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Yelawolf performing at Bumbershoot in 2012
Background information
Birth nameMichael Wayne Atha
Born (1979-12-30) December 30, 1979 (age 39)
Gadsden, Alabama, United States
Genres Hip hop
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active2005–present



Associated acts

Michael Wayne Atha (born December 30, 1979), better known as Yelawolf, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter and producer from Gadsden, Alabama. Yelawolf released his first independent album Creek Water in 2005. [1] Between 2005 to 2010 he released one extended play (EP) and four mixtapes. [2] It was not until 2010's Trunk Muzik EP [3] that Yelawolf started to gain mainstream attention. The same year would see Yelawolf sign a record deal with Interscope Records. [4] His first release on a major label would be a somewhat reworked Trunk Muzik, titled Trunk Muzik 0-60 [5] which shared six track's from Trunk Muzik.

Gadsden, Alabama City in Alabama, United States

Gadsden is a city in and the county seat of Etowah County in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is located on the Coosa River about 56 miles (90 km) northeast of Birmingham and 90 miles (140 km) southwest of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is the primary city of the Gadsden Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 103,931. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 36,856, with an estimated population of 35,837 in 2016. Gadsden and Rome, Georgia, are the largest cities in the triangular area now defined by the interstate highways between Atlanta, Birmingham, and Chattanooga.

Extended play musical recording longer than a single, but shorter than a full album

An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. Contemporary EPs generally contain a minimum of three tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

Mixtape compilation of songs recorded onto any audio format

A mixtape is a compilation of music, typically from multiple sources, recorded onto a medium. With origins in the 1980s, the term normally describes a homemade compilation of music onto a cassette tape, CD, or digital playlist. The songs are either ordered sequentially or made into a continuous program by beatmatching the songs and creating seamless transitions at their beginnings and endings with fades or abrupt edits. Essayist Geoffrey O'Brien described this definition of the mixtape as "perhaps the most widely practiced American art form".


In January 2011, Yelawolf signed a recording deal with Eminem's record label, Shady Records, [6] and released his second studio album, Radioactive on November 21, 2011. The album debuted at number 27 on the Billboard 200. Yelawolf released a sequel to his breakthrough mixtape Trunk Muzik, titled Trunk Muzik Returns on March 14, 2013. His third album, Love Story, was released on April 21, 2015. His fourth album, Trial by Fire, was released on October 27, 2017. His fifth album, and final under Shady Records, Trunk Muzik III , was released on March 29, 2019.

Eminem American rapper and actor

Marshall Bruce Mathers III, known professionally as Eminem, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, record executive, film producer, and actor. He is consistently cited as one of the greatest and most influential artists of all time in hip hop, with Rolling Stone placing him in its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and labeling him the "King of Hip Hop".

A record label, or record company, is a brand or trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Sometimes, a record label is also a publishing company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing, promotion, and enforcement of copyright for sound recordings and music videos, while also conducting talent scouting and development of new artists, and maintaining contracts with recording artists and their managers. The term "record label" derives from the circular label in the center of a vinyl record which prominently displays the manufacturer's name, along with other information. Within the mainstream music industry, recording artists have traditionally been reliant upon record labels to broaden their consumer base, market their albums, and be both promoted and heard on music streaming services, radio, and television. Record labels also provide publicists, who assist performers in gaining positive media coverage, and arrange for their merchandise to be available via stores and other media outlets.

Shady Records record label

Shady is an American record label founded in 1999 by Eminem and his manager Paul Rosenberg, after the highly successful release of Eminem's The Slim Shady LP. Both serve as the label's presidents.

Early life

Michael Wayne Atha was born on December 30, 1979, in Gadsden, Alabama, and is of Cherokee (on his father's side) and White American descent. [7] His mother Sheila, whom he claims was a "rockstar", gave birth to him when she was just sixteen years old. Throughout his childhood, Atha moved often. He spent much of his time in Antioch, Tennessee, and attended Carter Lawrence Elementary School in Nashville, which was located near housing projects and where he says "hip hop started making sense to me. That's where hip hop made sense culturally." [8]

The Cherokee are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentrated in what is now southwestern North Carolina, southeastern Tennessee, and the tips of western South Carolina and northeastern Georgia.

White Americans are Americans who are descendants from any of the white racial groups of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa or in census statistics, those who self-report as white based on having majority-white ancestry. White Americans constitute the historical and current majority of the people living in the United States, with 72% of the population in the 2010 United States Census. Non-Hispanic whites totaled about 197,285,202 or 60.7% of the U.S. population. European Americans are the largest ethnic group of White Americans and constitute the historical population of the United States since the nation's founding.

