Interviews - Music
Yelawolf – Road to Stardum
Yelawolf is the 3rdEliminated Contestant in the episode that aired Wednesday,
January 19, 2005
ROAD TO STARDUM, airsWednesdays at 8 PM ET/PT on UPN
Q) How did you get your name, Yelawolf?
A) Yelawolf is Native American. It comes from growth. It’ssomething that you grow into. It’s not something that is given to you over aday. Yelawolf is deep. It’s too deep to go into, but just know it’s NativeAmerican and it represents my heritage.
Q) What made you originally decide to become a rapper?
A) I have been skateboarding since I was seven years old andalong with that culture comes a lot of music, skateboard videos, the people whoyou are surrounded by and a lot of hip-hop. I just started really getting intohip-hop in Nashville, Tennessee where I lived at the time. A couple people hadsome Run DMC and Big Daddy Kane records and I just got hooked. I got hooked tothe style of Beastie Boys especially. That was all she wrote! I went to schooland was surrounded by black culture. I was inspired at school and just startedwriting and that was it from there. I just fell in love with it.
Q) Who are some of your favorite music artists?
A) I would say Eight Ball, Souls of Mischief, Hieroglyphics,Hendrix and Jim Morrison.
Q) Why did you decide to apply for the show?
A) When I heard about the show it was called “The Search forthe Next Superstar. Although I didn’t consider myself a “superstar,” I figuredanything hip-hop or having to do with having some exposure it would be a goodopportunity like to try out for the show.
Q) What was your audition process like for the show?
A) It was spontaneous! I actually got a call the day beforeand someone faxed me an application from online. I drove to Atlanta the nextmorning and the lines were really long. It was tedious and a fast pacedaudition. You had to do what you had to do and that was it. From Atlanta to LA,it was all the same, really fast paced. New York was the same. It wasspontaneous and unexpected.
Q) What was it like meeting Missy Elliott?
A) Meeting Missy was cool. I like Missy’s music a lot morethan I like Missy. I don’t get star struck because I’m used to being aroundwell-known artists. It was cool. I enjoyed it.
Q) What was it like on the tour bus?
A) I thought the tour bus was really dope. The graffiti wascool. I didn’t like how dirty it was inside, that was kind of lame how they didthat. As far as the character of the bus, I dug it. It made me feel like I wasat home.
Q) What did you learn about music and the entertainment industry from beingon the show?
A) I learned that reality TV is whack. I’m dazed. I’ve alsolearned that people can only take so much real when it comes to television. Myelimination on the show was unjustified. I thought it was bad then, butwatching it now it was even worse. I learned, first of all, that I keep goodcomposure. I learned a lot about myself. I thought I handled myself well. Ialso learned how to better my appearance behind the camera. It’s definitelysomething that you learn; being someone who is good behind the camera is alearned trait. It’s not something that comes natural to me, but outside of mymusic, it is something that hopefully I will grow into. As of now, I’m anartist. I’m not an actor.
Q) What are you going to do now that you are no longer onthe program?
A) I have been writing since the fifth grade, almost fifteenyears I’ve been rapping. This show is only a piece of what I’ve been doing fora long time. Nothing has changed, thus far, besides people knowing who I am.I’m still at home, grinding every day. As soon as I got back, I hit the streetand started selling my CDs. The day of, almost! Things haven’t changed for meat all, as far as my grind. More people know my face and it’s getting easier toget attention to get them to listen to me for a couple minutes, but for themost part things are still the same.
Q) Who do you plan on keeping in touch with anyone fromthe show?
A) I don’t think it would be wise to really associatemusically with anybody from this show. I’m really trying to separate myselffrom this. I’m on a new journey now. That is yesterday’s news to me right now.I have to move forward with this exposure and keep it going. To associatemyself with anybody from the cast, it’s too early now. Maybe in some yearsahead, but right now it would be a gimmick. People would know what’s up. Maybefive years from now we’ll see who is still in the game. I definitely will beand if anybody else is still around then we’ll see. I love Marcus. I love Akil.Frank is dope. They are great artists and I’d love to work with them, but likeI said, it just looks bad right now too quick.
