Money Man is surely a name you’ve seen on your internet perusals, but perhaps not yet a name you’ve listened to in any serious manner. He’s the type of artist who seems to be simultaneously under the radar yet immensely popular, with the numbers to prove it. This means that, while his name won’t ring bells in your mom’s circle of friends just yet, he’s found solid ground among a devoted group of hip-hop fans, a group which continues to grow in a size with each new release. It’s Money Man’s high level of consistency, never faltering between projects, as well as the sheer volume of his releases, that have allowed him to develop the much-cherished and not-oft-found cult following. It’s the type of following that a major record label like Cash Money/Republic Records would clamour for– and clearly, they did, when they signed Money Man for a brief period back in 2017. And it is perhaps this exact point that separates Money Man even further from his pack of rapping peers– because Money Man did not stay in his deal. Instead, the New York-born artist bought his way out of his deal, not only for the sake of his music and the control he now has over it; but also for the sake of his business; as if his name already did not indicate as much.
Money Man has then become the stuff of legend when it comes to making money– not just because of the audacity to buy himself out of a deal with Birdman, but because he’s also made a fortune (so he says) off of cryptocurrency BitCoin. While it’s hard to verify exactly how or where Money Man has made his wealth, one thing is for certain after speaking to him for an hour in our On the Come Up interview: the dude has knowledge across many different topics, and is constantly looking to upgrade said knowledge. How, exactly? As we discuss further in the interview below, Money Man is not trying to waste time on anything that doesn’t help him grow in some way, he uses every hour of the day to advantage, and that includes listening to many different podcasts that subject him to learning. Among them: Peter Voogd, Patrick Bet-David and Joe Rogan.
The interview goes pretty in-depth, as far as Money Man’s lifestyle, his lyrics, his approach to his career, and his strategy when it comes to features– or his lack thereof– as he tells it, he would happily give Megan Thee Stallion a bag for a feature, considering it a calculated business move in order to have a piece of her fanbase.
Money Man also details his expansive property, which includes an outdoor gun range and a stock pond, where he’ll sometimes grab a fish for dinner– but apart from the rare seafood every now and then, the rapper says he mostly follows a vegan diet.
Finally, the rapper confirms that he will drop a new project before the year is over, and also confirms he will be launching a podcast. Start counting down the days.
Watch the new episode of On the Come Up above.
Or, read the unabridged interview from the episode in full below, only edited lightly for clarity.
Money Man: What’s goin’ on?
[coughs] Sorry, I have a tickle in my throat, it’s not corona or anything.
It’s just been ongoing all day. My name is Rose with HotNewHipHop, it’s nice to meet you virtually; I’m a really big fan. I think I’m kind of late to the cult following that you have, but I’ve definitely been on a Money Man binge this entire quarantine period. I’ve gone through all your projects.
Dope, that’s dope. ‘Preciate it.
I appreciate how much music you’ve put out, you know, because there’s so much for me to catch up on, which I think I’ve kind of done.
Oh yeah, you probably have. You probably done caught right on up.
I’ve read that you were born in New York but were raised in Atlanta— could you clarify that timeline? When did you move to Atlanta, and what was life like in New York versus Atlanta for you, if you were old enough to remember?
I was born in New York, I moved to Atlanta when I was two, so when I was young, I don’t too much remember nothing about New York when I was young, but I used to go visit in the summer, so you know I got both cultures in me. I got a bunch of family in New York— in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens— all over, so you know I mess with both cities. I was raised in the ATL, I was raised on the eastside of Atlanta.
Aaron J. Thornton/WireImage/Getty Images
Okay, yeah, so that’s what I was gonna ask— what neighborhood were you raised in and what was it like for you there? What were your challenging teen years like? Were your parents around, were they strict, or was it just like you were out by yourself— what was your situation growing up?
On the eastside of Atlanta, I was raised over in that area, it was like, Wesley Chapel, Glenwood over that way. Growing up, though, it was kind of crazy ‘cause, it was a lot going on— it was a lot of folks selling dope, a lot of folks getting killed, it was all kinds of stuff going on. People stealing, robberies, people used to steal cars, break in homes, and all kinds of stuff like that, so it kind of influenced me to, you know, try and live a certain lifestyle. That’s kind of what I depict in my music, you know what I’m saying? Not just that, though, I depict other stuff in my music, but it was kind of crazy— when I was coming up, it was always somebody dying when I was growing up.
