Yelawolf is an underground rapper from a small town in the South who found major-label success in 2011. Born Michael Wayne Atha on December 30, 1979, in Gadsden, Alabama, he made his full-length album debut with the independent release Creekwater (2005). He subsequently made the jump to Sony BMG for the release of a promotional single, “Kickin’” (2007). Disillusioned with life on a major label, he returned to the underground rap scene. Newly inspired, he worked to build an audience for himself via MySpace and mixtapes. In 2010, an appearance on Bizarre’s album Friday Night at St Andrews became an early sign that the rapper was aligning himself with Eminem’s Shady label and its family of artists. His signing to the label was announced in 2011, and by the end of the year his official debut, Radioactive, had landed. Guest shots came from Eminem, Kid Rock, Lil Jon, and Gangsta Boo, while names like Diplo, Jim Jonsin, and the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League handled production. A year later he partnered with blink-182 drummer Travis Barker for the rap-rock EP Psycho White.
About G. Love & Special Sauce
Recorded in Nashville with a slew of special guests including Robert Randolph, Marcus King, and Roosevelt Collier, ‘The Juice’ is indeed diploma-worthy. Co-produced and co-written with GRAMMY-winning icon Keb Mo,’ it’s an electrifying collection, one that tips its cap to more than a century of blues greats even as it offers its own distinctly modern pop spin on the genre, mixing programmed beats and hip-hop grooves with blistering guitar and sacred steel. G. Love’s lyrics are both personal and political here, artfully balancing his appreciation for the simple joys in life with his obligation to speak out for justice and equality, and his performances are suitably riotous and rousing to match, with infectious call-and-response hooks and funky sing-along choruses at every turn. Easy as it is to succumb to cynicism these days, the songs on ‘The Juice’ refuse, insisting instead on hope and determination in the face of doubt and despair.
“I’ve always tried to make music that’s a force for positivity,” G. Love explains. “It was important to me that this album be something that could empower the folks who are out there fighting the good fight every day. I wanted to make a rallying cry for empathy and unity.”
Born Garrett Dutton in Philadelphia, PA, G. Love grew up equally enthralled with folk, blues, and rap, devouring everything from Lead Belly and Run D.M.C. to John Hammond and the Beastie Boys. After migrating to Boston, he and his band, Special Sauce, broke out in 1994 with their Gold-selling self-titled debut, which earned widespread critical acclaim for its bold vision and adventurous production. Over the next twenty-five years, G. Love would go on to release seven more similarly lauded studio studios albums with Special Sauce (plus four solo albums on his own), solidifying his place in music history as a genre-bending pioneer with a sound The New York Times described as “a new and urgent hybrid” and NPR called a “musical melting pot.” G. Love’s magnetic stage presence, meanwhile, made him a fixture on festival lineups from Bonnaroo to Lollapalooza, and his relentless appetite for tour and collaboration landed him on the road and in the studio with artists as diverse as Lucinda Williams, Dave Matthews, The Avett Brothers, Jack Johnson, and DJ Logic.
When G. Love sings about making the world a better place, he’s not just singing about politics, though, and ‘The Juice’ serves as a beautiful exploration of the ways we can brighten our own little worlds and the worlds of those we care about on a daily basis. The gritty “SoulBQue” is a celebration of community and friendship, while the rootsy “She’s The Rock” pays tribute to all the little ways lovers can lift each other up, and the breezy “Diggin’ Roots” spins cultivating a garden into a metaphor for the importance of tending to your home and family and neighbors.
“I was going through a tough time in my life when I met my fiancé , but my whole world seemed to turn around after that,” says G. Love. “I started meditating, we had a son, and we moved out to the Cape. That’s when I stopped writing breakup songs and started writing love songs and family songs and friendship songs.”
Life is good for G. Love these days, and he’s not taking a moment of it for granted. In fact, in just the past few years alone he’s launched his own beer collaboration with Oregon’s Good Life Brewery (The Juice IPA), started his own festival in Massachusetts (The Cape Cod Roots & Blues Festival), and founded his own record label, Philadelphonic, which he aims to use as an outlet for curating both music and visual art (the cover of ‘The Juice’ features a brand new work G. Love commissioned from renowned painter Greg Haberny).
“I’m more inspired right now than I’ve ever been before,” G. Love reflects. “I feel more thoughtful, seasoned, marinated, confident. I’m making the records I’ve always wanted to make.”
Cue “Pomp and Circumstance.”
“Every single second is a blessing if you count them all,” sings frontman Matthew Roads. You can hear the sincerity in his voice; the joie de vivre that oozes from everything Tropidelic does is apparent. When they take a stage, their synergy flows member to member -– horns blow, knees kicked high and grins are passed from one man to the next. Almost immediately, it spreads to the crowd, lifting hands in the air as their feet begin to move. The pulse collectively becomes that of one.
The six-piece band from Cleveland, Ohio may be far from any tropical islands, but that doesn’t stop them from dishing out an interesting mix of reggae, hip-hop, and high energy funk for audiences across the country. Unapologetically original, Tropidelic has a deep and widespread appreciation for music that can be heard in each note. Some of the members are hip-hop heads, while others are into metal, funk or reggae. Each of these genres lends something to their collective sound. “We pride ourselves in being original in our musicality and personality as a band,” says Roads, “but also in not taking ourselves so seriously that it ruins the fun.”
Quickly elevating themselves in the live circuit, Tropidelic can be found spreading their soulful sound across the country in both intimate venues and music festivals, having shared the stage with and supported such acts as 311, Slightly Stoopid, The Dirty Heads, Pepper, The Flobots and Wookiefoot. Previously, Tropidelic has been featured at Electric Forest, California Roots Music & Art Festival, Reggae Rise Up, Warped Tour and 311 Caribbean Cruise, as well as the host of their own annual Freakstomp Music Festival.
Following on the success of their 2019 release, Here in the Heights, which debuted at #2 on the Billboard reggae charts, Tropidelic has released a series of impressive singles featuring guest appearances from Dirty Heads, Matisyahu, Devin the Dude and Shwayze. These singles have amassed over five million streams in 2020, and they are featured on their latest album, Of Illusion, which debuted on November 13th, 2020. Of Illusion was released on Billboard’s number one reggae label, Ineffable Records. Tropidelic has put in their ten thousand hours, and they have arrived on the national scene to the delight of their ever growing and rapturous fans.