Antioch is a neighborhood in southeastern Davidson County, Tennessee governed by the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. The area is assigned to postal Zip Code 37013.

Regarding his stage name, Yelawolf has said, "Yelawolf is Native American. My father is Cherokee and I’m from Cherokee county – Gadsden, Alabama. Yela represents light, the sun, power, fire, hunger and Wolf represents my ability to survive… my fierceness." [9] [10]

Musical career

2005–2009: Early career

In 2005, Yelawolf appeared on the UPN Network reality series The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott . After his elimination from the show, he released his independent debut album Creekwater in 2005, later the same year he released his debut mixtape Pissin' in a Barrel of Beez. Two years later, Yelawolf signed to Columbia Records and released the single "Kickin'" from the album, Fearin' and Loathin' in Smalltown, U.S.A.. The album was never released, and Yelawolf was dropped from the label later that year. [11] Yelawolf released two mixtapes following his release from Columbia, titled Ball of Flames: The Ballad of Slick Rick E. Bobby and Stereo: A Hip Hop Tribute to Classic Rock, both of which went mainly unnoticed, although Stereo is often mentioned by fans as some of his best work. In 2009, he signed with Ghet-O-Vision Entertainment and released his debut extended play Arena Rap .

The Road to Stardom With Missy Elliott was a competitive reality television show that aired on the UPN Network in 2005. The main judge and host was hip-hop artist Missy Elliott. Other judges were singer-producer Teena Marie, producer Dallas Austin, and manager Mona Scott.

Columbia Records American record label; currently owned by Sony Music Entertainment

Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.

Arena Rap is the first extended play by American rapper Yelawolf. It was released on December 28, 2008 under Ghet-O-Vision Entertainment and management group Redd Klay Entertainment.

2009–2011: Trunk Muzik and Radioactive

In 2009, he began to work with Ghet-O-Vision producer, WLPWR, on his 2009 breakthrough mixtape titled Trunk Muzik . Released in January 2010, the mixtape created an enormous online following for Yelawolf. Later that year, Yelawolf signed a major record deal with Interscope Records, [4] and began to work on a re-release of the project, titled Trunk Muzik 0-60. It was released on November 22, 2010, under Ghet-O-Vision Entertainment and Interscope Records, which became his most acclaimed work at that time. [12] [13] In 2010 and 2011, he raised his profile by making guest appearances on albums by rappers Big Boi, Paul Wall, Tech N9ne, Travis Barker, Gucci Mane, and Big K.R.I.T., among others.


William Washington, known professionally as WLPWR is a musician and music producer who is the founder of SupaHotBeats a record label and production studio based out of Atlanta founded by Washington in 2002.

<i>Trunk Muzik</i> album by Yelawolf

Trunk Muzik is a mixtape by southern rapper Yelawolf, released on January 1, 2010. It features ten all new songs and two remixes. It is hosted by DJ Burn One and contains production from WLPWR, Maylay & KP and Kane Beatz and features guest appearances from Bun B, Rittz, Diamond, Raekwon and Juelz Santana.

Interscope Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group through its Interscope Geffen A&M imprint. It was founded in late 1990 by Jimmy Iovine and Ted Field as a $20 million joint venture with Warner Music Group's Atlantic Records. At the time, it differed from most record companies by giving decision-making authority to its A&R staff and allowing artists and producers complete creative control. It had its first hit records less than a year after it was founded, and achieved profitability in 1993. Iovine served as chairman and CEO until May 2014, when he was succeeded by John Janick.

In March 2011, after speculation of a joint record deal with Eminem, Yelawolf was featured on the cover of XXL 's March 2011 issue, with Eminem and fellow new Shady Records signees Slaughterhouse, with the issue confirming his record deal with Shady Records. [14] Yelawolf was also featured among the XXL 's Top 11 Freshmen of 2011, releasing several songs on the magazine's yearly Freshman mixtape, along with Kendrick Lamar, Cyhi Da Prynce and Big K.R.I.T., among others. [15] On April 14, 2011, Yelawolf announced the title of his debut Shady release "Radioactive" with a release date that aimed for September. [16] On May 18, Yelawolf announced his album's first single, titled "Gangsta of Love", produced by Jim Jonsin and featuring Cyhi Da Prynce. The song was leaked in early July, although it only featured unfinished vocals by Cyhi da Prynce at the end of the song. The song was later scrapped and no longer appeared on the album. Yelawolf partnered up with the video game Driver: San Francisco to release a music video for the song "No Hands" which was supposed to be included in Radioactive, but was later scrapped. On August 8, 2011, Yelawolf released the first official single from his album, titled "Hard White (Up in the Club)", which features guest vocals from a southern hip hop producer Lil Jon. The album's release date was moved down to October 2011, and later had a final release date to November 21, 2011. On October 30, 2011, Yelawolf released the second single off Radioactive , titled "Let's Roll", featuring guest vocals from Kid Rock.

