‘This was my company’: Rapper Yelawolf revisits Berkeley

There isn’t much rapper Yelawolf hasn’t seen or experienced. As his online biography notes, this “badass Alabaman” was born Michael Wayne Atha to an absentee father and a bartender mother, he attended over 15 schools while “soaking up slang and spiritualism in Baton Rouge, Antioch, Tennessee, and Atlanta”. He worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska and crossed the country on Greyhound buses exploring and honing his musical skills.

Yelawolf also spent time in Berkeley, trying to become a professional skateboarder, an effort he had to abandon due to injuries. He recently returned to Berkeley, and specifically to People’s Park, where, as he put it, he used to “keep company”.

In the video above Yelawolf talks about the time he spent here, and describes the day he decided to get up and walk away (potentially offensive language alert applies).

Yelawolf’s album Trunk Musik 0-60 came out in November, and mega-rapper Eminem signed him to his Shady Records label last month.


Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside. Email: tracey@citysidejournalism.org.