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Eminem Signs Cherokee Rapper Yelawolf

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The biggest news in the hip hop world last week was that Eminem's Shady Records is back in business with two significant signings: supergroup Slaughterhouse and indie sensation Yelawolf. Hailing from Gadsden, Alabama, Yelawolf is half Cherokee, and his stage name is inspired by his heritage. As he told ShockMansion:

"Yelawolf is Native American. My father is Cherokee and I’m from Cherokee county – Gadsden, Alabama. Yela represents light, the sun, power, fire, hunger and Wolf represents my ability to survive… my fierceness."

For Yelawolf, it's a vote of confidence, if not a new start. He was briefly signed to Columbia records in 2007 but left that label, then resurfaced in 2010 on a number of collaborations and the commercial mixtape Trunk Muzik 0-60, released on DGC/Interscope. The jump to Shady Records (also distributed by Interscope) is a priceless thumbs-up from today's most influential rapper. As Yelawolf said in a prepared statement quoted at the L.A. Times' Pop & Hiss blog:

"Considering where I’m from and the [stuff] I’ve been through, it’s hard to put into words what partnering with Shady means to me, my team at Ghet-O-Vision, and my state of Alabama ... I can tell you that when you’re willing to give your life up to see a dream through, the reward is great. And now that I’ve become an apprentice to one of the greatest artists in the world, my potential reaches beyond anything I ever imagined."

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