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.

Yelawolf f. Gangsta Boo & Eminem, “Throw It Up” by The FADER

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