. "We make jokes about it, but I don't think we talk about it in depth," he said. "As I was listening to his music, I am not even thinking about any of that sh--. It's just the music. That's one of the things that's great about it. I'm not even thinking about it when I hear the music."
They did make light of it in the studio, however. "We do poke fun of it because it's funny. Like, he calls me White Dog," Yela said.
"Yeah, or Beige Sheep," Em joked.
Growing up in Alabama, Yela learned a lot about race relations, especially as it pertains to hip-hop culture. And while a rapper like Kreayshawn affiliate V-Nasty may feel comfortable dropping the N-word, Wolf insists that that is a no-no. "[In Alabama] we have a dark history concerning the relationship between black and white people. I'm not a role model by any means, but if I said it around the house, I got popped in the mouth," he said.
Eminem insists that race is secondary to music. "We deal with it enough as it is. So now, let's make music," Eminem said.
"Let's make great records. At the end of the day, that's all there is to do," Yela, whose debut album, Radioactive, hits shelves November 21, added.
When the topic of drugs came up, a clean and sober Em joked that he recently shot heroin, making light of a situation that he had previously taken so seriously. That opened the door for Yela to talk about his own experience with narcotics.
"I started smoking weed at 11. By 12, I was smoking dust. Thirteen, acid, Freon, Special K, mushrooms; 16 years old, I was selling X pills at school. Not even because I was a good dope boy, but because I was a scumbag," the tatted-up rapper revealed. "It was called chocolate chip, and it had heroin in it. I used to take that sh-- and go to class. I went so heavy into drugs that I had a bad trip one time that lasted for months."
The December/January issue of Vibe magazine hits newsstands nationwide on December 6.