The Wolf Among Us

Yelawolf performs to a sold-out crowd on Oct. 6, 2011, at WOW Hall. Photo by Todd Cooper.
Yelawolf performs to a sold-out crowd on Oct. 6, 2011, at WOW Hall. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Sample “Till It’s Gone” from Southern rapper Yelawolf’s yet-to-be-released Love Story, and you might be surprised — first by the rich, oaky acoustic guitar line that kicks the track off and next by what the bluesy, looping arpeggios recall: the piano figure introducing Nina Simone’s classic “Sinnerman.”

The southern gospel and blues feel continues throughout the track, but “Till It’s Gone” is most definitely a rap song. The cut showcases Yelawolf’s signature intense flow and lingual gymnastics. He spits, barks, testifies and lays down staccato shotgun blasts. And the song’s chorus has such a catchy radio-ready hook, it’s hard to believe Rihanna isn’t singing it.

Yelawolf came up in the online mixtape scene, nabbed the attention of Eminem and, for a time, was hyped as hip hop’s next big thing, due in no small part to his intense live shows. But Yelawolf’s follow-up to his 2011 debut Radioactive has taken a bit too long, and some say his star has cooled. Not so fast — judging from Till It’s Gone,” there’s more to be heard from Yelawolf.

Yelawolf returns with special guests Rittz, Big Henry and DJ Klever 9 pm Tuesday, Nov. 11, at WOW Hall; $18 adv., $20 door.

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