Yelawolf has a hard fanbase to please. Maybe it’s just a closer observation, but it seems like a good chunk of his in particular are often unsatisfied with the type of music that he’s making. From Radioactive to Psycho White EP with Travis Barker, the people want him to make the same type of material that he did with Trunk Muzik. He does give it to them in spurts, most recently with his guest appearance on ASAP Rocky’s competitive “1 Train” posse cut. However he isn’t allowing himself to get trapped making songs that he’s already made over and over. So after three projects, Catfish Billy has finally come back to the well received mixtape with a sequel, Trunk Muzik Returns. Only this time, he’s playing by his own rules.

Fans will be glad to know that Supa Hot Beats is handling the whole production from start to finish. He’s the Timbaland to Yela’s Justin Timberlake. As the Shady MC grew musically, Will Power definitely improved and expanded his creativity bracket. As much as it’d be easy to create the same sound throughout, TMR is all over the place in a good way. Yelawolf is kicking stellar country-fried rhymes over the drum-heavy, club-friendly “F.A.S.T. Ride.” “Gangster” has that ominous vibe that Yelawolf, ASAP Rocky and Big Henry satisfy with some cold storytelling. Admittedly, there’s slight disappointment seeing an absence of Rittz on “Box Chevy Pt. 4.” Not only that, the instrumental seems to be the main focus more than the lyrics as opposed to previous parts. This just shows how much of a live-wire this duo has become.

The concepts on the project are often developed through his own life. On “Fame,” he takes the time to reflect on his career, including revealing a failed attempt at signing with Def Jam before Interscope came knocking. As if venting in interviews about Radioactive wasn’t enough, he also spent the last verse of “Rhyme Room” addressing his feelings again, “so, Radioactive had a couple of radio attempts/ I don’t wanna be Radioactive anymore now then I wanna jump off a cliff.” It’s also a promise that he won’t go back down that road again. Also featured on that song, Raekwon delivers a well thought out verse, while Killer Mike looks more for a boisterous approach in the beginning before thinning out with some memorable lines.

As a whole, Yelawolf makes sure he doesn’t get stuck in a box. In the long run, that will pay off a lot more than just sticking to one flavor, especially if he hopes to maintain in the Shady/ Interscope system. Trunk Muzik Returns was crafted with big expectations and they surely live up to them. The 10-track free album feels complete, despite some flaws. If fans spend too much time comparing every body of work to Trunk Muzik, they won’t be able to enjoy and keep up with the growth of Yelawolf. There’s three words that can sum up how you should listen to him: expand your taste.

Download: Yelawolf – Trunk Muzik Returns