Yeah, I definitely see it in your music. When you were growing up, you were influenced by the streets— were you distracted from school or were you still trying to be a good student, still trying to get schoolwork done—what was your mindset like?
As far as school goes, I didn’t really get good grades. I wasn’t really paying attention, I was more focused on being an entrepreneur, I was trying to sell something— I sold candy, then after I sold candy, I sold weed, and then I was hosting parties. I was doing stuff like that, school kind of didn’t interest me. I couldn’t sit down and focus and do the schoolwork, it just wasn’t for me.
Okay. You started rapping at seven or eight years old?
Yeah, that’s when I started copying songs— not copying songs, but people would start playing instrumentals, so when I was around seven or eight, I would start writing my own versions of like, whoever the hottest artist was, like Jadakiss, Dipset, 50 Cent, and all that. Gucci Mane— well, Gucci came a lil’ later, but around that time, it was like, Dipset, 50 Cent, people like that.
Do you remember what your lyrics were like at that time, like what were the topics that you were rapping about?
I can’t remember a 100%, but it was probably whatever they was on.
[laughs] Fair enough. In 2016, you dropped Black Circle— that was your debut, your first release.
“I wasn’t even gon’ rap no more, ‘cause I had started making money from doing some other stuff, and I was like, ‘You know what, I don’t even feel like rapping no more.’ I was like, ‘This is how I’m gon’ get rich, right here,’ whatever I had going on, which I probably shouldn’t have even been doing, but whatever I had going on, I was getting rich from that.”
Basically, that kickstarted your rap career? Had you decided, ‘I’m gonna pursue a career in rap’ before you dropped that, or was that the product that made you realize, ‘Hey, I could do a full career,’ like, ‘This could be my career’? I’m just wondering how that project came together, fully formed, you know, it was just such a solid debut— was there anything before that, behind the scenes, that we didn’t get to see as fans, like scrapped projects, or failed attempts?
It was a lot of failed attempts, but to be honest, before that, I wasn’t even gon’ rap no more, ‘cause I had started making money from doing some other stuff, and I was like, ‘You know what, I don’t even feel like rapping no more.’ I was like, ‘This is how I’m gon’ get rich, right here,’ whatever I had going on, which I probably shouldn’t have even been doing, but whatever I had going on, I was getting rich from that. When 2016 hit, a lot of people was tellin’ me, they was like, ‘Man, you know you can rap, you need to go ahead and do that, you got a gift,’ so I was like, ‘Yeah, you right,’ so I hit the studio. I had a house over on Wesley Chapel, and I recorded Black Circle. All them songs, I didn’t even scrap no songs from that project— no wait, I scrapped one song from that project, and the last song I dropped was “Boss Up,” which ended up being my big single from that project, and I put that tape out. Two weeks later, I got my first show for $2,500 in Mississippi, so as as soon as I put the tape out, it just caught on. It caught on in Memphis, Atlanta, Arkansas, Texas— it just started spreading like wildfire.
That’s so crazy. Where did you put the tape out, initially? Did you put it on SoundCloud or Spotify— was it independent and you just put it on streaming services, or was it just on SoundCloud?
It was just on YouTube! I didn’t even know to put…like, I ain’t gon’ lie, I was trappin’ and doin’ all kinds of stuff, so I didn’t even know you were supposed to put it on Spotify and all that for sale, I just put it on YouTube. I put it on Youtube, I put it on SoundCloud later, but it was mostly on YouTube. If you look at the views from that tape, it was because people could only see it on YouTube, so it just racked up crazy plays. Black Circle 1, Black Circle 2— I didn’t know. I didn’t know you were supposed to go put it on DSPs.
That’s so crazy. You didn’t do anything to push it– there was nothing behind it, it just took off organically, ‘cause it’s so dope.
Yeah, it just took off organically because…what even happened? I don’t know. Oh, Instagram! So, on Instagram, I did a hoverboard contest when hoverboards was poppin’, a couple years ago. I gave out some free hoverboards to whoever could recite the lyrics to the songs, and it kind of helped it, it took it right on off. I gave out like 10 hoverboards. I had got the hoverboards free, anyways, ‘cause you know, I had finessed for ‘em, and I just gave ‘em out to some fans, and started promoting it that way.