Anticipation for the album increased when hip hop magazine The Source gave the album a rare 4.5 out of 5 mics, meaning the album was "near classic". Radioactive , was released November 21, 2011 under Interscope Records and Shady Records, debuting the following week at #13 on Billboard 200. [17] The album featured production from Eminem (who is also the executive producer for the album), Jim Jonsin, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Diplo, The Audibles, Pooh Bear and WLPWR of SupaHotBeats, and features from Eminem, Kid Rock, Lil Jon, Fefe Dobson, Mystikal, Shawty Fatt, Rittz, Killer Mike, and Gangsta Boo among others.

2012: The Slumdon Bridge, Heart of Dixie and Psycho White

On January 24, 2012, Yelawolf released a promotional track with British singer Ed Sheeran titled "You Don't Know (For Fuck's Sake)". The track was for an upcoming collaborative extended play (EP), titled The Slumdon Bridge . On January 31, 2012, a trailer for the EP was released, it featured both artists in a studio recording the EP. In the video Yelawolf revealed the EP was recorded in 10 hours, and included 4 tracks.The Slumdon Bridge, which was released as a free download on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2012, marking Yelawolf's second EP, and his first collaborative project. [18]

On June 16, 2012, in order to commemorate Father's Day, Yelawolf released a song titled "Happy Father's Day". The song was produced by Alabama producer M16. With the track, Yelawolf announced his fifth official mixtape Heart of Dixie. [19]

In August 2012, Yelawolf announced the long-awaited joint EP with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, titled Psycho White . The first single to the EP, titled "Push 'Em" features background vocals by Transplants members Skinhead Rob and Tim Armstrong, and was released as a free download on September 12. After several push-backs, the EP was finally released on November 13, 2012. Debuting at #24 on Billboard 200 with first week sales of 15,000. Yelawolf stated that all the tracks on the album will have a music video and during an article with Rolling Stone , both he and Barker hinted at a sequel to the EP. [20]

2012–2015: Trunk Muzik Returns and Love Story

On March 20, 2012, Yelawolf announced that recording sessions for his third studio album began in June 2012, titled Love Story . [21] [22] Due to a stage diving incident which caused a ruptured spleen, Yelawolf decided to delay the album's recording process. During an interview with DJ Skee, he revealed that a sequel to his 2010's mixtape Trunk Muzik, titled Trunk Muzik Returns , would be released in August after "the dust settles on the Heart of Dixie" but was afterwards delayed. In December 2012, Yelawolf addressed the status of all of his projects in an interview. [23] He also spoke on his upcoming second release, Love Story, and how it would be different compared to his debut effort Radioactive. "With Radioactive, I gave up a lot of creative space, and like I predicted would happen, there were some records that didn't translate to my audience." He stated he would record the album in Nashville and go to Detroit so he and Eminem could finish the album. Yelawolf also said that Trunk Muzik Returns would hopefully released in February 2013, with the date later confirmed. [24]

On February 5, 2013, Yelawolf released the first song from Trunk Muzik Returns, "Way Out" and announced a release date of March 14, 2013 for the mixtape. [25] On February 26 Yelawolf released a second song from Trunk Muzik Returns titled "F.A.S.T. Ride". [26] On March 12 a third song from Trunk Muzik Returns was released titled "Gangster" featuring fellow rappers ASAP Rocky and Big Henry. [27] The mixtape contains ten original tracks and features guest appearances from Raekwon, Paul Wall, Killer Mike, ASAP Rocky, and is entirely produced by his go-to producer WLPWR. [28] On October 18, 2013, Yelawolf revealed that he would be releasing his seventh mixtape titled Black Fall on October 31, 2013. The project consisted of 5 tracks and was entirely produced by DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia. [29]

