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By Alyssa Muench
The rapper Yelawolf will be performing Wednesday at the Sanford Center. Opening for him will be Rez Rap Records, a rap group from Red Lake, MN.
Yelawolf was born in Gadsden, Alabama with the name Michael Wayne Atha. The 34 year old hip-hop recording artist is of Cherokee and Caucasian decent. He grew up in a single-parent household and never set roots in one place for very long. He considers Nashville to be an area of great influence for him, because as a child his mother would bring him there quite frequently.
Before he became the famous Yelawolf, Atha spent some time in Berkeley, California. There he was homeless, and lived in a local park. It was here that he had the defining moment that made him the man he is today. “I went down to Alabama then out to Seattle, Washington to get on a boat to make money. And that’s pretty much where Yelawolf was born,” said Atha.
Yelawolf has been performing since 2003. He was featured on the United Paramount Network reality series Road to Stardom with Missy Elliot in 2005. Since then he has signed a contract with Shady Records, a record label founded by rapper Eminem and his manager. Yelawolf will release his next Shady Record’s album Love Story in May.
The opening team of artists, Rez Rap Records, is excited to open for Yelawolf. The group agreed that they are fans of his work and the effort he put in to make himself famous. “We respect his story,” said Sheldon, a member of Rez Rap Records.
The group will be opening for five of Yelawolf’s shows. “We’ve done our own shows before, but never at this magnitude,” said Rez Rap Records member David, “This will be the biggest audience we’ve had.” The group of performers is confident that they will be ready to perform and surprise the audience. “We’re stealing every one of his [Yelawolf’s] fans,” said confident Rez Rap member Zack.
The group agrees their hard work and dedication is what got them where they are today. Rez Rap believes their work ethic and constant improvements are what landed them the opening spot for Yelawolf. “It gives us a sense of fulfillment, our hard work is paying off” said Sheldon.
With lyrics about their lives, Rez Rap Record’s goal is to have a positive impact on their audience. “We want to inspire people to do what they love,” said Sheldon. “When you do, it’s humbling,” said David.