GlobalGrind caught up with Yelawolf at the Beats by Dr. Dre store in the Soho neighborhood of New York City. We spoke with Yelawolf about receiving his own customized headphone, his new album Radioactive and of course, his relationship with mentor Eminem.
Check out the exclusive interview below!
GlobalGrind: We got a chance to look at your Beats. They’re absolutely dope. When did you first learn you were going to get your own customized set of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones?
Yelawolf: It was a complete surprise. It was after the BET Awards. My management team, my boss man KP, my homie has a brunch after the BET Hip-Hop Awards the next morning. So we went to the brunch and it was there in a box. I had no idea. I talked to Luke Wood about the idea of doing one. But I had no idea that it was gonna come out. I thought it was just an idea and we would get to it later on. But they decided to go ahead and make a pair. I had my Pop wear them this weekend when we shot a video called “Let’s Roll.” My pop was wearing them as ear protection. He was all camouflaged up in the Beats shooting shotguns.
You released Radioactive in November. How did you feel that your project is now out, because it got pushed back a couple of times. How did you feel when it dropped?
I was just relieved that people finally got to hear the music that I’ve been talking about. I just wanted people to connect with the music I’ve been making. It got pushed back because we were trying to hook up the mixes. Every time it got pushed back was for good reason. It wasn’t for some industry bullsh*t. We were trying to make sure that creatively it all made sense and that we had the right songs.
What made you go to the studio and lay down “The Last Song”?
For that particular record, I started with the beatbox. I had that rhythm in my head and I had no lyrics. I went to the booth and I laid that down, looped that, and Will Power came to the studio. He said, 'I have a piano line for this.' So we mic’d up his grand piano, he laid down the piano line, and then came the melody for the hook. The hook came first and then followed the lyrics. I think it was just something that was sitting on my chest that I had to get out. I called it “The Last Song." It’s like my last letter. It fit as the outro to say, “Here I go.”
Five years ago, would you have imagined yourself being on Slaughterhouse and Eminem being a mentor to you? Did you ever dream of that?
Marshall, without even knowing, has been a mentor for a long time. I haven’t really steered away from my goal. I never told people what I wanted to do with my career. On a very personal level, I just stayed at it. But I did put it on my vision board that I wanted to be a part of Shady. I wanted to sit down with him because I knew he would understand where I was coming from. Even coming from Alabama, there were a lot of similarities. It was just two different musical influences in a sense. It’s all hip-hop, the genre of hip-hop that he was raised on and the genre that I was raised on, but still culturally and struggle-wise, there was so much in common. I figured that he would understand where I was coming from. At the very root of it, the attention that I pay to the skill level. I want to be the best that I could possibly be and be as honest as I could possibly be.
What’s the best advice he’s given you so far?
He doesn’t really give me personal advice. We don’t have conversations like that. He just said welcome to the game. I’ve told him that I’ve gone through specific situations with radio and having a hard time opening up. The only thing he ever said really was just 'Welcome to the game, buddy.' A lot of great advice just goes without saying. I’ve watched him, which has been a huge influence. He doesn’t have to say much. He says so much with his music and his career. I pay attention and I’m humble when I’m around him in the studio soaking it up.
What’s the craziest or most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you while performing on stage?
I’ve never really had any embarrassing moments because moments that would have been embarrassing just turn into frustration or pure anger. Normally someone would be embarrassed if their mic goes off, whereas it just makes me angry. It usually amplifies the show. I’ve been through a lot though, same sh*t every artist goes through.
If you were on a deserted island, what three albums would you bring with you?
An audio version of the Bible, Never Scared album, the Beatles album. I’m sure the last thing I’d be thinking about if I was stuck on an island is three albums. I’d be thinking about how to split coconuts and light a fire. I won’t be thinking about music.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I put it all out there. I don’t really have too much hidden. And anything I have unsaid, I’m gonna save for a song.
What’s your most prized possession?
Are you back in the studio working on any new projects?
Nah, I’m not. Trunk Muzik is a two week old baby, so I’m nursing that baby. That’s all I really care about right now, Radioactive ... and I’m gonna hop back on the road from January to January, so my next year is booked already to do shows.
I’m just ready to get these records out, hit up radio, hit the countryside, go to Australia, Canada. I’m not really focused on making music. I’m just focused on touring with this album. That’s what got us where we’re at – touring Trunk Muzik for the past year and a half. When we locked out to Radioactive, we put our focus on that. So it’ll be the same cycle, tour Radioactive for awhile, and when it’s time to record another album, we’ll be on to that.