On January 28, 2014, Yelawolf premiered his debut single from Love Story titled "Box Chevy V" on Shade 45. During the interview Yelawolf stated Love Story would be released in May 2014, [30] however the album was delayed until April 2015. Between then, Yelawolf remained active promoting the album, releasing weekly freestyles that sampled rock classics such as Pink Floyd's "Money". [31] and The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Voodoo Chile [32] Yelawolf described the freestyles as a "mini-sequel" to his 2008 effort, Stereo, which also was heavily influenced by classic rock. In addition, Yelawolf also featured extensively on Eminem's compilation record Shady XV , which was released as a celebration of the label's 15-year anniversary. [33]

Eminem is the only featured guest on Love Story and also serves as an executive producer alongside Yelawolf. This album also marks the first instance of Yelawolf as a record producer since his first independent 2005 album Creekwater and features Till It's Gone, Yelawolf's most commercially successful song to date. The album debuted #3 on the American Billboard 200 [34] with 61,000 copies sold in its first week. [35] The album is considered Yelawolf's most celebrated release among his fan base, but was found to be polarizing with critics due to the mixture of country and hip hop. [36] Two singles from the album, "Till It's Gone" and "Best Friend" featuring Eminem have amassed over 100 million views on YouTube, and eventually received a Gold certifications from the RIAA. [37] On June 8, 2018, Love Story also received a Gold certification for 500,000 units sold. [37]

2016–2017: Trial by Fire and Hotel

On August 25, 2015, Yelawolf was mired in controversy when he decided to defend the confederate flag [38] before reconsidering his stance and entirely rejecting the flag with a non-album track titled "To Whom It May Concern" on October 30, 2015. [39] The single addressed his upbringings and his disgust with the Charleston church shooting, a racially motivated mass shooting.

After the controversy had settled, on September 22, 2015, Yealwolf announced his fourth studio album, Trial by Fire. [40] He alluded to the record being much darker than its predecessor, and also being produced entirely by himself and constant collaborators DJ Klever and Bones Owens, which were also members of his tour band.

Towards the end of 2016, Yelawolf was seen working with South Florida-based producer, and constant collaborator Jim Jonsin, although what they worked on remained a secret. October 10, 2016, the surprise free EP, Hotel was released. [41] Hotel is an acronym for "House Of The Endless Life" [42] with the production being entirely handled by Jonsin and Yelawolf.

The first two singles from Trial by Fire, "Daylight" and "Shadows" featuring country singer Joshua Headley were released in late 2016. [43] [44] In order to support Trial By Fire, a tour was announced on July 18, 2016 and was due to run from October 13 to December 4. [45] However, during the Oregon show, Yelawolf was seen destroying equipment belonging to Bones Owens, which subsequently caused Owens to fallout with Yelawolf and quit the band indefinitely (DJ Klever also left the band but would reunite with Yelawolf the following year). The incident was followed by an altercation with a fan at the Sacramento show resulting in Yelawolf leaving the stage and cancelling the remaining seven dates. [46] After the cancellation of the tour, Yelawolf seemed to suffer an apparent mental breakdown and was admitted to a mental ward. After his release towards the end of December, Yelawolf announced via social media that he was dropping the "Yelawolf" stage name in favor of his birth name, the removed Instagram post announced "I decided to sober up and rebrand my new music as Michael Wayne Atha MWA". [47] This came as a result of the death of long-time friend and collaborator Shawty Fatt and his break-up with fiance Fefe Dobson. During this time, Yelawolf also drastically changed his country style to a contemporary hip hop image, before retreating from public life for over six months. During this period, the status of the unreleased Trial by Fire album and Yelawolf's involvement with Shady Records were left undetermined.

On June 6, 2018, Yelawolf announced a return to the music scene with the release of the third single for Trial by Fire titled "Row Your Boat", [48] with his "Yelawolf" moniker once again in use. Yelawolf launched another tour to support the album titled the "51/50" tour, [49] with the name alluding to the term police or doctors use towards patients that are an endangerment to themselves and others, referencing his mental breakdown from the previous year. During the tour, Yelawolf would re-visit all the venues that were cancelled during his previous tour, free of charge to those who had bought a ticket for the former. After multiple delays, Trial by Fire was finally released on October 27, 2017. [50] During this time, he also reunited with long-time fiancé Fefe Dobson.

