Yelawolf w/Briggs @ Fowler’s Live, Adelaide, 28/03/12
Alabama’s Yelawolf hit the big time last year after signing with Eminem’s Shady Records and becoming part of Shady Version 2.0, along with heavyweights Slaughterhouse and Bad Meets Evil. Fresh from touring the States with Wiz Khalifa, the rapid fire MC hit Adelaide as part of his Aussie tour, and the question on everyone’s lips was whether Yelawolf was the real deal or just another Vanilla Ice.
But before Yelawolf’s headline spot, Victorian rapper Briggs provided some heavy raps for the hardcore fans. Decked in a Derek Rose Bull’s guernsey and a towel draped over his shaved head, Briggs put on what can best be described as a workman like performance. His mic volume was low, at times making him inaudible, and the energy didn’t seem to be there, but the Golden Era label member soldiered on, dropping tracks from his debut The Blacklist, as well new tunes ‘The Shep Life’ and ‘I Wish’. While not his best showing, Briggs still had the crowd nodding along and got everyone pumped for the main attraction.
Entering the stage to the sound of album intro, ‘Radioactive Introduction’, Yelawolf looked more punk rocker than hip hopper. Sporting a grey, Nirvana smiley face jumper, baseball cap swerved to the side and a body full of tattoos, Michael Wayne Athai represents the new breed of rapper that appeals not only to the hip hop heads, but the rock crowd and hipsters alike.
Although the crowd was small, with the venue not even half full, Yealwolf commanded the crowd with his is sure-fire lyrics and tight flow, showcasing tracks from both his 2010 mixtape Trunk Muzik and last year’s acclaimed debut Radioactive. Seeming a little disappointed with the crowd at first, Yelawolf was soon smiling and laughing as the small but dedicated fan base rapped along and moshed at the front of stage. ‘Pop The Trunk’, ‘Radio, ‘Trunk Muzik’ and ‘Slumerican Shitizen’ had everyone jumping around, with the crowd as energetic as any you would see at a hip hop show. The fact that everyone was so involved in the show is a credit to Athai, as he is almost an unknown artist outside the hp hop followers of Australia. He also proved he is no Eminem clone, with his Southern accent adding another layer to his intricate lyrics and at times Twista-like flow. Yelawolf is as talented lyricist as any in the game at the moment and his star can only rise higher.
Mid-way through the set he took the time to celebrate some of his influences, with his DJ playing a medley of songs including The Doors ‘Riders On The Storm’, Johnny Cash’s ‘Walk The Line, Metallica’s ‘Master Of Puppets’ and Eminem’s ‘The Way I Am’, with the latter inducing the crowd into a frenzy.
The stench of weed was thick in the air throughout the gig, prompting one punter to offer his joint to Yelawolf, who knocked it back, claiming the guy looked like he would ‘smoke crack and shit’. Instead he dedicated his song ‘Marijuana’ to his Mum, who he claimed introduced him to the gateway drug, as the crowd roared their delight. He rounded out the night with ‘Growin’ Up In The Gutter’, before returning for one last song, the Kid Rock featuring ‘Let’s Roll’, with Yelawolf ripping his shirt off as the audience sang along with the “Let’s roll, let’s roll” chorus.
Thanking the crowd for their support and telling everyone he will be back, Yelawolf left the stage to a chorus of applause; leaving the audience in doubt they had witnessed one of hip hop’s next big things.