Born December 30, 1979 in Gadsden, Alabama, Yelawolf spent much of his childhood in various locations around the southern United States, including Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Atlanta, Georgia, and Antioch, Tennessee. Atha is of Caucasian and Cherokee descent, and the name Yelawolf is a reference to his Native American roots.
Yelawolf is an avid skateboarder and made attempts at a professional skateboarding career but was forced to abandon it due to injuries. He began releasing mixtapes independently in 2007, and was briefly signed to Columbia Records in 2007, leaving the label the same year along with Kawan "KP" Prather.
In 2010 he appeared on the track "Down This Road" from Bizarre's third studio album "Friday Night at St. Andrews", and on Big Boi's first solo album "Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty" track "You Ain't No DJ" which was produced by André 3000. Appearing on Paul Wall's fifth studio album "Heart of a Champion" track "Live It", which also featured Jay Electronica and Raekwon, which was produced by Travis Barker, as well.
In 2010, Yelawolf confirmed he had signed with Interscope Records, announcing that he is working in his debut studio album with the label, and that he had a desire to work with Eminem.
On July 2, 2010, Yelawolf told Rap-Up that he went to Eminem's Studio in Detroit, Michigan to meet him and record a track for Yelawolf's upcoming debut studio album titled "Trunk Muzik: 0-60", being his first project with a major label and set to be released at October 26 of the year under Ghet-O-Vision Entertainment/Interscope Records.