Yelawolf is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. His birth name is Michael Wayne Atha, but he adapted Yelawolf as his stage name. He was born in 1979 in Alabama, and attended elementary school in Nashville. It’s in Nashville that he was exposed to hip hop music which eventually inspired his music career. According to Atha, his stage name is a Native American term. “Yela” means light and “wolf” represents survival.
In 2005, he appeared in a reality series called “The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliot”. Even though he was eliminated from the show, he landed a contract that enabled him to release his debut album Creek Water. Later that same year, he released his debut mixtape. In 2007, Yelawolf signed with Columbia Records. The single “Kickin” was taken from his first studio album that was unreleased. This album was never released and he was eventually dropped from his record label.
In 2009, Yelawolf got his biggest break when he worked with a Ghet-O-Vision producer to release his mixtape Trunk Muzik. This created a lot of buzz online, and he was able to land another record deal — this time with Interscope Records.
In the March 2011 issue of XXL Magazine, it was confirmed that he struck a record deal with Eminem and Shady Records. That same year, he released his debut album under Shady Records, titled Radioactive. He also dropped his first single off that album, “Gangsta of Love”, which was later scrapped. His first official single from the album was “Hard White (Up in the Club)”. He collaborated with Kid Rock on the album’s second single, “Let’s Roll”. Radioactive reached number 27 on the US Billboard 200 upon its official release in November 2011.
From 2012 to the present, Yelawolf has worked with a few other artists on various tracks. Some of his collaborators include Ed Sheeran, Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker, and Transplants member Tim Armstrong.
In 2013, he released another breakthrough mixtape, Trunk Muzik Returns. His second album dropped in 2015 and was called Love Story. In October 2017, he released his third album, Trial By Fire.