In the March 2011 issue of XXL magazine, Eminem announces the recent signing of Atlanta-based/Alabama-bred rapper Yelawolf to his Shady Records imprint. But it's really a lateral move for Yelawolf, who inked a deal in 2010 with Interscope Records, the same major label that distributes Shady. Already signed to Kawan Prather's Ghet-O-Vision imprint, Yelawolf became a Ghet-O-Vision/Interscope artist last year, with Interscope releasing a compilation of his 2010 mixtape: Trunk Muzik.
Yelawolf's shift from Interscope to Shady/Interscope is comparable to what happened with another local MC, B.o.B, who signed with Atlantic a couple of years ago before being shifted to T.I.'s Atlantic-distributed Grand Hustle label. It's basically a marketing strategy used by major labels to introduce new artists by pairing them with an already-established brand. Yelawolf's signing is also kicking off a rebranding of Shady Records, according to Eminem, who has also signed underground supergroup Slaughterhouse, which features Eminem's longtime frenemy Royce da 5'9".
As for Yela, his affilation with Ghet-O-Vision remains, making him a Ghet-O-Vision/Shady/Interscope artist, as he tells XXL:
“Considering where I’m from and the shit I’ve been through, it’s hard to put into words what partnering with Shady means to me, my team at Ghet-O-Vision, and my state of Alabama. I can tell you that when you’re willing to give your life up to see a dream through, the reward is great. And now that I’ve become an apprentice to one of the greatest artists in the world, my potential reaches beyond anything I ever imagined. Let’s kill this shit.”
Now, the same way T.I. introduced B.o.B to the rest of the world, Eminem will do the same for Yelawolf. But beyond that, the recognition Yela will garner as the first white rapper to get Eminem's co-sign should push his career even further.
Haystack Haystak is pissed.
But seriously, Yela, who set the streets — and the blog rap universe — on fire last year, will also bring some much needed heat to Em's arsenal, because despite having the best-selling rap release of 2010 with the critically-acclaimed Recovery, Eminem's street cred was null and void last year.
Twelve days in and already it's gearing up to be an interesting 2011.
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