Q) How did you feel performing in front of music legendsDallas Austin and Tina Marie?
A) Honestly, I didn’t recognize their faces. I didn’trecognize any of them, except for Tina Marie. Dallas I didn’t recognize atfirst so until they said their names I was cool, but after they said who theywere it was a little nerve-wracking. After the first judgment, after I got apiece of how they were judging people, it changed my perception of Dallas. TinaMarie had my back for the most part, she was being pretty cool, but Dallasthrough me for a big loop. I think Tina felt where I was coming from as farspiritually, where my soul was at in this music.
Q) Why do you think Missy picked Melissa over you?
A) Politics. I didn’t dig Dallas Austin’s beat and I toldMissy at the table that it was whack. It was just too much for them. Theyshowed the kids with blank faces while I was up there rapping and that didn’thappen. Missy was saying how I was out of character and that was lame. Shedoesn’t even know my character, to even say I was out of character. Secondly,they didn’t show me hyping up the crowd when we came out. Point blank, it waspolitics. That’s all it was.
Q) Do you think you put your foot in your mouth by sayingto Missy that you didn’t like the beat to her song?
A) Hell no! I would tell them again. I’m a producer and Ilike hot beats. Great songs are composed of two things great lyrics and greatmusic. Period. It’s not one of the other. That’s just how I feel.
Q) How did you come up with your performance idea for the high schoolchallenge?
A) Coming out there, getting them hype, was justspontaneous. That’s just my experience working the crowd. As far aschoreographing, that was made up outside a couple of hours beforehand. Rappingthat verse was just a verse that I had that fit that little part.
Q) As a mural painter, was the junkyard project thatdifficult a challenge for you, aside from the emotional aspect?
A) It came pretty natural, I think. The pieces I saw in thejunkyard just made sense to me. It really started to come together when I foundthe lawnmower and then I knew whom I wanted to dedicate it to and how I wantedto build it. Things just started to fall in my lap.
Q) How do you feel about Nic using his looks to getadvancement in the competition?
A) For him to be able to do that, it just makes Missy lookbad. This show is about Missy Elliott and it’s not about the contestants,obviously. Why would you even bring someone to the show to diss them oversomebody like Nic? It doesn’t make any sense to me. It does now that I knowshe’s about to drop her album, but it doesn’t make sense to me how someone soyoung and naive can make it past someone like myself. I’m not a green rapper.I’m not a green producer. I’ve been around the block and I think they knew thatand that’s why I’m gone and he’s still there.
Q) What advice do you have for future contestants?
A) Know what you are getting into. Maintain your focus. Aslong as you are who you are, it doesn’t matter where you are at or what you’redoing. It’s really going to shine through and you’ll be able to overcomeanything that’s thrown at you if you just stay true and don’t lie. When you lieabout yourself and who you are it gets thrown back up in your face. This isn’tthe most humble way I would have wanted to enter the game, but sometimes whatyou want and what you need are two different things. God has different plansfor you. So, I didn’t expect to come into the game like this, but this is whereI’m at and I’m taking it full fledged.
Q) Who do you see winning?
A) I think for what they are looking for, Jessica is themost worthy person on there. I think Akil or Marcus deserves it. I thinkJessica fits what they’re looking for. After they kicked me off, I was thrown.It was like, “Ok, I see what’s going on.” So, who knows?
Q) What would you like to say to your fans andsupporters?
A) I would just like to say look out because it’s reallygoing to go down this year. Just listen. To all the people who have beenwatching me and watching the show, you haven’t seen not even the tip of theiceberg. You’re not even to the iceberg. You’re still on a ship out in theocean looking at the iceberg. You have no idea what is in store and what Ihave. Be ready, I’m very passionate and I’m going to bring you great music.Bottom line, I produce and record for my team. We’re bringing it really wild sojust be ready to get great music. I’m going to bring you what you want to hear.