Yelawolf: ‘Working is the Ultimate Gratitude For Being Alive;’ Also, Talks Covid Scare and New Whiskey

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This week on The Fred Minnick Show, it’s American rapper YelaWolf’s turn to hang out with Fred and imbibe. The Alabama-born YelaWolf, whose given name is Michael Wayne Atha, released his sixth studio album, Ghetto Cowboy, last fall on Eminem’s Shady Records label. On the podcast, he and Fred sip bourbon and talk about topics like Creek Water Whiskey – YelaWolf’s whiskey brand – musical collaborations, work ethic, his connections in the music industry and more.

Whiskeys tasted:

  • Creek Water Whiskey (8:46)
  • MB Roland (48:57)
  • Unknown Barrel Tasting at MB Rowland Distillery (51:10)


Fred and YelaWolf cover a number of topics, such as:

  • YelaWolf talks about how his whiskey brand, Creek Water Whiskey, came to be.
  • He tells Fred about how he has enjoyed whiskey in the past, with well known brands like Jack Daniel’s, and shares that he took a trip with his father to Woodford Reserve.
  • Fred congratulates YelaWolf on creating what, essentially, is his own personal culture, known as “Slumerican,” which has its own clothing and jewelry line and more. Generally speaking, a slumerican, according to, refers to someone “who was born and raised in the ghettos or slums of the United States of America.”
  • YelaWolf shares his gratitude toward not only his mother and grandfather for his work ethic, but also his friend, rapper Jelly Roll.
  • He also talked about his family culture growing up. There was no sleeping in, no milling about the house in pajamas – when you wake up, you get up and get ready for the day.
  • YelaWolf was friends with Winona Judd and Shooter Jennings as a kid, and had a lot of music connections through his mother that helped him in his music career.
  • When Fred tells YelaWolf he drinks whiskey for a living, he elicits a laugh – then YelaWolf says, “That’s a hell of a way to make a living. You know what? I do too, actually.”
  • As true whiskey nerds are wont to do, Fred and YelaWolf talk about condensation in the necks of whiskey bottles.
  • Fred tells YelaWolf the story of how he became a whiskey writer.
  • They also talk about how both have intense senses of smell – and how there’s always one guy who farts on the tour bus. This leads to what happens when a tour bus toilet is dumped while the bus is moving. Listen carefully for the yacht party story.
  • Did you know you can’t get Foster’s beer in Australia? So says YelaWolf.
  • YelaWolf talks about the evolution of hip hop from sampling to now, and tries to speculate on where it might go from here, noting that there are fewer rules than in pretty much any other genre of music.
  • He talks about having a new record ready to drop, that will also have a companion film that will be shot in Mexico. Look for a non-traditional release. Oh, and it’s a rock ‘n’ roll album.
  • Fred thanks YelaWolf for pushing him to find a creative way to conduct their interview.
  • YelaWolf also talks about his trips to Russia, including his latest one just as the coronavirus pandemic was breaking in the U.S. YelaWolf said he had COVID-19.
  • Fred revisits his interview with Killer Mike and the story of him attending YelaWolf’s birthday party, when a group rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama” broke out.
  • They finish things out by trying whiskey straight from a five-year-aged barrel at MB Roland Distillery … with Sasquatch.


YelaWolf on his work ethic: “I just think that working is the best way to show gratitude for being alive. I think that laziness is the ultimate sin, if there is such a thing. I work hard because I have a lot of ideas and I have a lot to do in my lifetime. I have more ideas than I could ever really get done. … My work ethic is not for the sane. I think you have to be a little crazy to think about the impossible being actually possible.”

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