That’s so interesting. And I feel like, just with your interactions with fans, it seems like you’re…well, there’s two things I want to discuss that are kind of in the same point, but you have such a stacked discography– every project is so solid, and you have this cult following, you clearly have such a loyal audience and loyal listeners, but there’s a disconnect somewhere with mainstream. There’s a certain point where I feel like you’re over people’s heads– do you feel that at all?
Well, “24” just kind of connected it mainstream somewhat, but other than that, the disconnect is kind of like, I’m independent, so you know, independent, it’s a little bit harder to get all the placements and radio play, ‘cause you know them major labels take up all the real estate in music. So, I’m kind of…I don’t know the words for it, but I’m on the outside looking in because I’m not with a major label, so you probably got an artist who won’t do a song with me because I’m not in that major label circle. So, that’s the disconnect– I’m independent. I’m with Empire, but I’m independent– we don’t distribute with Universal or Sony or anything like that. But it’s cool because I like a challenge, I like to work hard. I just had my first gold record, independently.
So dope. Congratulations.
Oh, “Bossed Up” is gold, “Bossed Up” probably gold, but you know, I don’t pay attention to gold and platinum and all that, I just want the proceeds from it.
Yeah, you’re right that “24” is definitely putting you over the edge, making you known with the masses. I’m sure the next project you put out is gonna be even crazier, but I find it interesting because you seem to have a really close relationship with your fanbase, or at least, you make the effort to interact with them on your Twitter, just on a friendly, it seems like, day-to-day, just a part of your routine, you interact with them. ‘Cause there’s other rappers who have cult followings that I feel like don’t interact with their fanbases in the same way to keep them interested and loyal, and it makes you feel like you know you personally. On top of the music, because the music is really indicative of your tastes and your interests– your music basically tells everything that you’re doing in a day and all that. Do you get that sense, where you try to stay in contact with your fans– do you go out of your way to do that?
Yeah, for sure, because the reason I interact with the fans so much is because I put them on a lot of information, like, if I see there’s a void there, where they don’t really know something…like, it’s a lot of fans who make money off my music. They hear a comment, they hear certain glitches that they can exploit in the music, and then they go do that and they make money and they report back, like, ‘Man, just made a hundred thousand,’ or something like that, ‘I just made 40 million dollars this year, listening to your music.’ I peep that and be like, you know what, I gotta interact with them, I gotta stay in tune with them– that’s just the type of person I am, anyways. I look at myself as a leader, a leader gotta stay in tune with people, I gotta stay in tune with my people. I wake up, get on Twitter, talk to ‘em, Imma respond to ‘em, and I don’t feel like I’m better than nobody. That’s just me. I just don’t feel like I’m better than nobody.
That’s dope, it’s such a good attitude to have. And it’s cool to see, I swear, I feel like rappers that have that same cult following just don’t put in that effort. And, just in terms of giving your fans advice, I know you’ve made a name for yourself with the Bitcoin and that type of investment advice, and you’ve talked about it a lot, I don’t want to go into it too much– but with that, and other things that I’ve seen from you in interviews, it makes me think that you’re the type of person who is always trying to learn a new skill, or better yourself, or learn about a new subject matter– is that something you try to do? Is there something that you’re working on right now, like, ‘Okay, I’m trying to learn about this subject matter,’ or, ‘I’m trying to improve this aspect of my personality?’ Something that you’re working on to better yourself, and better the people around you?
Yeah, right now, I’m trying to learn more about real estate. Also, I just like to stay on the cutting edge of everything, I like to be ahead of the game– I don’t like to be late to anything. I like to be the first person to do this, or the first person to do that, like, I wish I knew about Uber when Uber started, so I could invest in it, so I could have hit big. But Bitcoin, I hit pretty big– I didn’t hit the biggest, but I made a couple hundred thousand from it, and I just know, I just know when it’s going up and down, I just got a feeling. I got people, my boy Peter Voogd, and I listen to a lot of podcasts, listen to a lot of money podcasts. I try and make every bit of my day count, where I’m focused on learning something, or learning a new skill. I like to go outside, I’m kind of like a man’s man, I be outside, I go mudding and stuff like that, I like to practice shooting all day, I got an outdoor gun range on some of my land, so, you know, that’s just what I be on.
