REVIEW: Yelawolf – Radioactive


Artist: Yelawolf
Album: Radioactive
Genre: Hip Hop
Label: Shady

2011 has been a huge year a for hip hop. From genre-defining releases like Tha Carter 4 and Watch The Throne, to the overwhelming success of mixtape artists MODSUN and Freddie Gibbs, there is little to no doubt that this was one of the biggest years for the hip hop community in recent memory. Now, arriving just in time to close out the year by helping us get through the holiday season, Shady Records’ Yelawolf has dropped his debut record and made it clear that there is still a lot great new music to experience before we close out the year.

Even though November has found itself packed with hip hop releases, practically no two have been alike thus far. Pusha T talked drug rap like no one’s business, Childish Gambino referenced pop culture the way most reference bitches, and Drake showed us that wearing your heart on your sleeve no longer has to be a sign of weakness in this tough man’s arena. With Radioactive, Yelawolf showcases the wide range of possibilities within the genre. From the the songs made to set the night off right (“Let’s Roll” and “Hard White”), to the introspective (“Everything I Love The Most”), autobiographical (“Get Away”), and even romantic (“The Hardest Love Song In The World”), Radioactive keeps you on your toes while continuing to deliver again and again.

All of this good aside, Radioactive suffers from a major identity crisis. Where both Shady Records and Yelawolf have built reputations for creating complete records that flow well, Radioactive plays like a grab bag of “maybe this will be a hit” and “sounds like old stuff that diehard fans will like.” While it initially probably won’t impact listeners too heavily, this lack of cohesion causes for repeat listenings to fall apart into “skip it or keep it” rotation. That’s not to say the music itself is bad, the majority of the record’s fifteen tracks are good, but the collision of ideas simply does not work because you want it and/or force it and ultimately ends up holding the entire record back from reaching its true potential.

Yelawolf is an artist that took me a few listens to fully appreciate, but having finally done so, I cannot wholeheartedly recommend every fan rush out to buy Radioactive. While still one of the strongest MCs in the game, super-glossed production and a complete lack of cohesion cause Yelawold’s Shady Records debut to fall apart and age much sooner than other genre releases. I suggest previewing the record on your favorite streaming service, grabbing your favorite tracks off iTunes, then adding them to his old mixtures and calling it good. You will not only save money, but also save yourself from questioning this stunning talent because his album simply does not live up to his abilities and really, that is a damn shame.

SCORE: 7/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

Check it out: Watch Yelawolf’s official video for “Hard White”

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Anonymous

    Nice album, I like it. This reviewer is on glue. He’s just experimenting with flows. Also, Eminem killed his verse on the album. Like Jay says, “you want my old shit, buy my old album”

  • Grant Trimboli

    On glue? hahaha

    Definitely not but nice try there. Thanks for reading!