Yelawolf, Hopsin

For as volatile as it sounds, the actual dictionary term for "radioactive" leaves a lot to the imagination. But just as he does with every word he spits, Ghet-O-Vision/Shady recording artist Yelawolf gives it new life and meaning. Making it a fitting title for his official debut album.

"I think its a perfect word to describe where I'm going," says the Alabama born rapper. "It's the fallout, the aftermath of everything I've been through and here's what's left. This radioactive material."

With a life story that no book could contain, the artist born Michael Atha could have auditioned for the "most interesting man in the world" title. Geograpically, he was born in a state that rests between Mississippi and Georgia but mentally he was raised in a state of constant change. Bouncing around between Alabama and Tennessee as a child, Wolf's upbringing exposed him to the impoverished realities of both White America's trailer parks and Black America's ghettos.

The duality would finally define itself on a fateful evening where his mother was playing host to a group of friends who happened to be the roadie crew for rapstars Run DMC. It was that night where Wolf, who was raised on a healthy dosage of Southern Rock, would hear songs like "My Adidas" and Beastie Boys "Paul Revere" for the first time. From that point on he knew that Hip Hop was now in his DNA. Unfortunately up to this point Wolf had to battle Hip Hop listeners who judged by outside appearance...but he's winning that fight now.

After years of toiling in the rap chitlin circuit, the mixtape matrix and doing hooks for a spectrum of artists ranging from Juelz Santana to Slim Thug, Wolf broke out in grand fashion with his critically acclaimed independent release Trunk Muzik (Ghet-O-Vision Ent.) on New Year's Day 2010. Prideful boasts on songs like "I Wish" ("I wish a motherfucker would tell me that I ain't Hip Hop/Bitch! You ain't Hip Hop!) made listeners look beyond his tattoo-decorated skin and respect his skills. The excitement, paired with his unforgettable live shows, led to numerous magazine covers a record deal through Ghet-O-Vision/Interscope and then a partnership with Shady Records. The label founded by the man who many naysayers opted to unfavorably compare him to, Eminem.

"There is a fair comparison between us," says Wolf. "But the true difference is vocal. The cadence and the words I use. There are words that I can rhyme that he can't just because of my Southern accent. I can go to totally different places because of my slang alone."

He wastes no time taking you to these places on Radioactive. With an additional meaning of aspiring to be "active on the radio" the album's first single "Hard White" featuring club music kingpin Lil Jon is a dark, 808-fueled uppercut that shows traces of the 3-6 Mafia influence he picked up while living in Tennessee. Wolf takes it even further on "Throw It Up" featuring former Mafia member Gangsta Boo and Eminem, pulling from both sides of the tracks he was raised on.

"Juxtaposition is very comforting for me," he says. "You can't stare at a square, that's boring. But if it's broken, you stare at it longer and try to figure it out. This song is culturally impactful."

With skateboarding being his first love before his affair with Hip Hop, Yelawolf already traveled the country living everywhere between California and New York, crashing on couches and park benches. So when he writes national anthems like "Made In the USA" that pairs lyrics about the dirt with a flowery hook, know that it comes from the perspective of a fly that has been in the dumps, not just on the wall.

"The grit and gutters are what I know the most about," says Wolf who also had a stint as an artic fisherman in Alaska. "I always believed that the people who build the cars, clean the houses, dig the ditches and sell the drugs are the ones who make the world go round. As pretty as the hook is, it's still sarcastic. The melody is great, but I was able to hide a real vocal point behind it."

He continues to drive these points home on the tracks "Growing Up In the Gutter" featuring his Slumerican partner in rhyme Rittz and the instant smash "Let's Roll" featuring fellow American badass Kid Rock. Both of which showcase his unique ability to shift gears from Southern Hip Hop to Southern Rock all the while remaining neutral in his own lane.

""I'm one of the most honest artists out there and I've always been this way," says Wolf in mentioning his crotch-kicking manifesto "No Hands" where he shoots at naysayers and imitators. "It doesn't matter what music I make whether I'm rapping on an 808 or over a guitar. I have a birth right to talk about these things that I do."

