Evan Nabavian was photo shopped out of this photo.
For all the promise and accolades, the road to Yelawolf’s debut album did not inspire confidence. He signed a deal with the reanimated corpse of Shady Records and released two singles conceived by witless Interscope A&Rs. I was loath to admit it, but Radioactive seemed destined to the same fate as Attention Deficit: to squander talent and hype on a grotesque composite of songs meant to appeal to everyone and inevitably no one. When I heard “Throw It Up” a week before the album came out (read: leaked), my hope in Radioactive was renewed one last time.
The entry on “banger” in this year’s edition of the industry playbook says go get a Lex Luger beat that sounds like World War III. Instead, “Throw It Up” uses a dainty piano loop and synth stabs to square all the attention on three entrancingly powerful rappers. Yelawolf sets the scene in a trailer park and raps with a volatile double-time flow. Eminem makes his obligatory appearance on the album count; he’s passionate and keeps Yela’s pace, but he phones in the lyrics.
Surprisingly, Gangsta Boo is the dominant voice on the track with a terrifying wall of female blunt force. It’s more than an exercise in fast rap. “Throw It Up” puts a fresh face on country rap for the Eminem fans who are hearing it for the first time. If only Radioactive had another fifteen songs just like it.