Radioactive

Hick-hop juggernaut Yelawolf may strike some as Alabama's answer to Eminem (who
signed the 31-year-old rapper to his Shady label). But the boozy, stone-faced rhymes on his debut leave little room for laughs: "In this forest I’m a lonely tree/ My limbs are covered in tattoos, and my roots, they run deep," he raps. What Yelawolf lacks in wit he makes up for with gravitas: "Radioactive Introduction" is an intoxicating trunk-rattler, surveying his past as his Impala rolls at a snail’s creep, and "Growin' Up in the Gutter" is a Trent Reznor-style teethgrinder. Backwoods PG-13 love songs like "Good Girl" might earn radio ears by deploying country-boy charm in meet-cute stories. But the dark end of the Dirty South is where he really lives.

Listen to "Throw It Up":

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From The Archives Issue 1145: December 8, 2011