Yelawolf Radioactive

Yelawolf Radioactive
Yelawolf is hard to classify. A tatted skater from small town Alabama who raps like Twista and croons like Kid Rock, his major label debut, Radioactive, attempts to smooth these contradictions into a commercial rap record. Radioactive plays as a kaleidoscopic, slightly schizophrenic tour through Yelawolf's influences: country ("Made in America"), pop ("Animal"), FM rock ("Let's Roll," with Kid Rock) and Dirty South rap ("Get Away"). The sonic diversity is refreshing, but often belies Yela's strengths ― the love songs sound strained and the bright pop of "Radio" and "Everything I Love the Most" doesn't click. Yet Yela remains a dazzling rapper who shines when he's allowed to simply rap. The minor key piano of "Throw It Up" wonderfully props up Yela, Gangsta Boo and Eminem's rapid-fire flows, while he delivers sharp punch lines on "Hard White," with Lil' Jon riding shotgun. Yela's storytelling stands out on "Growin' Up in the Gutter," evocative small town dedication "Write Your Name" and touching autobiography "The Last Song." Though scattershot, at times, Radioactive is mostly compelling and its highlights promise a bright future for this Caucasoid rapper. (Shady/Interscope)