Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 10th 2010 11:03PM by Carl Atiya Swanson
Describe your sound in your own words.
OutKast, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Beastie Boys, Twista. A mash-up of all of that.
What are your musical influences?
I first got introduced to hip hop at a really young age. I didn't know how to define it. I heard [the Beastie Boys] "Paul Revere" and when I heard it, nobody handed me the music and said, "This is hip hop." I just heard it and fell in love with the sound of it. To me it was just rock, because that's what I was raised on, rock and roll and country. So fast forward up to Nashville where I started learning how to put a culture together and how to define hip hop, that's when it started making sense to me. Around the 5th and 6th grade I started experimenting with writing and just really kept it as a hobby along with heavy skateboarding, soaking up music that was coming out of Tennessee, through Tennessee, like UGK, Triple Six Mafia, Skinny Pimp and OutKast, obviously, a little later on. For skateboarders, underground music started coming up through skateboarding videos like Hieroglyphics. I listened to Wu Tang super early. Because of skateboarding I was getting put up on music that otherwise I would have never heard. I was blessed, man, to get a huge array of hip hop at a pretty young age, being from the South, so my influences are a mash up of rap and rock, combined with all that hip hop I was getting through the streets and skateboarding.
How did you start rapping?
I always had a knack for it, I would grab a mic at a party, at a house party and just start rapping with my homies, kicking back and having fun with it. I felt like I had a talent so I started trying to practice and keep writing. It wasn't until I was up in Berkley, California, I was trying to pursue a profession in skateboarding but I kept on getting hurt and I just realized that I would never make it as a professional skateboarder, period. I stood up and pursued a music career and because I'm an extremist I did it a thousand percent, I was real obsessive about being the absolute best I could be. It's not a fallback career at all, it's all I have. I dropped out of school in 9th or 10th grade, man, the only other jobs I had were throwing bricks, throwing fish, ditch digging, all that shit. Just blue collar. I don't want to make just ten dollars an hour for the rest of my life. This is what I want to do.
How did you come up with your name?
Yelawolf is Cherokee, my dad is Cherokee and "yela" represents the sun, which is light and life and fire and "wolf" represents my ability to survive and be a pack leader.
You were really briefly signed to Columbia Records, what happened there?
Columbia was short-lived. We signed with Columbia and Rick Rubin came shortly after and rearranged the company to his liking so we uprooted and went back to Atlanta and we've remained independent up until this point, we're still just Ghet-O-Vision. That was a blessing though, because the past two years they've been great; learning, becoming a better artist, pushing myself to be better, the team getting tighter, getting better at working and really just understanding how much we can get done by ourselves. We've gotten so much done with four people, it just really puts into perspective where a major label stands. It's hard work, but you can make a lot happen with a good four man crew.
A lot of your songs center around car culture. What's your favorite car?
My favorite vehicle is the box Chevy Caprice. I like the '79 model, I like the '85 and '83 box Chevy, low hanging and I mean it's part culture, part of the culture of Alabama is why I love it. The Caprice Classic is my favorite, but also a favorite is the Chevy Silverado longbed, '79 box frame truck, that shit's "Ooh!" I don't know what it is that gets me, it's just the soul of the vehicle. They are heavy, they're steel, they're loud, they're mean. I like engines that sound like you're about to get slapped, I was raised on that sound. I always had Chevys around so hearing that is comforting to me.
You rock a haircut with shaved sides and long on the top and back, what's with that?
My little cousin cut my hair and I don't know, I woke one day and was like, "I think I want a mullet-hawk." For so long I would shave my head, grow it out to the middle of my back, shave my head, grow it out to the middle of my back, either long or short hair and I just wanted to do something that was interesting and matched up with my personality a little better. I figure a mullet-hawk is pretty definitive.
Carl Atiya Swanson a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.