Real Talk: The Top 15 Albums Of 2011

By: 12.30.11

Who: Yelawolf
What: Radioactive
Why: 3.5 Cigs
Label: Shady/Interscope/Ghet-O-Vision, DGC | Producers: Eminem, WillPower, Jim Jonsin, Diplo, Tha Hydrox, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Phonix Beats, The Audibles, Emanuel Kiriakou, Borgore, Mr. Pyro, Blaqsmurph, Poo Bear, Sasha Sirota

The Good: The unapologetic, unabashed, unlikely Hip-Hop superstar known as Yelawolf keep his Chevy running from last year’s Trunk Muzik victory lap to get Radioactive. The crass debut roared with fury (the Eminem/Gangsta Boo-fueled “Throw It Up”) and Alabamian pride as heard on “The Hardest Love Song In The World” and “Let’s Roll.”

The Bad: As tough as it is to swallow a jagged little pill of truth, the fact remains that the gateway to today’s mainstream radio is through a woman’s preferences. As a result, Radioactive sacrifices a chunk of its rawness in favor of an assortment of decent, albeit offsetting, blatant single material. The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League sells Yela a wolf ticket with “Write Your Name,” sculpted from the rib of “Aston Martin Music,” while chipper selections in “Good Girl” and “Animal” suffer from campy choruses aimed at Top 40 consumers.

The Lovely: At the beginning of 2010, Yelawolf was in the same boat of every rapper kept afloat on their own personal budget, dreaming of setting their sail to a bigger island. By fusing his undeniable originality with the marketing power of Shady Records, a star was born and Radioactive is toxic enough to incorporate his existing fans while exposing newbies to his powerful radiation. — TC

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