Yelawolf Breaks Down Radioactive
Yelawolf sat down with Complex and broke down all of the tracks on his Shady Records debut. Below Yelawolf explains Throw It Up (Ft. Gangsta Boo & Eminem). Radioactive now on iTunes.
Yelawolf: “Will Power gave me that beat in full as an eight-bar loop. I took the beat, I tracked it out, and I made that arrangement so the hook would be over the pianos.
“I told Gangsta Boo, who I had called out for a session, ‘This is the record.’ When the hook came up she was like, ‘What the fuck? There’s no drums. It just loses its bop.’ She actually recorded the hook over the drum loop. Then I just arranged the music up under it.
“The whole point was to create a juxtaposition with her and I. I wanted the music to be pretty, but I wanted it to be darker on the verses. I wanted her to come crazy hard because the music’s got a beautiful melody. After we recorded it, I knew it was another super-banger.
“I was like, ‘Damn, man. If I could get Marshall on this? Ooh.’ I knew that if I could get a feature from him, this was the one I wanted. I knew that it wasn’t the expected record and I knew you’ve never heard Marshall on a record that’s sweaty-ass, holding the wall, Southern club.
“It was kind of like taking 8 Mile and putting it with Hustle & Flow. If I got that feature from Marshall, I wanted to bring him into my zone, my culture. And he fucking murdered it. It’s one of those records that, to me, as far as hip-hop and culturally on this project, is one of the most important records because of what it says about us as a team at Shady.
“Us three on the same record is a mindfuck. It’s almost like it shouldn’t be, but it is and it’s dope. That’s the whole point of this album. The album really has this balance of dark and light. Some songs feel good, some are dark, and some are in-between, but they all have a vibe of their own. They’re really specific in the vibes of the records.
“I’m around OG’s like Kawan Prather who brought acts like Outkast, Youngbloodz, and T.I. into the game. He was a part of the Dungeon Family movement and he was a part of the first hip-hop group out of Atlanta to get a situation with Parental Advisory. My other manager Brother Bear was touring with Biggie.
“I’m really lucky to have the industry execs that I have around me because they encourage me to keep it 100% real. You’ve got to imagine that when I’m like, ‘Can we get Gangsta Boo on this record with me and Marshall?’ [other industry execs would be] like, ‘Gangsta Boo? With you and Marshall? On your only Eminem record?’ Instead, my team is like, ‘Fuck yeah. Gangsta Boo, that’s sick.’
“Nobody is really doing it, at all, especially for a debut album. Nobody’s got balls. They’re all fucking Fisher-Price-ass features. It’s cookie-cutter bullshit like, ‘Lets put all the stars on one record.’ I’m like, ‘You can get that at every Footlocker. I fuck with it, but is it special? No.’ It’s just about what artists want to be.”
Gangsta Boo: “Yela has [said he’s a Three 6 Mafia fan] in numerous interviews that he’s done. He grew up listening to our music. So naturally he wants to pay homage and show respect just as much as I wanted to show respect when I saw him from watching his videos on YouTube. I was like, ‘He’s a dope white boy. I’m with this.’ But Three Six Mafia—we influenced a lot of Southern artists, not just Yelawolf.
“Back in the day, if something was fucked-up we used to say, ‘Man, hokiewag.’ I knew people wouldn’t know what it meant because it’s totally a Memphis term. I first heard the term from this guy named Lil Buck who used to be with DJ Paul. It wasn’t a big word in the south. It was just some Three Six shit. We had our own language we used to speak.
“[The reason I say I’m bipolar is because] all my friends that know me, they know I call myself Crazy Lady. One minute I’ve got an extreme high, next minute I’m snapping on people. I have a quick switch and I might throw a drink on you. I’m trying to change my attitude. They say Nicki’s got the bipolar flow and I’m like, ‘I feel you, but I’m worser, because I’ll actually hurt you.’
“I throw drinks on dudes. If I’m in the club, I’ve got a nice butt on me, so you may have a guy and there’s ten of them in a group, and one might touch my butt, and I look back and don’t know which one did it, so the drink is going on everybody. I’m sure that’s [happened] recently. I’m sure it was this year, if not this month. [Laughs.]
“It’s not something I’m trying to promote or continue to do, but I am known for doing it. But I’m a sweetheart too. That’s where the whole split-personality thing comes in at. It’s all in good faith. It definitely wasn’t a diss to Nicki Minaj.”
Kawan “KP” Prather: “He came in and sprinkled some production over some records, because he said, “Hey this is great. Why don’t you try this?” And it’s like Eminem said it, so fuck it, let’s try it. It worked for you.
“Eminem never asked Wolf to do anything outside of what he had already done. That’s the cool part about it. Walking in, I was very nervous that it was going to be him trying to make Wolf a little more like him. Wolf never had that thought. I was probably the only one [with that thought] because I’m a fucking skeptic. I was like, ‘I don’t trust this shit.’
“We got up there and Marshall had a respect for what Yela was already doing. It’s a weird thing because he doesn’t have to [respect Yelawolf]. It kicked into how he even talks to him.
“Even the skit is funny as shit because we had to make him say, ‘Yeah, I just killed that shit.’ It’s like, who says that? But that’s the dickhead part about it. He said it bullshitting, and I was like, ‘Yeah, say that.’ He was like, ‘Hell nah.’ [Laughs.]
“He also was cool in the sense that he came into Wolf’s world. There were other records that could have gotten done, but we begged him to get on that record. It wasn’t like he didn’t want to do it.
“He was just like, ‘This isn’t my style. It’s so specifically Southern.’ I was like, ‘That means more to Wolf than you could understand if you got on that record.’ After he heard that conversation, he was like, ‘Yeah, I get it. Cool.’
“Reading the lyrics the first day—I copied and pasted what Em sent. I didn’t want to fuck up however he wrote it. If you look at how the rest of the lyrics [in the booklet] are written, it’s line by line. Eminem’s lyrics are a paragraph he sent. I was like, ‘I don’t even know how this rhymes. I don’t know how it connects.’
“I knew it sounded great, so I didn’t want to fuck shit up. He has a degree of difficulty that is the shit. It’s acrobatic shit, the way he’ll connect the third word in the fifth bar to the six line somewhere in the record and it all makes sense when you hear it. After he did that, Wolf went back and rewrote his verse like, ‘Shiiit.’”
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