“If they don’t get it, force it on them… that’s what I did.”
A rapper by choice and a hustler by nature, Moneybagg Yo is the epitome of a hard worker. The Memphis-born creative couldn’t stay away from the bag if he tried, and being “God’s favourite”, it was only ever destined to go one way.
If you weren’t tapped in before, you have no choice but to be now. It doesn’t take long to track Moneybagg Yo’s meteoric rise to fame, with “rockets” like hit single ‘Wockesha’, ‘Said Sum’ and ‘Time Today’ putting the hitmaker firmly on the map. However, behind this monumental rise to the top, there was a considerable deal of hardship, pain and dedication that those around Moneybagg Yo always saw and respected him for. His #1 status was not a coincidence: it was an inevitability.
Moving forward at supersonic speed, Moneybagg Yo refuses to slow down as the rap star discusses what got him to the top of the rap game and how he plans to stay there. From becoming a label owner and releasing new music to putting it on for his city, what can’t Moneybagg Yo do? Bringing in that Tennessee charm, the chart-topper sat down with PAUSE to let us in on his rise to the pinnacle of rap, his advice for the younger generation, as well as what we can expect from him going forward.
Wireless, Birmingham… how did you find it?
It was a good experience! I want to come back next time and really kill it, you know what I’m saying. A lot of stuff happened when I was out on stage, and this is me just being really honest, but I had a new DJ up there because my other DJ didn’t have a passport and had transport problems, so he couldn’t come over there. It was crazy but at the end of the day, I saved the day… it turned out cool.
Are there any differences in the crowd in the UK in comparison to the US?
Yeah, there’s a difference, they’ve got energy… they’ve got way more energy. It’s like, (in the US), you’ve got to keep them up on their feet, you’ve got to keep them up! You can analyse and say, “Okay, this is what I need to do, this is what I need to say, this is how I get them up.”
Definitely. Which up-and-coming artists are you watching right now?
I’m watching Lil Macha, he’s hard, super hard. I feel like it’s this new Rich Homie Quan vibe mixed with a Rod Wave. One word: movie. I’ve got my eye on Lil Macha for sure. I’ve also got TripStar, Big30, Big Homie G, all of them are linked in. That’s the fam.
Lastly, your album reached Billboard, right?
Yes it did! It hit #1.
How did that make you feel?
It feels good, but that’s what I was aiming for with this album. With the last album, it got #3. When I first dropped my first album with the label, it debuted at #5. I came back the following year and debuted at #3, so it was always going that way. That’s what I love about longevity, it goes in steps and modes. You don’t just shoot to the top, they’ve got to see you working. Everybody in the game can vouch for me and everybody who’s been watching my campaign and situation, they can show you that it took me steps. They’ll say, “I watched him from here, all the way up to here.” I just feel like there was a whole process.
For real. What are your top 5 go-to luxury fashion brands?
I got Dior, Prada, Bottega Veneta, AMIRI… I like Moncler, but they’re more seasonal. I don’t think I’ve seen any summer drip from Moncler, they’re just hard. I feel like you can be freshest in the wintertime, you can just put it on when it’s cold outside.
What sneaker brands are you feeling right now?
I like Prada shoes. I wear a lot of Nike Air Force 1’s… I like Jordans, mainly retro Jordans. Stuff like that. That’s basically it.
How many tattoos do you have?
I got my whole body tatted, there’s no room.
In this generation now, especially with new artists who come and have blown up out of nowhere and haven’t really experienced the journey of working your way up, what advice would you give as a mentor and label to those that want the quick fix?
I’d rather hustle my way all the way to the top than hopping on a rocket and shooting right off. Unless you can follow up on the rocket, like if you were hustling like I was and you had rockets like ‘Time Today’, ‘Said Sum’ and ‘Wockesha’, them rockets. We’ve already seen my hustle so it’s perfect timing, it’s all timing for me. So, I’ll tell up-and-coming artists to just stay focused and have that tunnel vision, not everybody is going to see what you see at the beginning. You’ve got to be able to take constructive criticism and let people tell you, “This ain’t how to do it”… make sure to listen; that’s key. Listen and pay attention, that’s most definitely key. If they don’t get it, force it on them… that’s what I did. I made them see what it was.
What do you plan on dropping in the remainder of 2022? What can we look forward to?
My album… I’m closing the year out with my movie, around October or December. My album is going to drop in September, actually on my birthday. I’m going to start a ten to twelve-day tour, two days after my birthday and the first stop is going to be at the Phoenix Forum in Memphis… it’s going to be a movie. Then, I’m going to take it overseas.
Nice! Tell us a bit about the movie that you’ve got coming out.
It’s called ‘If Pain was a Person’ and it just explains a lot, that feeling of how I came from zero, where we started, what I did to get here… everything you had to shake and to get past. People are going to be like, “Damn, this man had to deal with this, I didn’t know Moneybagg went through this.” There’s a mixture of fiction and non-fiction because, you know, it’s a movie and you’ve got to put that in there. You can’t give people all of your life like that because I feel like they just know you. You don’t want to incriminate yourself either.
Finally, Describe your future in one word.
Larger than life.