Radioactive is also Yelawolf's opportunity to open up and share some of the non-musical experiences that have made him the man and artist he is today.

On "I See You," a song inspired by a talk with his grandmother, he talks about hitting rock bottom before finally realizing that you had the best in life all along. With "The Hardest Love Song In the World" he stays true to the title admitting that it's two parts difficult writing a "rap ballad," especially about the special type of woman he likes. Then in the appropriately named "The Last Song" he talks about his rocky relationship with his estranged biological father, for the final time.

"I'm not mad at him and I don't have a grudge," he says. "But I just had to get that off, musically."

Though he's been releasing material since the early 2000's, Radioactive qualifies as Yelawolf's official "debut." Unlike his prior efforts that were recorded in basements and garages, only to be appreciated by his first core of loyal fans, this album was captured amidst rigorous touring, growing anticipation and now, expectation. If his ability to survive the last ten years are any indication, Wolf will rise to the occasion and beyond.

"I see this album as my Southernplayalistic and I hope it does what "Hey Ya!" or "B.o.B" did for Outkast," says the artist who was featured on Big Boi's 2010 single "You Ain't No DJ" that was produced by Andre 3000. "The goal of making albums is seeing where else you can go. I made sure everything I made was at the core, true to what i was."

It would probably be easier if we told you what Hopsin doesn't do, but Hop is an MC, producer, director, actor, and editor. And his journey has been anything but painless.

Like many kids, Hopsin wanted to be "cool". But as hard as he tried, he never graduated past being that "weird black kid" that rode around on a skateboard. He tried to get attention by making people laugh, but he always ended up being the butt of the joke. He wrote songs for girls to get them to like him, but got no love.

Stuck in special education classes, Hopsin did not see much of a future. His teachers did nothing but reinforce the feelings that he wouldn't amount to anything; especially if he continued to waste his time attending classes where nothing was actually being taught. So with no money and only a few real friends, Hopsin dropped out of school in 2004.

Despite the lack of support from anyone but himself, Hopsin knew that his raw talent to rhyme would one day allow him to spit in the face of all of his critics. In the meantime, however, he had to find a way to make money. He thought his goofiness would translate to an acting career so he auditioned for several roles. The only role that he was ever able to obtain was as a "day player" on Disney's That's So Raven. He thought things were looking up from there, but nothing seemed to come through after that.

Still determined to be one of Southern Cali's premier MCs he bought an $8 microphone from Wal-Mart, installed Fruity Loops on his computer, and locked himself in the basement. Not only did he spend countless hours perfecting his own craft, he also studied the careers of artists to better understand what has made them successful. As time went by he knew that his lyrics and production had surpassed what he was hearing on the radio. He combined his skills with a new image [often seen wearing white contacts] and emerged from the basement as a complete artist. In 2007, Hopsin signed a major record deal with Ruthless Records.

Hopsin gets his inspiration from all types of music, from 50 Cent & Alicia Keyes to the All American Rejects. His creativity and raw energy come from all the people in his life that have told him that he didn't have a future. At times his lyrics can be dark and grimy, but they only reflect all of the negativity that he has had to endure in order to get to where he is today.

Hopsin founded Funk Volume to share his story, spread his message, and display his many talents. He has been on a long journey to hone his skills, and to get comfortable being who he is. Now that he has the confidence there is no one and nothing that can stop him. He has come too far and been through too much. Funk Volume represents what has made Hopsin successful...real pain, real passion, real music.

DJ Klever

DJ Klever aka Josh Winkler was born on the fourth of July in 1977. Before he could even walk, let alone strut, Josh was spoonfed the world of rhythm by way of his pops, famous blues musician, Juke Joint Johnny. At the tender age of four, Josh received his very first drum set, a ..manimall.. Muppet Show kit that he practiced playing until the skins busted.

Josh's wonder years were spent like any all-american kid: playing baseball, grinding curbs, and eating apple pie. He distinctly remembers the countless nights snuck out and hit Atlanta's local skate spots where his rep grew bigger for pushing big tricks.

