Yelawolf Talks Working With Big Boi, Linking With Big K.R.I.T. and the Small Town Struggle (Pg. 2)

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Mikey Fresh / August 5, 2010

André [3000] produced the record, so I secretly consider it an OutKast record [Laughs]. Me and Big vibed out a couple of times in the studio but we didn’t actually lay our verses in the same night. Originally, Big Boi said he had a rock record that he wanted me to get on. And I straight up told him “I don’t want to do a rock record with you, I want to do some hip-hop shit.” So he started playing some beats, and when I heard “You Ain’t No DJ” I told him that was the one. But he was like [In Big Boi impersonation] “Nah, Shawty that’s for the album. You can’t touch that.” But I convinced him to send me the instrumental, and I just spazzed on it—turned in like a 64-bar verse. So what you’re actually hearing on the record is just parts of my verse. We took like a 16- and an 8-bar snippet. I thought, fuck it, just go for it maybe he’ll match me on some verses. And I think Andre heard it and told him he should go back and fourth with me on the record. But Big wanted it to be more like a song—sounds way better this way.

Also the remix for “Hometown Heroes” you did with Big K.R.I.T. sparked talks of collaborative mixtape. How did you guys link up?

My manager, J.Dot put me on to K.R.I.T., and he never ever hands me anyone’s mixtape. On the real, never and I been with him for five years.  After the first listen, I couldn’t stop playing it. He really impressed me, dog. I got excited for the South, excited for hip-hop. It just made me feel like I have a partner, someone to bounce off of. We met and did a record like an hour later. It’s called “Happy Birthday Hip-Hop,” which is a big statement, but it’s a realistic record. We’re going to do a mixtape called Trunk Muzik Wuz Here. He’s gonna jump on some of my records and vice versa.

The chemistry you guys have is undeniable. Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that you’re both from smaller unknown towns in the South?

Definitely, Gadson is a hard-working, blue-collar town. People use their hands to make a living, either that or you’re hustling. You get the hardest and best people from small towns and at the same time, the most dangerous. Being that there is so much pride and so much earned from the blood, sweat, and tears that small town folk will do anything to protect it. I also think that small towns have the tendency to breed talent because of that want to be better and want to prove, and break out. Shit, Beyoncé lived in Gadson. Mr Knowles and his people still have houses out there matter of fact.

It seems like you blew up outside of Gadsen first…

It’s just the hustlers and dope boys in dunks and white boys in big trucks where I’m from. It’s like you can’t come out there talkin’ that “lyrical miracle” shit.  You can’t tell them shit!  For me it’s been a harder task to break out in Gadsen then out of town because I’ve always been super lyrical. I was never broken down with my rhymes. So when they were playin’ Lil Boosie and everyone, it took them a little longer to get into my music. Don’t get me wrong though I love Boosie, but now I think people are remembering that the South was real lyrical at one point with artists like UGK, Outkast, and so on.

Do you feel like you still get judged first based on your appearance rather than your talent?

I still face it at every show, dog. There’s always somebody. It never fails, never. Until I’m selling out my own shows and I’m going to be demo-ing for somebody. And somebody is not going to like me because I’m a white boy on stage rapping and I look different. That’s something I will experience until everybody that came through the door came to see just me. I’m used to it though, when you’re traveling with groups, you just have to be prepared to deal with it. Do your best to snap and walk off the stage holding your nuts. Always! That’s how you got to be. I grew up in Alabama so I’ve heard and seen it all. Knowing your talent is probably one of the keys to be successful

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

As of now I have ten year goal to just constantly evolve and grow up with the fans that I’m making now. I want to be selling out stadiums and arenas with a full band and DJs. All I care about is pushing the boundaries with my music. I want to be a fly old man like Willie Nelson, by the time I’m his age I just hope I’ll have songs that I can still perform.