When Michael Wayne Atha was born in 1979 in the relatively small Alabama town of Gadsden, it’s doubtful that his mother looked at her new son and said, “Future Rap superstar.” But that’s just where Atha — now known by his stage name Yelawolf — is heading.
Yela moved between Tennessee and Alabama as a child and later traveled the country in pursuit of skateboarding stardom; he also hit Alaska in pursuit of a fishing-boat job. The MC grew up on Southern Rock before discovering Hip Hop. The geographic wandering and his love of a variety of music likely explain the diversity within his own. On his official 2011 debut album, Radioactive, Yelawolf’s own geographical origins are hard to pinpoint as he filters influence from southern Hip Hop to the Detroit scene and spits it out in his own unique voice.
Even the guests on Radioactive were from all over, from Lil Jon and Mystikal to Eminem (whose Shady label released the record) and Kid Rock. During his recent performance at the huge Hangout Music Fest along the ’Bama coast in mid-May, he showed off the full range of his influences, paying tribute to The Doors, Johnny Cash, Easy-E, Metallica, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Beastie Boys.
Yelawolf is set to begin recording his sophomore record for Shady — tentatively titled Love Story — after his current tour wraps up.
YELAWOLF plays Tuesday, June 5 at Madison Theater in Covington with guest Rittz. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.