Review Summary: With verbalistic rapping, fitting production and an ongoing theme of redemption, this is Yelawolf's triumphant return.
Yelawolf has established himself as a talented player in the hip-hop field. He's got everything. A unique flow, dynamic lyrics, and a clever sheen of rebelliousness to every track he releases. Most of this "trunk muzic" is deserving of acclaim. However, some of his production choices have almost led to his downfall. Most of the beats on Radioactive were seemingly designed to help Yelawolf make it up the charts. Meticulously designed hooks and instrumentals divert attention from what makes him such an interesting rapper: Erratic behavior. Throughout the course of Trunk Muzik Returns, Yelawolf embraces the failure of his previous effort, and abandons his radio friendly persona for the far more superior Catfish Billy. He's back. Recharged and reloaded. Best of all, Yelawolf's found a new enthusiasm. Radioactive damaged his legacy, but he's repairing it with nothing but a flaming hot lyrical blowtorch. I'm not calling this mix-tape a classic, but it deserves some accolades. It's well constructed and produced. Best of all, Yelawolf apologizes for his attempts to go mainstream in the track "Rhyme Room." Here's an excerpt;
"I promise you can put Trunk Muzik in a picture frame, you ain't gotta tell me/I made a mistake and some of that *** was lame/but all I wanna do is say *** that *** and please accept my change/I was only trying to people please, so people please know my name/now back to the metaphors, it's better for me to settle scores.” Yelawolf's honesty is refreshing, to say the least. The emotional and thematic content is almost irrelevant, however, as even a casual Yelawolf fan knows that most, if not all of his tracks are about drinking, fighting, smoking and trailer parks. This is a less complicated way of saying that most of Yelawolf's tracks embody the spirit of his home state: Alabama. Trunk Muzik Returns still succeeds in giving us a clear image of his mind and soul. The confessional-ism of Rhyme Room and the anthemic honesty of F.A.S.T. Ride are some of the best tracks you're going to hear from Yelawolf in general. At least, until his next LP is released.
Trunk Muzik Returns, while a quality release, has issues. Occasionally, Yelawolf suffers from attempting to adopt a strident tone that doesn't fit him well. This is apparent on "Box Chevy" and "Firestarter." Ironically, these are tracks that could have benefited from the Radioactive treatment, as subversion can sometimes be overplayed. However, as a whole, TMR is a great mix-tape that deserves the attention of any Yelawolf fan.