November 30th, 2010 8:40am

High Tech Redneck

Yelawolf “Billy Crystal”

Yelawolf has a strange and compelling voice. It’s bright in tone, but oddly choked and constricted in a way that seems slightly alien. This works for him, especially when he’s in observational mode, as in this creepy ode to a rural meth dealer called Billy. He sounds like a fascinated outsider with an eye for detail, an offbeat sense of humor, and no particular interest in judging his subject. The track is alternately dazed and melodramatic, and filled out with harsh electronic textures that sound literally sick, as if the song has caught some kind of painful sci-fi flu. It’s great, highly evocative stuff — without doing anything drastic, this strikes me as a very distinct strain of hip hop that recasts familiar tropes about drug dealers and economic desperation for a different but no less depressing milieu of American culture.

Buy it from Amazon.

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