VIBE Cover Story: Eminem and Yelawolf Were Born to Be Wild

EMINEM AND YELAWOLF hop down from their platform to join the crew huddling around a computer screen, pouring over photos taken just seconds ago. The images fly by–pictures of Yelawolf flashing slight variations of his self-assured smirk; in tank top, leather jacket; neck tattoos on display. He’s posing next to Eminem, glowering in his pensive Marshall Mathers glare; middle finger coming and going.

“I like the way my hair looks in this one,” Yelawolf says, stopping at one flick. Eminem and his longtime manager Paul Rosenberg laugh at his sudden vanity. But Yelawolf persists. “That shit’s important,” he smiles. He runs a hand over his fussy mane—a funky mix of a Mohawk and new-age mullet. “Marshall’s hair is one thing. But me? My hair changes, and it’s different every time. It’s never the same.”

Yelawolf and Eminem are hours into a photo shootthat started in a studio in downtown Detroit and will finish across town, outside a dilapidated building complex that once housed the city’s bustling Packard Motor Car Company. Yela will then take a ride to Ann Arbor for a show at a raucous bar called the Blind Pig. The stop is part of his Hard White tour, which is as much about spreading his nomadic Southern spirit as it is about blasting his music across the nation. As a real live “Bama” (Alabamian)—which has become slang for backwards, synonymous with bumpkin— he’s out to change the perception of his people.

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