Moneybagg Yo touched down in Houston on the same night the Rockets played the Nuggets. Those two things aren’t really related to each other except for the fact that last night a few blocks of downtown were packed with red jerseys and fans of Memphis rap. As Harden and Paul racked up points on the floor of the Toyota Center, Yo Gotti’s powerhouse signee filled up the ground floor and mezzanine across the street at the House of Blues.
The packed house waited eagerly, entertained by the warm up DJ and a girl in a red halter top that kept hanging over the balcony railing. Every time the DJ would play a song the crowd would go crazy and she’d go over the balcony. After a few warnings by security she disappeared into the crowd. Behind me a young woman kept exclaiming “where’s my man? Where’s my Moneybagg?”
Moneybagg is, of course, the 27-year-old Memphis, Tennessee rapper signed with Interscope and CMG. Granted he signed relatively recently but don’t underestimate him because of his newness. Reset is the Breadgang leader’s one studio album, but his mixtape run gives him a countless arsenal of tracks to fire at his audience. The rapper made noise with his 2012 release From Da Block 2 Da Booth but he really upped the ante by releasing no less than 11 mixtapes in the last three years.
That amount of work gives Moneybagg a myriad of tracks to pick from and he wasted no time once hitting the stage. Dressed simply in black designer jeans and a red flannel shirt the Memphis rapper walked out to a roar of applause and started running through singles, playing only about a minute of each.
“Do we want to do this next one?” he’d repeatedly asked the DJ as he moved forward through the aptly titled Word 4 Word tour. Aptly titled because the overflowing crowd knew every line to every song that was cued up. “Big Facts” is the MC’s obvious lead single but two stories of a building rapping along to “Rolls Royce”, a freestyle over Blocboy JB’s “Rover,” shows his fanbase isn’t just here for the radio hits.
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After performing a verse, the DJ would let off an abrupt gunshot, and then the next hit would be up. Wash, rinse, repeat. Moneybagg didn’t slow down and skillfully kept the crowd engaged while pumping out snippet after snippet. The energy only slowed when he brought a couple of women on stage to serenade them with “Pride.”
Red halter top, who somehow made it from the balcony railing to the stage helped to set the tone, but then was escorted off the stage for maybe being a little too eager. Moneybagg Yo finished the serenade but then he immediately moved back into the rapid-fire pace of the show. When the MC asked the crowd to “light this bitch up” the number of cell phone cameras on him almost made it look as though the house lights had been turned on. He effortlessly moved through “Say Na” and “Lower level” before stopping to talk to the crowd.
“This is Houston. Y’all know I got love for this city. Where are all the single ladies at” he exclaimed hopping off the stage while the intro to Meg Thee Stallion’s “25 Lighters” remake “Big Ole Freak” blasted through the speakers. Pointing at a group in the front row, Moneybagg yelled, “What are you recording me with? Snapchat? I’m about to take over everyone’s social media!”
He then proceeded to walk up and take individual videos with almost everyone that was within reaching distance of the front few rows. If last night is any indication, Moneybagg is an artist destined to keep building on his stardom