Yelawolf and E.O.P. Goon Squad at Legends
Kevin Noonan | Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Alabama-native rapper Yelawolf takes the stage Thursday at Legends, bringing his wide range of talents as a rapid-fire MC to campus in advance of the release of his sophomore album, “Love Story,” next month.
The rapper burst onto the hip-hop scene with his fourth mix-tape, “Trunk Muzik,” in 2010, which led to a label deal with Eminem’s Shady Record. His sound is loud, rough ⎯ in a good way ⎯ and fast, and his lyrics often delve into the depravity of a personal life that shows the hard road he took to get where he is.
Opening for Yelawolf will be two members of the E.O.P. Goon Squad, a rap group originally from Louisville but now centered at Notre Dame. Seniors Damek Mitchell and Dylan “Uno” Sonnier, who go by the stage names Slank and O.E. the King, respectively, will show off their lyrical talents after winning a contest held by Legends on Feb. 21 for the opportunity.
This represents the biggest stage so far for the group, who have been hard at work the last few years to produce independent hip-hop mix-tapes in South Bend. They talked about the dynamic they have developed as collaborating artists since beginning to work with each other.
“I come with that Louisville, knowledge-of-self kind of thing,” Mitchell said. “Uno hits with that rough, rugged and raw, Houston-born, UGK inspired sound. Together it’s lyrical frictions.”
Mitchell has released a number of mix-tapes in four years in college, including one that features the single “Lyrical Friction” that he references in the above quote. Sonnier has been featured more and more heavily lately, including on one of their most popular songs to date and the track that had the crowd at Legends going wild last month, “Goon Squad Dope.”
Their lyrics tend towards the irreverent, referencing deep cuts anywhere from David Duchovny in “The X-Files” to Ignats, Zahm’s moose. The influences on their work come from a wide range of artists, including both popular and underground artists.
“You know, Freddy Gibbs, Slim Thug, the RZA, Kanye, Sweet Petey,” Mitchell said. “It’s a pretty good group.”
Their sound to this point has been courtesy of a fellow Notre Dame student, Tom Mealey, now graduated and in the Air Force, who goes by the stage name Menace Rodman. Mealey’s beats sample from anywhere and everywhere, mixing deadmau5, the theme from the 1974 film “Boss N*****,” and even a Humphrey Bogart quote from “The Maltese Falcon” on different songs.
“We go especially for classic soul samples, old soul stuff,” Mitchell said. “Menace does a lot of chopping; he gives it a good 90s, boom-bap feel.”
The two didn’t elaborate on any long-term plans for their music, saying they just hope to keep working to get better and keep putting out more work. As for Thursday’s show, they promised it would be better than the EDM students can expect to deafen their ears at Club Fever. With new music mixed in with some of their biggest hits to date, they expect the show to be a good time.
“If you’re sick of hearing the wack stuff that’s on the radio, and you just want to hear some stuff that’s true to original hip-hip, come to the show,” Sonnier said.
“Highly-concentrated lyrics,” Mitchell added.
Check out some of the group’s songs on soundcloud.com/slank, especially the duo’s collaborations “Ghosts N S***,” “Where is the Tree?” and “Goon Squad Dope.” The free show starts at Legends on Thursday at 10 p.m.