Album Review: Yelawolf’s “Radioactive”

This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Southern rap and Southern rock haven’t necessarily been the most obvious of bedfellows. But on the Alabama rapper Yelawolf’s debut studio full-length, he finds an awful lot of kinship in the dirty South’s stylistic exports. “Radioactive” builds on his nimble, more orthodox mix-tape compilation “Trunk Muzik 0-60” for an album that, while scattershot and overstuffed, is a compelling showcase for this very able and charismatic MC.

Yela’s at his best when his venomous, speed-freak flow gets to dominate. The 808 patter of “Let’s Roll” has an unexpectedly soulful chorus from Kid Rock, but the verses tell a convincing tableau of rising from slow-rolling prescription-pill popping to real pride. “Hard White (Up in the Club)” rides a moaning, goth-exotica vocal sample while Yela works between two very raw musical worlds, boasting that “you’ll never see rock ’n’ roll do hip-hop like I did.”


That worlds-collide quality puts “Radioactive” all over the place. Diplo and Boregore continue their dubstep infiltrating chart-rap mission on the wobbly face-melter “Animal,” and “Everything I Love the Most” is essentially a gutbucket blues lament. The record’s too long by a third, but Yela’s smartmouthed, serpentine delivery (and it’s hard not to make Eminem comparisons when Shady executive-produced the record) keeps the thing screwed together.




Two and a half stars (Out of four)

--August Brown


Album Review: Michael Jackson’s ‘Immortal’

Album Review: Drake’s ‘Take Care’

Soundtrack review: ‘Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1'