At the age of sixteen, Josh..s passion for both music and tricks met the world of turntablism and Klever was born. Growing up with a hip hop background, Klever studied djs like Premiere, Cash Money, Afrika Bambaataa and Jazzy Jeff for their mixing and scratching arrangements even as a youngster; but he was also heavily influenced by the wilds of Atlanta and was a regular attendee of Freaknik. There he was intrigued by the booty music of Luke, 2 Live Crew, and Kilo.

By 1997, Klever began relentlessly competing in every local competition possible where he linked up with the Third World Citizens - Faust, Shorty, Shotgun, Craze, and T-Rock. In 2000, Klever seized the national DMC championship title and while at the international DMC competition, he was inducted into the world famous Allies crew, consisting of world-renowned turntablists such as Craze and A-Trak. Shortly after, Klever began traveling the globe a lot with Craze during so, the two released a now cult classic .. Scratch Nerds... Klever began to produce prominent break records for battle djs and producers. In 2001, Klev successfully defended his national DMC title. He then represented the states in London for the international tiltle. Later that year, he also took national ITF title in San Fransisco.

In the past 5 years, Klever has been performing his signature sets non-stop around the world (Taiwan, England, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Australia, Japan, etc). He consistently amazes crowds and party-goers from 60 to 60,000 at world renowned venues such as (but not limited to) Miami..s Ice Palace, Tai Pae..s Ministry of Sound, NYC..s Roxy and Irving Plaza, Club Fabric in London, numerous House of Blues venues throughout the U.S., El Rey Theatre in L.A., and Atlanta..s Tabernacle. He has also showcased his skills at monumental events like the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the Canadian Circa Skateboard Tour, Audiotistic in L.A., and the High Museum in Atlanta.

Klever has seen the future of his hometown because he paints it. Beyond his accredited mastery as a turntablist, his ability to combine crowd-roaring routines and mix sets with his signature party rocking steez has established his name throughout the dj circuit as ..tomorrows dj... He moves crowds in every direction from his roots of crunk, booty, and hip hop to the sweaty sounds of electro, dance-rock, b-more, new-wave, hard rock, and anything worthy to make you rock with finesse

He has released several mix CDs obtaining notoriety from culture heavy hitters such as Turntable Lab and Tablist magazine. He also two immensely popular battle break records with DJ SHOTGUN (former dj for Goodie Mob), Dirty South Breaks and Get Crunk Breaks. More commercially, his talent can be also heard on various production: Rob Swift..s (X-ecutioners) album - Sound Event, Bubba Sparxxx.. - Deliverance. To NBA BALLERS 2: PHENOM.

Not only audibly, KLEVER's skills have been featured in numerous DVDs: the film Scratch (a DJ documentary awarded at the Sundance Music Festival, A-TRAK..s Sunglasses are a Must, Stanton..s - Step-By-Step (instructional), Tableturn..s - A Great Day In Turntablism, the 2000 & 2001 USA/World DMC Championships, the 2001 ITF USA Championships, 2002 & 2003 USA and JAPAN ALLIES Invitational All Star Beatdown, and the upcoming ALLIES (untitled) self produced DVD.

KLEVER is currently a member of the world famous ALLIES/ammo rec. /STPCHLD crew, He is working on collaborative projects that encompass the street culture lifestyle through music art and fashion. Between touring nonstop and his dedicated lab time, you can find Klever maintaining his monthly residency at Atlanta..s most off-the-wallest party otherwise known as Sloppy Seconds.

TITLES AND AWARDS:
1999 Guitar Center South Eastern Regional 1st place Champion
1999 Kool Mixx Atlanta 1st place Champion
2000 Atlanta DMC Regional 1st place Champion
2000 USA DMC 1st place Champion
2001 USA DMC 1st place Champion
2001 DMC World Champion 2nd place Runner up
2001 ITF USA 1st place Champion (Advanced Categories)
2001 Atlanta Kool Mixx 1st place Champion
2002 USA Kool Mixx 1st place Champion
2003 Atlanta Nike Battle Ground 1st place Champion
2003 Rough Raleigh DJ Battle 1st place Champion
2004 Breaklanta 1st place Champion

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Yelawolf, Hopsin with DJ Klever

Thursday, November 14 · 7:00 PM at Marquee Theatre