Michael Wayne Atha’s current release, Radioactive, may be one of the grittiest albums of 2011. Forget being signed to Shady Records– the man known as Yelawolf was already on people’s radar back in early 2010.
For those who missed the rapper’s independent LP, Trunk Muzik, or one of his many sold-out shows around the country, Radioactive is the next best thing. With production by Diplo (“Animal”) and Willpower (“Growin’ Up in the Gutter,” “Throw It Up,” The Hardest Love Song in the World”), the Gadsen, Alabama-native dives into more national territory with lead single “Let’s Roll” featuring country rocker Kid Rock. What makes the album so gritty? He speaks of his world, no glitz, no glam, just raw reality mixed with hip hop and rock sensibilities.
Never one to shy away from his Catfish Billy roots or the club, the artist mixes it up with club banger “Hard White (Up in the Club)” featuring ATL’s own hype man Lil’ Jon. The track’s heavy bassline and lyrical prowess showcases a young man who is unafraid of his own hype. And in my book, respect is given to those who never forget their roots–even when you’re signed to a major-label deal with one of the best rappers in the game.