That’s so cool. I also heard that you’re growing your own vegetables and stuff on your property?
Yeah, for sure. I like to grow my own food. I just grow my own food because I figured out– well they advertise it that–you know, the food kind of cancerous, kind of bad for you– so, I’m not going to keep putting it in me, if it’s bad for you. I’m trying to improve on that.
Yeah. Are you still growing marijuana? Is that something that you still are invested in somehow? I don’t know if you’re working on your own strain, or something– is that a possibility?
Yeah, I still grow marijuana, but I kind of grow my own per se, like, I like to grow mine pesticide-free and all that type of stuff. As far as making money off of it right now, I got a few people who I’m talking to, where we tryna start some commercial stuff up, but I’m not in California right now, so I kind of like to watch my money. They say if you don’t watch your money, you don’t want it, so I don’t really trust my money in anybody else’s hands. When I move back out there– I was growing it out there when I was living in San Francisco, so I could drive 2-3 hours out, just to go check on everything, but I’m not out there right now, so when I move back out there next year, I’ll start growing commercially again.
When you grow commercially– do you have a brand that it’s under? Like an umbrella– a certain strain?
I was just invested in a few strains, but this time, I’mma have my own strain.
Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Okay. And just generally, do you feel like marijuana culture is getting oversaturated? Is it too mainstream– what’s your take on it?
Yeah, it’s kind of oversaturated, but you know, it’s a lot of money out here to be made. It’s still a lot of money to be made, it’s oversaturated, but you know, if you got a name and a good product, you gon’ win anyways. You gon’ rise to the top.
“I try not to talk about what everybody else talk about, if you noticed, I talk about a lot of new stuff rappers probably never talked about, I try and differentiate myself from everybody else. I try not to keep the subject matter ‘Murder, killing, n***as, b*tches,’ you feel me? I try and keep it stuff you can actually live by. I want people to hear my music and then be like, ‘Alright, I can live by this. My kids can live by this'”
Yeah. Going back to your lyrics– you mentioned you listen to podcasts, and you’re growing your own vegetables, and it seems like sprinkled in your lyrics, you catch all these health and wellness-inspired lyrics. You have so much music, but listening to your music doesn’t get repetitive, every song you just find out something new about you, or you inject this new pop culture, or time referential lyric, like, there’s this lyric that you have, ‘I just heard that Nipsey got shot while I’m making this song,’ it grounds you in a certain moment in time, and you’re like, ‘Oh, I remember when I heard that happened,’ and you kind of feel like you’re almost in the booth, like, ‘He just recorded that, and then he put it out,’ There’s no barrier between that and it getting released. I just find it interesting because you also said you don’t write any of your lyrics down– how do you keep everything so fresh, and you’re not repeating lyrics, not repeating concepts, or topics, necessarily– where do the lyrics come from? How does it work?
The lyrics come from, I’m always on something new, like, I’m always onto something new. I try not to talk about what everybody else talk about, if you noticed, I talk about a lot of new stuff rappers probably never talked about, I try and differentiate myself from everybody else. I try not to keep the subject matter ‘Murder, killing, n***as, b*tches,’ you feel me? I try and keep it stuff you can actually live by. I want people to hear my music and then be like, ‘Alright, I can live by this. My kids can live by this,’ you know what I’m saying? ‘Cause I talk about a code of ethics, I talk about health, I talk about wealth, I talk about buying acres, you know what I’m saying? It’s just a lot of different stuff I talk about, that I try and separate from everybody else.
The lyrics, I try and stay up-to-date, like, when I’m on my phone, when I was recording “ATM” and I said that line about Nipsey getting shot, I was literally on my phone and then got an update at the top, and it said, ‘Nipsey Hussle just got shot,’ and I was like, ‘Damn!’ And I was literally right in front of the mic when that hit my phone, and I just said the line. So that’s what I do with most of my songs, like, when I get off this interview, I’mma go drop a song and then whatever pop up on the phone, I might just put it in the song. I just try and put everything that I go through in my music. I don’t have no set subject matter or anything like that. Another thing is, I just try and drop the music as soon as I make it. That’s probably another reason why it don’t connect mainstream like that, because I don’t put no campaign behind it, like, I don’t set up a release date, or anything of that nature. I just record the song, drop it, let it catch on organically, things like that, and then if it catches on organically, I might put a bag behind it or something like that.
