Radioactive begins with a sinister, cringe-worthy introduction: an Apple-computer voice saying that the country is about to experience nuclear fallout. It's alarming. But under every military-grade outer shell is an equally soft underbelly, and if you don't want to be exposed to Yelawolf's, you'd be well advised to stick to the first half of Radioactive.
His first official release, Radioactive starts off just as promising as the Alabama rapper's tapes, like last year's Trunk Muzik. He raps with the same whirlwind efficiency, a talent that's almost scary in its consistency. But this major-label debut doesn't achieve on the same level as Trunk Muzik.
You can tell initially by the cast of characters. Trunk Muzik mostly relied on the strength of Yelawolf's flow, with cameos from rap heroes like Bun B, Raekwon, and even Gucci Mane. The cast here is less exciting — Lil Jon, Kid Rock, and Eminem are some of the unlikely features. Eminem's verse on "Throw It Up" sounds good, but the song ends with a weird segue.
"This album needs a love song," Slim tells Yelawolf over the phone. Nevermind that he's wrong, but Yela seems confused, asking, "You mean like, for bitches?"
He's trying to be snide, but this confusion defines the rest of Radioactive. The hooks are anodyne compared to Yelawolf's razor-sharp style, and some of it is just sappy. It's certainly more club-friendly, and could be pared down into a DJ set to great effect. But minus a few standouts, the tracks that aren't produced by Yela's right-hand man, WillPower, aren't worth a listen. (Ghet-O-Vision, Shady Records, DGC, Interscope)