Words by Eric Diep
Images by Steven Lau
We’re at an undisclosed location in SoHo with Yelawolf, and he really wants chicken wings right now. It’s early in the morning. Not exactly the typical time for people to eat a hot plate of wings and fries from Virgil’s, but you got to satisfy your cravings somehow. The conversation with everyone in the room shifts to all the dope BBQ spots around the city, including one in Brooklyn called Delaney. “Nobody does fried chicken like NYC,” Yela says, describing how the Big Apple has mastered cooking with a black iron skillet. For someone who was born and raised in Gadsden, Alabama, a town deeply rooted in Southern BBQ traditions and soul food, it’s quite the compliment.
Since signing to Shady Records in 2011, Catfish Billy has done little to conform to mainstream’s standards. The heavily tattooed rapper has stuck to his upbringing and influences of rock, hip-hop and country, releasing music that attracts all types of listeners whether you’re a fan of Eminem or Tim McGraw. After his breakout mixtape Trunk Muzik, he released a subpar debut album entitled Radioactive, where he has vocally expressed his frustrations about it, even when the title itself implied his dominance on radio. Never letting missteps bring him down, he put out a steady stream of free music—EPs with Ed Sheeran, Travis Barker and DJ Paul, as well as Trunk Muzik Returns—in hopes of regaining the spotlight. Nearly four years later, Yela focused on delivering music that’s true to his roots with Love Story.
To get a better feel for his second studio album, we caught up with the Shady Records signee just a few days before the release date. We discussed recording in the famed Blackbird Studios in Nashville, his writing process, learning from Eminem and more. We also touch on why he quit skateboarding to pursue a rap career, his plans for producing the entire next album, his love for Johnny Cash, and the upcoming lyric book that’s coming out with Love Story. “The entire album is handwritten in the lyric book we are putting out and Eminem handwrote his verse too for his feature,” Yela revealed. “The lyric book has all the handwritten lyrics to every song and a bunch of the making of photos. It’s pretty cool.”
We can’t wait. But for now, read up on how the Slumerican gets to work in the lab.
Continue reading this post…