“I try and stay up-to-date, like, when I’m on my phone, when I was recording “ATM” and I said that line about Nipsey getting shot, I was literally on my phone and then got an update at the top, and it said, ‘Nipsey Hussle just got shot,’ and I was like, ‘Damn!’ And I was literally right in front of the mic when that hit my phone, and I just said the line. So that’s what I do with most of my songs.”
Yeah, and even with the Nipsey lyric, it just comes across as organic, it really brings you into the space you were in, because even after, you were like, ‘I hope he recovers,’ or ‘I hope he gets better,’ it was clear that you were just doing it in the moment, and obviously, RIP because he passed away, but just listening to that song– it’s just interesting, and it’s a different feeling when you connect with a following like that, and I just find that a lot of artists aren’t doing that. And there’s a couple of lyrics in question I kind of want to, like, not lyrics, but just references that I wanted to ask you about specifically, from your lyrics. So, we can go through a few of them, and maybe you can elaborate or respond to them.
One of them was just, you said you ‘Might start a podcast just like Joe Rogan,’ on “Doubted Me,” so, is Joe Rogan someone that you listen to– is that one of your podcast mainstays?
Yeah, for sure. I listen to Joe Rogan a lot because of the subject matter, like he gon’ have anybody on there– he’ll have a comedian on there, a rapper, a singer, a scientist, nutritionist– anybody. Anybody could pop up on there, it’s not just centered towards comedy and joking around all day. Like I said, when I watch stuff, I’m not trying to waste my time, I’m trying to actually learn something so I can improve myself, I can improve my health and my wealth. I’m not into wasting time, I’m into making more money, so if I’mma spend an hour or two hours of my day listening to somebody talk, I better be getting some knowledge or some information from it.
Yeah, Joe Rogan is so dope like that. He’s definitely my favorite podcaster right now, just because, like, you’re always learning something– every episode can be interesting in a different way, and you’re learning stuff that you wouldn’t learn in school. Even if it’s about history, like, ancient history it’s just stuff no one taught you.
On “Moon,” you mention eating vegan food. Are you still eating vegan? Are you vegan 100%, or what’s your current lifestyle?
I would say I’m like 90% vegan/plant-based, because every once in a while, maybe twice or three times a year, I eat some fish, ‘cause I got a lake in my backyard that I go fish in, it’s a stock pond, so I might grab some fish out of there, just to eat here and there. But other than that, it’s mostly 100% vegan. I just believe it’s healthier for you, so that’s how I eat.
Did you see the Joe Rogan episode that he had with the guy that’s a carnivore? On the carnivore diet?
Yeah, I seen that episode, I just think that different people’s bodies take different things.
Yeah, I believe, them, that’s what they can do to be healthy. I believe some of us have to eat plant-based. Just like, some women, I believe they should eat plant-based, ‘cause it softens your looks as you age, you get what I’m saying? I believe meat kind of hardens your looks as you age. I’m not a doctor or nutritionist or nothing like that, but it’s kind of self-explanatory– you can tell from different groups of people who eats what.
Yeah. On TraumaMan, on “Together,” you say, ‘So I practice the 48 laws.’ 48 Laws of Power— have you read that book in full, that’s an important book to you?
Yeah, I listened to the audiobook on The 48 Laws. Some of it I take, some of it I don’t, some of it kind of is being kind of sheisty, you feel me, and I probably wouldn’t be doing A1 business, but some of it I actually take, because some of it is actually good information. He also has another book, I think his name is Robert Green, and I gotta check out his new book, too, he made another book, I was just listening to a podcast, Patrick Bet-David, that’s his name, and he definitely was on that talkin’ something I wanted to hear.
What did you take from 48 Laws of Power, like, if there was one thing, and someone hadn’t read the book, what would you say, like, ‘This is what you should take from it?’
You should never be too accessible. Because once people get used to you, they get comfortable with you, and they’ll probably backstab you. You should always hold yourself to a certain standard where you’re never too accessible to people.
Interesting, yeah. There’s two more that kind of go together, but on “Addictive” you say you’re ‘on a 30-day cleanse’ and then you also mention doing a water fast on “State of Emergency,” is that something that’s routine for you– you actually do those water fasts? So crazy.
Yeah, I do water fasts. I do water fasts a lot because, let me tell you, I eat so much, like, if I ate regular, I’d probably be– I used to be 340 pounds, ‘cause I used to eat so much, so I lost a lot of weight, I lost over 100 pounds. Because I eat a lot, I got to do a cleanse so I ain’t so backed-up. Even though I eat healthy, I eat a lot, so I got to do cleanses here and there. Like, I might do a 24-hour dry fast, that’s no food, no water, or a 36-hour dry fast, no food, no water. It actually helps with my workout, like, I run for about two hours a day– I go run, I do push ups, lift weights, so I gotta kind of eat clean and do fasts, just so I can keep up with it.
That’s dope. That’s definitely good– do you intermittent fast, do you just fast in the morning every day, or is it just, you do the water fast when you want to do it?
I do intermittent fasting, as well, like I might eat every 16 hours. It kind of depends on how I feel, like I said, I eat a lot, so sometimes I get real hungry, and it’s just–eat everything. But sometimes, I fast 16 hours a day, I’ve also done a 7-day water fast, 3-day water fast– I just try out different things.
That’s cool. You mentioned running– is that your preferred form of exercise, you like to run?
Yeah, I run. I run on the treadmill, probably like, on 6.5 for an hour, then pump it up to seven for 30 minutes, so I like to run.
You don’t run outside?
I run outside, as well.
I love running. I like outside, but I’m in Montreal, so it gets cold in the winter, but I like to run.
I like outside way better, but where I live it’s kinda the country, it’s kind of dangerous running out there, ‘cause they be driving kind of fast down there.
There’s one more line that’s in that health and wellness space you dropped in your lyrics, ‘Sometimes I meditate just like Buddha,’ [“Going Hard”] so is meditation a daily practice for you, just something you do once in a while– how did you get into it?
To be honest, I meditate kind of different, like, I smoke a blunt and then I just space out and I meditate. I gotta get better with my meditating, but I just do it, it’s just something I do, like, I might just be spaced out for four hours, and it’s kind of considered meditating because I’m in a different state of mind, so I enjoy doing it because I’m kind of preparing myself for whatever’s finna come in the future.
You mentioned in another interview how you feel like you need to smoke to calm down, like, you need to smoke to feel ‘normal,’ versus other people, who smoke and then they get fucked up. Like, if I smoke, I’m out of it, the day’s done, I’m probably gonna go to sleep. But you smoke to start your day– can you expand on that a bit?
What it is, is like, if I’m not smoking, I got millions of ideas running through my head, I’m just on ‘Go,’ like, it’s whatever, but to calm that down, I gotta smoke to be normal. If I don’t smoke, it’s just all kinds of stuff, like, this is happening and that’s happening in my head, I’m thinking about this, I’m thinking about that– it’s like I’m charged up, I’m too charged up. So I gotta smoke to calm it down and just be normal. My thoughts be outta control if I don’t smoke.
How much do you smoke in a day– are you just, steady?
I ain’t gon’ lie, I be having to do weed fasts, like, weed cleanses, because I smoke so much, like, I’ll smoke like eight blunts in a day, or ten blunts in a day, just smoking. If I’m going to a show, I’ll smoke 12, 13 blunts in a row, everybody sleep, and I’m just up smoking. I had just did a three-month weed fast, though, where I ain’t touch no weed, and then I started back smoking for two weeks, but I think I’mma go ahead and do another three-month weed fast.
“I be having to do weed fasts, like, weed cleanses, because I smoke so much, like, I’ll smoke like eight blunts in a day, or ten blunts in a day, just smoking. If I’m going to a show, I’ll smoke 12, 13 blunts in a row, everybody sleep, and I’m just up smoking. I had just did a three-month weed fast, though, where I ain’t touch no weed.”
When you do that three-month weed fast, are you 100% sober, or do you drink alcohol? You would think you’d need to offset it, somehow, or compensate.
I don’t drink alcohol, I just smoke sometimes, that’s it, or I’ll take a dose of a mushroom or something, but I don’t drink alcohol.
