One inspirational quote says that no situation is permanent and Yelawolf is living proof. He came from poverty and never knew stability. His mother moved from place to place, and the rapper attended 15 schools by the time he graduated high school. Still, against all odds, he has overcome the hard life of being homeless, fishing in dangerous seas, and even selling drugs to become a millionaire. Below is the story of how Yelawolf's net worth reached $4.5 million.
Being Influenced Musically
Yelawolf's mother had him when she was 16, and becoming a teenage mum never kept her from her living a wild life. According to The Masquerade, the day he was born, Yelawolf's mother strapped him to a stroller and went to the mall. By the time Yelawolf turned a week old, he had been to as many parties as his mother could attend. She dated men in the music world, and they played a huge part in influencing him musically. Besides dating a sound engineer, the rapper's mum also partied with people who listened to different kinds of music, from country to classic rock to hip-hop. At six years old, Yelawolf had been on stage with Dwight Yoakam and was introduced to hip-hop by his mum's boyfriend. He was also exposed to rap music when his mother moved to Nashville from Alabama. As a bartender, she had to do everything possible to fend for her son. Thus she moved around looking for a job. When they moved to Nashville, Yelawolf got a taste of hardcore gangster rap and kept thinking he could give it a try. Therefore, when he was in fifth grade, Yelawolf took the leap of faith and started rapping. While it was unusual for a white kid to be rapping, Yelawolf was not intimidated. He told Village Voice that he was inspired by another white kid, Eric McNally, who went by the name Southside Hustler. McNally owned Cadillacs and Mercedes Benzs from being a rapper, and Yelawolf knew that he too could make it big in the music industry.
Working Different Jobs to Survive
Despite believing that he could be a rapper and even writing rap music, Yelawolf did not think he could pursue it professionally. Instead, he tried making money by selling drugs and skateboarding. According to his interview with Complex, Yelawolf moved to Berkeley when he was around 19, hoping to become a professional skateboarder. Unfortunately, he found others much more skilled than him; hence even attempting would be wasting his time. Besides, he kept getting hurt so badly that it did not make sense to persist. Life was hard; he was homeless, so he decided to return home to Alabama and asked his mother to buy him a plane ticket. Without any fishing experience, the rapper still got a job in Alaska. He worked every day for 20 hours a day, and the salary was around $1,500. The fishing job lasted for one season, and it was time to move on to other ventures. Yelawolf had started smoking weed at 11. As published by Chicago Tribune, he smoked PCP and cocaine at 13. He later attempted hallucinogens like mescaline and peyote. The hallucinogens resulted in him being scared and stressed for months, so he gave up using them. Since he was not new to drugs, after the fishing job, he began selling them. He barely broke even because he sold a lot for too little money thus resorted to construction jobs out of town.
Getting His Breakthrough in Music
In 2000, Yelawolf met WillPower, a music producer, and they hit it off. In 2001, the two were broke, struggling to feed their families and still make music. By 2006, he was in Atlanta with Jeremy Jones and Brother Bear, his managers. He lived in a trailer park in Huntsville because his music was yet to earn him a record deal. However, Brother Bear gave Yelawolf's demo tape to KP of Ghet-O-Vision; it became the start of his professional musical journey. In 2007, the rapper struck a record deal with Columbia records. Unfortunately, when Rick Rubin took over, Yelawolf was dropped from the label. He started making rock music and, joined a band hoping to get another deal. However, the labels they approached were looking for a rap album, so Yelawolf made a mixtape "Trunk Muzik."
It garnered so much attention that Island Def Jam Records and Atlantic Records were interested in signing him, but the rapper chose Interscope Records. In 2011, Yelawolf released "Radioactive," which, according to HipHopDX sold 51,472 units in its first week. It was also streamed over 2.75 million times within a week of its release. In 2015, the rapper released "Love Story," his third studio album, which sold a little over 40,000 units within its first week. While he has continued to release more songs and albums, Yelawolf also wanted to help other hip-hop artists not have difficulty looking for a good label. He, therefore, founded Slumerican in 2012 and has signed musicians like Bubba Sparxxx and Ritz. Record labels can make at least $50,000 a year. Hence Slumerican has fetched Yelawolf a fortune for the years it has been in operation.
Running a Business
Yelawolf told Forbes that when he moved to Nashville in 2011, he wanted to build a retail space specializing in a tattoo parlor and barbershop. He met with Mike Wolfe, best known for "American Pickers," who had bought a building and was looking for an ideal partner. The two partnered, as Wolfe focused on how the rapper's popularity would help attract clients. The building, therefore, became the flagship store for Slumerican but the rapper's vision was more than just music. He expanded the store to be a tattoo and barbershop; thus, Yelawolf partnered with Vilot, the owner of Sim's chain of barbershops. With Vilot already boasting a celebrity client list, including Rihanna, Eminem, and Adele, Yelawolf knew he was on the right track. By 2017, he was proud that the business was flourishing. The earnings from the shop combined with his salary as a resident producer at House Blues already had Yelawolf's net worth on an upward trajectory.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee