On Friday, we received a few high-profile releases. There was one that got stuck in some sort of middle-ground– not only when it comes to the media cycle and coverage therein, but even on streaming services– I’m referring to Moneybagg Yo and his new album RESET.

The Memphis-bred rapper has been out here. “Out here” meaning “online” and “online” meaning “releasing a shit ton of music.” It’s been awhile too. He started the transition from the local to national consciousness of rap fans after singing to Yo Gotti in 2016 — already four years of releases under his belt at the time, all mixtapes. He’s the type of talent that is not over night. He is the type of talent that is locally-produced and organic– although that may sound like I’m referring to some sort of vegetable, I am not. These are both important factors to consider when discussing quality and consistency. To put it another way, so my point is acutely clear: Moneybagg Yo is not an overnight sensation with a viral hit to his name, nor is he an Internet-cultivated rapper.

The Yo Gotti co-sign was the slight push forward that the rapper needed to gain interest and recognition from outside of Memphis. He was already a known and well-liked rapper locally, a technique which may not be used very often today, but one which Money has prided himself on. It may be that this effort; the one to gain local recognition is what has propelled him to cultivate such a strong work ethic, which by extension, is basically why I am writing this in the first place (!). That work ethic has led to fifteen mixtape releases from 2012 until now, and a distinct style and voice. This past year alone, there were three, including RESET. I am definitely not going to say I’ve listened to every single Moneybagg Yo project front-to-back, that I know all the words — far from it. I have a feeling though, that if I did, I would not be disappointed. I now know what to expect from a Moneybagg Yo release; and there is nary a disappointment in sight.

Here’s the thing about Moneybagg. I can’t name that one hit single that tipped him over the edge. Because, there hasn’t been. His releases are a top-to-bottom type of listen, each song as bump-worthy as the last; so much so it becomes hard to actually single out one song. Every time I listen to his second release of 2018,Bet on Me, my “favourite” song changes — and mostly, it ends up being a collection of three or so “favourites” (and the project itself is 9 songs total). Bet on Me was my own introduction to Moneybagg too, to be fair– and once I had been acquainted, I was a) extremely upset I had not been on the Moneybagg Bandwagon (if there is one) sooner and b) obviously going to play catch-up with his previous releases.

I would liken Moneybagg to Kevin Gates for a couple of reasons. First, Gates is another Southern artist who became an immense local star before moving to conquer the rest of the North America, and second, each artist inspires with a melodic gravel, street tales, an authenticity in their voice, and every now and then, some random funny shit. It’s not an unfair nor far-reaching comparison either. The two have collaborated to great effect (most recently on the amazing guitar-laden sad-girl twerk anthem “Fall Down”), with Moneybagg even offering up advice from Gates in the intro to 2 Heartless. “Kevin Gates told me stay focused / Don’t get out your element”— it sounds like advice Moneybagg took to heart, too.