What’s your day-to-day like? What grounds your morning, noon, and night, or do you not have any schedule ever and kind of just like, go with the flow every single day? Are there any things where, like, ‘I’m always gonna go in the studio every day at this time,’ or is it just whatever spur-of-the-moment type of stuff?
I just try and wake up and work out. That’s my main focus, to hit the gym, but other than that, when I do have a schedule, this is how my schedule go: I wake up, I work out, I hit the shooting range, I go check on my garden, for the plants and stuff like that, then I might hit the studio, or I might go kick it with the homies. It depends. It kind of switches up, but that’s mainly my schedule, right there.
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For your studio– you only record at home? You don’t go to other studios, ever, is that true? I feel like I heard you say that.
I 99% record at home, I’d rather record at home, but you know, if somebody got a bag big enough, I’ll go do the feature at a studio, like some people will be like, ‘I’ll give you 40 thousand,’ so I’ll be like, ‘You know what? Let’s go.’
You said on State of Emergency, ‘I gotta drop more, I ain’t dropping enough,’ but you drop a lot, so I’m just wondering– what’s ‘enough’ for you? Are you gonna drop another project this year, you think? Before the year’s over?
Yeah, I’m definitely gonna drop another project before the year’s over, I just feel like I’m never dropping enough, I’m always trying to drop new music because the more stuff I’m finding out, the more I wanna rap. Like, if I’m watching this and find out a bunch of stuff, I’m like, ‘Damn, man, I wanna rap about this,’ or if I go through something, ‘I definitely want to rap about this,’ so I kind of just want to keep dropping, you know? I got a love for it, so I just want to keep dropping. Man, you know the fans, it’s never enough for them. More and more, they crave it.
For sure. I definitely would be down for another project. For your next project, do you already have songs picked out, or is that gonna be something where you’re probably gonna do it, like, in one day?
Most of my projects, I drop in a day or take two, three days to drop the project. This is probably gonna be the same, but the Epidemic deluxe, that took a little while longer ‘cause I was moving around– I was in Hawaii, then I went to San Francisco, then I went to Texas, so that took a little while. I did a few songs in San Francisco, a few songs in Texas. The regular Epidemic, I did in San Francisco, State of Emergency I did in Hawaii– whatever state I’m in, I try and drop a tape there. But Epidemic, I knew was the one. I knew “24” was outta here, I knew “Courtesy” was outta here, “Another Lifetime,” that one’s still gon’ grow. Matter of fact, most of my music don’t catch on ‘til later anyways, so I’m kind of the opposite of other artists, like, their music takes off in the first couple weeks, and then it simmers on down, because of how the promotion is set up and how the music industry is set up, with promotion. Mine, I put it out, a lot of people don’t catch on until later. A lot of my subject matters don’t catch on until later, anyways, so that’s why I don’t even trip, but if you listen to “24,” like, I’m talking about psychedelics, I’m talking about new marijuana strains that ain’t even hit the south yet, I’m talking about Gelonade, I’m talking about Banana Cream Cake, Wedding Pie, so, it’s kind of like that.
Yeah. I also really fuck with “Amazon,” I feel like that one is picking up, too. Are you guys pushing that as a single? That’s my favorite song, I think.
Yeah, “Amazon,” we pushing that, for sure. We gon’ start.
But you’re just saying, like, in terms of your songs catching on late, like, “How It Feels,” like that one’s four years old, but some of your old songs, you could re-release them and it sounds like it would’ve dropped yesterday. Even with being four years old, they still sound so current– have you guys ever thought about re-releasing some of that stuff?
Well, the purpose of pushing “24” like that was to get everybody to come look at the whole catalogue, so what I did was, I didn’t drop a video to none of that stuff. So what I can do is, I can start dropping videos to some of them old songs, just to re-give them life, because a lot of people still ain’t heard it. I got a large fanbase, but it’s still not everywhere because I never promoted none of my music back then. I just started promoting my music, honestly, with “24.” “24” was the first song I ever fully, fully promoted. Other than that– and that was only because I got with Ghazi over at Empire, so he set up promotion plans for me– but to be honest, the way I feel about music is, it’s like water– it’s gon’ keep going, you know, nothing stops water. Water gon’ eventually end up going through rocks and moving them and separating them and splitting them over time, but that’s how I feel about music, like, if you make good music, it’s gon’ go anyways, so I just was making music, putting it out in the world, and letting it spread.
