Around the half-way mark of Yelawolf's hugely successful set this afternoon, he popped open a Rainier and told the crowd he wanted to pay tribute to the Beastie Boys.
Renee McMahon Yelawolf played Bumbershoot's TuneIn stage on Sunday, September 2.
The beat to "Fight for Your Right" kicked in, and the crowd went bonkers. To that point, Yelawolf had been striking me as an over-serious white rapper with a chip the size of Bubba Sparxxx on his shoulder. So to see him crack a beer and a smile was a relief. But then things got white. After a few bars of "Fight For Your Right," three more Beastie Boy beats were worked in, and then Eminem's "I Am." After that came Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man."Were there any doubt at that point that Yelawolf was crafting an ode to members of the white race, the song that followed, "White Boy Shit," should have erased it.
Obviously, hip-hop's history and the penchant it puts on personal narrative makes it nearly impossible for a rapper to not address race. Yet Yelawolf's white pride reached proportions that seemed more appropriate for whatever Republicans are left in Tampa than this liberal bastion of Obama supporters. "Heart of Dixie" was tattooed across his chest, and an American flag around what looked like a machine gun ran from his armpit to his boxers. When it came to telling some girl in his lyrical narrative to dance, he did so by saying, "Go white girl, it's your birthday."
To be clear, Yelawolf said nothing that led me to think he was in any way racist, nor do I think his obsession with being white suggests he is.
What I will say is that for all his strengths as an emcee, Yelawolf's tacky approach to race makes me thankful that he is a rare breed.
Yelawolf held the biggest weed party of Bumbershoot so far
Maybe it was the fact that it was 4:20 and Tony Bennett had forced everyone under 30 out of the Key Arena, but Yelawolf played host the biggest weed party I've witnessed so far this Bumbershoot.
Where I was, there was some initial sheepishness amongst the cliques of 17 year olds when it came to lighting up, but numbers made them bolder, and by the end of the set, quick swaps of dollars for nuggets abounded (One seller I saw deserves special mention, with his "take how much you think $20 is worth" policy with his bag. There's a place in heaven for that man).