Moneybagg Yo is making waves as an independent artist, distinguishing himself from an array of ambitious rappers attempting to break into the genre in any way they can. But for the Memphis native, that approach wasn’t necessary, as he used his underground approach — performing in clubs and strip clubs — to launch his fascinating career.
Now, on the brink of his first studio album, he’s become one of hip-hop’s “artists to watch” in this very oversaturated market.
The 27-year-old is currently signed to Nless Entertainment and eventually partnered with Yo Gotti’s record label, CMG. He also went on to sign a major-label distribution deal with Interscope Records while simultaneously remaining on the independent circuit.
What people don’t realize about Moneybagg Yo is the amount of dedication and effort he has put into his music, seeing that he dropped over 10 mixtapes in the last six years. Three mixtapes were released in 2017, and one of those mixtapes, Federal 3X, even went on to peak at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. This past year, the restless artist delivered two mixtapes, 2 Heartless and Bet On Me, which peaked at No. 16 and No. 11 on the Billboard 200, respectively. That’s an impressive feat for hardly any mainstream promotion in the music industry.
Now on the brink of his upcoming record Reset (set to drop on Nov. 2), Billboard visited the emerging MC on the set of his music video for “Okay,” featuring Future, to talk about the exciting project and how he’s going back to his roots as well as opening up about a special documentary he’s been working on in the town where he grew up, in South Memphis.
Billboard: We’re on the set of a very exciting music video, so tell us a little bit about it. What’s the vibe?
Moneybagg Yo: The vibe is crazy. It’s for “Okay” with Future. I feel like there’s a really good vibe/chemistry on it. I really feel like we should do a whole take. It was a good treatment. It’s real creative. I rock with it!
Did you come up with the creative behind it?
No, I had nothing to do with this one. But whoever did, it was good.
In the future, do you think you’ll get more involved with the creative aspect?
Really, this what I be doing. This is how I started off. I’d come up with the treatments and then I would hand it off to the director.
Let’s switch to the album. We hear you have a lot of dope features (including J. Cole), so tell us a little bit about them.
I got Kodak [Black] on there. I got Future, of course. My brother [Kevin] Gates on there. I got a lot of good features!
Nice! I feel like throughout your projects, you’ve gotten a bit more polished — kind of evolved more. With this project, what are you hoping to accomplish with it?
See, I don’t like how you said polished. I’m trying to un-polish, like “reset” myself. I’m trying to take myself back to when I first came in. That’s what the fans miss and that’s how they accepted me, so I kind of want to go back and give them that.
Speaking of your fans, they have really supported you throughout the years. Federal 3X peaked at No. 5 and Bet On Me peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Do you feel pressure coming in with this next album?
I’m telling you this next one is going to be No. 1. This is facts…big facts. It’s because the substance. I’m back on real situations, like you got to relate to it.
How do you make sure you stay in touch with that reliability as you move forward in your career?
I like to go back to Memphis, where I started it. I might sit in the hood for three days…just putting myself back there.
It’s no secret Yo Gotti is your mentor. What’s the best insight he’s given you?
When I first got with him, he told me to chase the dream, not the money. That stuck with me and that’s how I do it. I’m really so humble because I come from nothing. I had nothing at first, so really I’m cool with everything. It soaked into me…it just hit me.
And last but not least, what’s something we don’t know about you?
I’m working on this documentary. It’s called Walking Home With Baby, and when I say Walking Home With Baby, it’s a hood in Memphis. This is where I come from. This is my hood in Memphis — the South of Memphis. And I’m just going to show you everything that you don’t know about Moneybagg.
Reset set to drop on Friday, Nov. 2 on all major streaming services.