Moneybagg Yo caught up with Billboard R&B/hip-hop reporter Neena Rouhani ahead of the arrival of his upcoming 22-track album, Hard to Love. The Memphis rapper says that his project title is personal, considering he finds himself hard to love.
“At the end of the day to love me, you have to understand me,” he says.
The artist and entrepreneur, who has had his fair share of Billboard Hot 100 moments, also dished on his social media influencer era, supported by girlfriend Ari Fletcher. On TikTok, Moneybagg Yo boasts more than one million followers, with nearly 10 million views on a single vlog video. Other videos show his push-up form and stretch routine, with a fan commenting, “you betta eat love pray!”
“I’m a creative person,” he says. “I tapped into [TikTok] because they don’t know enough about me, but I also don’t want to give them all of me.” The 31-year-old even walked the Billboard team through his push-up form at the studio, although he pointed out that the practice push-ups didn’t count toward his daily goal.
Coming off of his last album, A Gangsta’s Pain, which spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and 88 weeks total on the chart, Moneybagg Yo is feeling prepared for the next chapter. Although it was his ninth solo project, he says that many look at A Gangsta’s Pain as his first, since it was home to so many of his breakout hits, including “Wockesha,” “Time Today” and “Scorpio.”
“I just wanted to put something out there feeding the fans and it went somewhere else,” he says. “It’s bigger than life.”
Moneybagg Yo attributes the successes to his honesty and finger on the pulse of the culture. “I keep up with the culture and I ain’t afraid to say certain things,” he shared. When asked if Fletcher is OK with the things he raps about, Moneybagg Yo plainly noted, “She has to be — that’s what makes the money.”
In January, the CMG rapper released a joint track with labelmate GloRilla titled, “On Wat U On.” The track is a theatrical take on toxic relationships, and was initially supposed to be done with another female artist, but Moneybagg Yo later opted for GloRilla.
“Once Glo’s success started coming in and she was a part of the team, it made sense,” he explains. “We’re both from Memphis and our chemistry is there anyway.”
His advice to rising rappers is simple: “Force it on them, put it in they face, but at the perfect timing.”
Watch Billboard‘s interview with Moneybagg Yo above.