One of the best parts of my "Waken Baken" tour experience--including the well performed but poorly received appearances--was the time I got to spend with Yelawolf after his set. Aside from proving he took the Taylor Gang hecklers in stride, he shared something I'd never heard before: before his July visit headlining the Nectar Lounge, the last time Yela visited Seattle was a decade ago when he was a street kid looking for work:
Nick Feldman Yelawolf performing at The Showbox SoDo on Friday, Oct. 15.
Life is interesting man, to go from being out here and not even knowing I would be a rapper to doing shows for 2,000 people. Last time I was in Seattle was in 2000. I was a youngster, a teenager just trying to go for it and get on a boat. I was in Alabama, and my boy was like "Hey, we could go to Seattle and get on a fishing boat and make 20 grand," and I was like "20 grand? I would do anything for that kind of money." And by the time I got out here I realized there were thousands of kids trying to get on a boat just like me. I remember walking under the Needle, just being a street kid. I lived on the streets for a couple weeks before I could get on a boat, working day jobs and sleeping on church steps. Seattle's a special place for me--this is where Yelawolf was born, here and in the Bering Sea. When I got off that boat, that's when Yelawolf came about. It was the end of the rope for me out here--this is where I started to climb back up. Before I got here, I was a fuckin' dirtbag living a real rockstar life. When I was 15, I was smoking angel dust and robbing houses--and I paid for all of that. Today I rode past the church where I used to sleep on the stairs, and I remember New Year's Eve, sleeping in the snow while guys are rolling by in limos having the time of their life. That's perspective.
After the jump, check out his words on the new record (Trunk Muzik 0-60, due out Nov. 23), crazy shows, haters and drinking vs. smoking.On Trunk Muzik 0-60:
It'll be on the shelves when all these big timers are out, and it's dope that my shit will be on the shelf. I hope the kids going in to get all these big shots' records will give mine a look. 0-60 is a warm up. I do a lot of interviews, and I really don't know why because I don't even have a record out. (laughs) I guess I hope this turns into people walking into the store and picking up the record. Trunk Muzik 0-60 is just a piece of Trunk Muzik stepped up, and at the same time Trunk Muzik is just a piece of me, a tiny piece of me and what I want to express. That's just going to take time. Time, and hit records.
I personally love it when haters hate. It's the best thing that could happen, because for one it lets the fans see firsthand what it's like and make it personal. I like for people to see me going through it because it's part of my story. You've got to have thick skin to be in this game. Some kids just don't give a fuck, and it burns me in my stomach for people not to understand what I've given of my life just to be here. They haven't earned the right to hate.
On his fans and their tendency to go nuts:
The last time I was here it was my show, and people were losing their goddamn minds. There was a bloody pit that broke out and somebody got rocked. But my core fans, they don't give a fuck--they just come out to rage. It doesn't matter if I'm playing "Love's Not Enough," they just want to rage. It's always been that way, and I don't really know why. When I was doing shows in ATL there was a dude who would come in a helmet, straight up, because the mosh pits got so gnarly. That's just the type of shit that I love. Even tonight, there was an energy that started swaying, a pit that was dying to start, just begging. I just like motherfuckers to come to my shows and lose it, share the passion, let go.
On smoking, drinking, and his friendship with tourmate Wiz Khalifa:
We're like the yin and the yang. He smokes massive amounts of marijuana and I drink massive amounts of alcohol. He's probably got the better habit, honestly--alcohol's a little more dirty. You can pretty much function on good weed, but you can't function after 24 beers. Wiz steps on stage and just chills, and I get up there and lose it. But we just connect. I could see me and Khalifa kicking it 20 years from now on the porch in some rocking chairs, him smoking a big blunt and me drinking Jack Daniels, just talking about the good old days.