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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

January 20, 2010 at 9:35 AM

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Yelawolf video for "Pop the Trunk" *UPDATED

Posted by Andrew Matson

Alabama rapper Yelawolf's new "Trunk Muzik" mixtape is excellent, freely downloadable, and sparking thoughtful blogosphere conversation about race and class in contemporary rap. Now we have a music video for one of its best tracks.

"Pop the Trunk" has little to do with the trunk of the mixtape's title — that would be the drive-around DJ's car trunk, a place Yelawolf targets with the slick, booming title track and "Speak Her Sex," a fizzy ode to fornicating with trunk muzik not as a background soundtrack, but the object of lust itself.

No, the trunk in "Pop the Trunk" is the murderer's trunk, a transitional coffin until a hole is dug, body of water selected, or some other means of what the Sopranos called "waste management" decided upon. In the song, Yelawolf's dad and friends are murdering and Yelawolf is witnessing, sort of on the side of the about-to-be-murdered — "Think he's playin'? You better listen what he's sayin', punk" — and sort of an accomplice, threatening to play triage undertaker: "Don't make me go pop the trunk on you." He chronicles killings but only participates in their bookends, not the actual dirty work, making his connection to the deeds somewhat tangential.

The video is an alarmingly literal recreation of Yelawolf's lyrics rendered in crisp, realistic digitalism, and makes what could be interpreted as a dark lark on "Trunk Muzik" — or a mere flexing of storytelling rap chops — closer to nonfiction and much scarier for it.

*UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that "pop the trunk" might mean "get the gun," and not, as I thought, "pop the trunk and put your body in it." If this is true, my analysis is a bit skewed.

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