Yelawolf x Complex: The "Mantras" Interview & Video

Since we first started taking notice of Yelawolf, a.k.a. Michael Wayne Atha, we've kept a close watch on the Gadsden, Alabama rapper. We checked in with him when he signed with Interscope, and given that he recently released his first major label project, Trunk Muzik 0-60, which happened to make our year-end list for best albums, we thought it'd be a great time for us find out the rules he lives by for the December/January issue's "Mantras" page (see the Kanye West and Ke$ha covers on stands now). Watch the video above for Yelawolf's tour of the Five Points neighborhood in Atlanta, and keep reading below to find out what 'Bama's finest has to say about religion, family, and setting the vibe in the studio...

As Told To Dominic Green (@dom_izzo)
Photography by Zach Wolfe

MAKE MOOD MUSIC.
Yelawolf says: If I come to the studio in the mood to party and do a record that's full of energy, then I'll call up all my homies, get a 12-pack of beer, smokers will be smokin', drinkers will be drinkin', and we'll just set a vibe to capture that energy. But all records are different. I did a session with Will Power and he just walked in and went right to the grand piano in the room and started playing. We didn't put any drums on the record. It was just piano and me. So you never know what to expect.

FOLLOW YOUR OWN FAITH.
Yelawolf says: A church never made sense to me because I always thought if Jesus was to ever come back, he would be a gangster. When he was around, he was hardcore. He hung around vagabonds, hookers, and thieves, so to me he's just another homie who happened to be ultra-touched. I don't shun anybody else who does their thing, because church really does work for people. I'm not here to try and change the way people think, I just know what works for me. To me, Jesus rides a Harley.

FIND YOUR MOTIVATION.
Yelawolf says: There are definitely different reasons why a man works. A person without family can still be extremely successful, but why? My reason to acquire or need to acquire success is totally different from that. I'm out there to prove I'm worth being there. It's not like I'm headlining; I'm out there to destroy. It's like going into battle. If I didn't have my family, I would be a fuckin' nutcase. I would be Amy Winehouse, straight Jim Morrison. But family keeps me grounded for sure.

LEAVE IT ALL ON STAGE.
Yelawolf says: I've had my lip busted so many times from jumping into the crowd with the mic and having it bust me right in the lip. I've had blood leaking all out of my mouth. But I have to go all out. I've never snapped on anybody, because I'm inciting that energy. It can be uncontrollable, because if dudes want to fight, they're going to fight. If something happens, I jump into the crowd myself. But I like people jumping on the stage. Stage dive if you feelin' it. It's rock, go for it.

RELATED: Album Preview: Yelawolf, Trunk Muzik 0-60

Tags: mantras, music, yelawolf
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