Moneybagg Yo brought his Southern rap sound to Milwaukee

Memphis rapper Moneybagg Yo, whose latest album has already reached No. 1 on the charts twice, stopped by Milwaukee Thursday night at the Miller High Life Theater.

The 30-year-old rapper, whose birth name is DeMario DeWayne White Jr., released his fourth studio album, “A Gangsta’s Pain” in April.

“A Gangsta’s Pain” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in early May, then returned to No. 1 two weeks later.

Moneybagg is recognized by major players in the music industry, including Grammy-winning artist and producer Pharrell Williams, who called him his favorite rapper on his OTHERtone podcast in March.

In Milwaukee, Moneybagg performed to totally loyal audiences and a theater about 80% full. The audience rapped, and when Moneybagg stopped, the crowd was there to pick up the lyrics.

Reggie “Smooth Az Butta” Brown of WKKV-FM (100.7) was the host for the evening and was joined by other DJs, who took turns bringing the audience some classic sounds before Moneybagg took the stage.

“He (Moneybagg) is taking over right now,” said Brown, who added that a handful of Moneybagg songs are playing regularly on the radio.

One of those songs is “Time Today”, his second biggest hit from “A Gangsta’s Pain”. Performed at the start of his set on Thursday, the song gained notoriety this summer after Moneybagg rapped the song during an entrance by boxer Floyd Mayweather during his fight.

“Don’t talk about my life without knowing the real one,” Moneybagg raps on the track.

And that really sums up the kind of artist he is – authentic. As the title of his latest album suggests, many of Moneybagg’s songs are about the pain he’s going through, sometimes with a bluesy or R&B vibe.

Halfway through his set, Moneybagg asked the audience to sing “Free Pooh Shiesty!” Memphis rapper Pooh Shiesty faces life in prison after being involved in the robbery and shooting of two men outside a hotel in Florida.

He continued the vocals by playing Pooh Shiesty’s hit “Back in Blood”.

Others joined Moneybagg on stage, including rapper TripStar, to perform their song “I Believe U.” (Other featured rappers included Big 30, Big Homie G and Black Zacc.)

Moneybagg garnered a large crowd reaction when his single “Said Sum” began playing. He performed the song’s remix, featuring City Girls and DaBaby. The song, released in 2020, helped propel Moneybagg onto the national stage after peaking at number 7 on the Billboard rap charts last year.

Moneybagg thrilled the crowd by rapping his lyrics in “Said Sum” about Milwaukee’s own NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo: “I came like Giannis, I get more money.”

As expected, Moneybagg waited until the end of the night to play his biggest hit on the album. “Wockesha,” which includes a snippet from DeBarge’s 1983 Motown hit “Stay With Me,” peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard rap charts. The song is an ode to “skinny”, an illicit substance usually made from codeine syrup, soda and candy. The drink has become synonymous with Southern rappers.

Throughout the night, the audience remained engaged with performers and DJs, even though Moneybagg didn’t take the stage until around 10:15 p.m. While waiting for his arrival, the crowd amused themselves with tried-and-true classics, including Louisiana rapper Lil Boosie’s 2006 hit “Set It Off,” which the DJs played twice.

Contact Drake Bentley at (414) 391-5647 or Follow him on Twitter at @DrakeBentleyMJS.

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