2018–present: Trunk Muzik III and Ghetto Cowboy

Trunk Muzik III , the third major project in the Trunk Muzik series, was first hinted at in mid-2017, following Yelawolf's return to the music scene after a prolonged break. [51] Three months after the October release of Trial By Fire, Yelawolf announced he had begun work on the project with long-time producer WLPWR , who also handled some of the production in 2010's Trunk Muzik and its re-release Trunk Muzik 0-60, as well as producing the entirety of the second entry in the series, Trunk Muzik Returns. The project also features production contributions from DJ Paul and Jim Jonsin. It was revealed that unlike the previous two Trunk Muzik projects, Trunk Muzik III would be his fifth studio album released under Shady Records. On July 27th, Yelawolf kicked off a 25-date tour to support the album. [52] During the tour, he premiered the then-planned first single for the album titled "Catfish Billy (Part 2)”, [53] [54] although it was latter scrapped as lead single. During one of the shows, he announced that Trunk Muzik III would be his final album under Eminem's label Shady Records, and after its release. [55]

The album features a collaboration from Machine Gun Kelly on the track titled "Rowdy", marking the end to a feud between Yelawolf and Machine Gun Kelly that began in 2011. However, the song gained attention when it was mentioned in another high publicized feud between Kelly and Yelawolf's record label boss, Eminem. On the diss track Rap Devil, Machine Gun Kelly states "And don't be a sucker and take my verse off of Yelawolf's album, thank you". [56] Trunk Muzik III is finished and awaiting release, and will also be supported by the singles "Trailer Park Hollywood" and "Box Chevy 6" featuring DJ Paul and Rittz. [57] In anticipation for the release of the album, Yelawolf began a weekly freestyle series similar to the one leading up to his 2015 release Love Story. This time, however, he stated he would "release a freestyle every week until the album comes out". [58]

Following the period between the completion of Trunk Muzik III and its release, Yelawolf hinted he was beginning work on his sixth studio album, titled Ghetto Cowboy. This would mark his first album to not be released under the Shady Records label, but instead under his own independent label, Slumerican. [59]


Yelawolf's early childhood introduction to hip hop came as a result of his mother's boyfriend being a sound designer for Aerosmith around the time that the Run-DMC version of “Walk This Way” was released, and made friends with the hip hop group. Yelawolf recalls Run-DMC visiting his child home and giving him some Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill cassette tapes. [60] He has cited Outkast as his biggest influence when it comes to a "blend of sounds". He has stated on multiple occasions that the group's two seminal albums, ATLiens and Aquemeni, are among his favorite hip-hop records of all time. He has also shared that the hip-hop and R&B collective Dungeon Family has had a major influence on his production style, as well as J Dilla, Pete Rock, CL Smooth, Black Star, Hieroglyphics, and the Brooklyn-based trio Digable Planets. [61]

Some of Yelawolf's other musical influences include Johnny Cash, Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kraftwerk, The Doors, Fleetwood Mac, Metallica, Portishead, and N.W.A, among others. [62] Yelawolf has also shown appreciation for Detroit-based recording artist Kid Rock and his mixing of country music, rock music, and hip hop, [63] as well as long-time collaborator and mentor Eminem.


Founded2012 (2012)
Genre Hip hop
Country of originU.S.
Location Nashville, Tennessee
Official website

Slumerican is an American independent record label specializing in hip-hop music. [64] The label was founded in 2012 by Yelawolf. Slumerican's roster includes DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia, Bubba Sparxxx, and more. It is also responsible for helping launch the career of Rittz. The label also partakes in extensive merchandising, as well as spearheading a premium flagship store in Nashville, Tennessee. [65]



Personal life

In July 2013, Yelawolf got engaged to his girlfriend recording artist Fefe Dobson. [66] He has three children from a previous marriage to Sonora Rosario. [67]


Studio albums

Compilation albums

Solo EPs

Collaborative EPs


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<i>Trunk Muzik III</i> 2019 studio album by Yelawolf

Trunk Muzik III is the fifth studio album by American rapper Yelawolf, released on March 29, 2019. It is his final album under Eminem's imprint Shady Records, and was released in conjunction with Interscope Records and Yelawolf's own label Slumerican. The album marks a return to an emphasis on the southern hip hop sound that was predominant in Yelawolf's music at the start of the decade, a contrast to the country-folk and hip hop fusions of his previous two albums. While the album is titled as the third in the Trunk Muzik series, it is technically the fourth, following his 2009 mixtape Trunk Muzik, its subsequent 2010 reissue Trunk Muzik 0-60, and 2013's Trunk Muzik Returns.


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