A twisted tongue rapper who has been cutting his teeth for what seems like forever finally gets a chance. That’s the generic storyline you could roll out for Radioactive, the Shady debut album from Alabama’s own Yelawolf but in actuality, you’d be shortchanging Yela, his common man rise from being on a reality show to now and all the hard work that’s occurred in between. Michael Atha has come a long way peddling promising raps about modern rustic America with a deep-fried charm. It’s authentic and on Radioactive, it’s evenly distributed with heavy features, slapping production and his hallmark rhymes.

In his tattooed nature, Yela’s at his absolute best when the plateau given to him allows him to be forthright about everything that’s gone on in his life. The album’s lead six tracks all exhibit that: bass guitar driven, less than conforming lyrics and enough vitriol throughout for the lovers of PBR to stand up and chant. The album’s opener leads off with a horrifying depiction of America getting bombed by North Korea before Yela leaves the WillPower snare riddled beat to shreds with lyrics that etch the idea that Yela would literally defecate on the Devil.

With guest appearances from Mystikal, Kid Rock & Lil Jon, the Gadsen, Alabama native is in fine tune with his predecessors and where he comes from. Michael Tyler’s first major feature slot in years bookends the slithering production on “Get Away”, country living proliferates the drum heavy produced “Let’s Roll” with Kid Rock & the hyperactive “Hard White (Up In The Club)” gives Yela a solid trifecta. It’s the middle portion of the album that suffers, not because of Yela but its obvious country fried rap tunes about being country isn’t a complete saving grace.

Despite a comical “we need a song for … bitches” skit with Eminem, the piano driven “down ass chick” ethos littered on “Good Girl” seems like a slight ploy, even with a decent hook from Poo Bear. The witticism displayed on “Made In The U.S.A.” is worth the price of admission, yet loses a bit of its merits thanks to a pithy chorus.

Right where Yela goes back to being himself without ship-sinking guests (sorry, FeFe Dobson), personal moments on “The Last Song” & the schizophrenic “Slumerican Shitizen” with Killer Mike uplift the album and in a sense, give Alabama’s own a bit of vindication. For a solid duration of his debut, nothing gets compromised about who Yelawolf is: a promising emcee with an interesting story backed by country rich and gutter made production. Alabama is a sweet home to have at this point, the SEC is high and its native son is swinging the state’s rap flag proudly.

With a bottle of Jim Beam in hand.

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