That’s so cool. I know you mentioned you didn’t scrap [projects], I’m just wondering, in the grand scheme of things, have you ever scrapped a project? Or, like, an entire project.
No, I never scrap any type of project. Most of the stuff I record, is out. I can’t hold on to it– I’ll be anxious, I gotta put it out.
“I’ll pay for a business move, just to get people to look at my catalogue, honestly, like, I’d pay Meg [Thee Stallion] for a feature, I like her music, she hot, so whatever she want, I’d give her the bag, just so I can get some of her fanbase, but other than that, I kind of like to do it by myself, organically.”
You mentioned going to do a feature, but you don’t really have a lot of features, that’s one pretty consistent, like, on every single project, if you have a feature, maybe two features max. And they’re not flashy, it’s really all about you, and you carry the project by yourself. I’m wondering if you have a strategy, or a plan– are you gonna start doing features and asking for features, or is that just not even…you don’t care? What’s your take?
As far as features go, I really gotta vibe with the person or connect, we gotta be on the same stuff. It’s kind of like, you not gon’ hang with somebody and y’all don’t have the same interests in common. So that’s kind of how I am, like, I’m not just gon’ do a feature with somebody just ‘cause they poppin. If we don’t relate, it’s no point– then it’s not really organic like that. It could be a business move, yeah, but….I’ll pay for a business move, just to get people to look at my catalogue, honestly, like, I’d pay Meg [Thee Stallion] for a feature, I like her music, she hot, so whatever she want, I’d give her the bag, just so I can get some of her fanbase, but other than that, I kind of like to do it by myself, organically. I like to just make a project because, really what ends up happening, when you start waiting for features, you gotta delay your projects because the label might not sign off, you might have differences with the person, a lot of times, a lot of people do features together and then they start beefing with each other. It ain’t been like that lately, but it was probably like a year ago, so I kind of just like to do it myself, or get the gang on it, like Black Circle, any artist from Black Circle, they’re welcome to get on the project.
Money Man, Ghazi and Peewee Longway at the 2019 BET Hip-Hop Awards – Aaron J. Thornton/WireImage/Getty Images
With Peewee Longway, how did that one come together? How did you guys connect originally– have you known him, growing up in Atlanta, or what’s your relationship with him?
To be honest, Longway was on way before me, so I kind of look up to Longway as far as music. You know, Longway, a lot of people don’t know Longway, Longway going crazy, Longway probably one of the hardest artists in Atlanta, but he distributes with Empire, I distribute with Empire, Ghazi came and he was like, ‘I think you two would sound good together.’ When I heard that, I was like, ‘Let’s go,’ and as soon as we started making the project, Longway got on there and started going crazy.
Yeah, he’s really dope. I feel like he’s another guy who’s super low-key, but every time he drops something, it’s really dope, but he’s really underrated, like, I don’t think enough people appreciate or know who he is.
Longway real good in front of the camera, but I think he’s just a low-key person, he just don’t want attention. That’s like me, I just don’t want the attention sometimes. I’m good at what I do, but I just don’t want the attention sometimes, I don’t want to become industry or nothing like that, I just want to be me.
Who do you look up to from Atlanta, maybe Peewee Longway is in that group, but are there other, whether they’re artists or just people that you’ve known in the city that inspired you or you looked up to while growing up, or now even?
Musically, I like errybody music, like, Lil Baby, I like his music, I like Thug’s music. Lucci’s music, even a lot of Houston artists, like Sauce Walka’s music. As far as people I look up to, I kind of looked up to my family, like my uncles, ‘cause you know, they was with the shit. My pops, he was with the shit, so I kind of looked up to family, I had family to look up to, I didn’t have to look up to nobody who would make me crash, just tell me anything, and stuff like that.
I just want to cover this briefly, obviously your Cash Money deal, you’ve talked about it before– when you signed that deal, did you go in with the mindset that, like, ‘I’m gonna buy myself out of this deal?’ Like, you went in with that mindset? Or were you thinking, ‘This is my deal, this is it, I’m gonna be famous, I don’t need another deal?’ What was your mindset like?
I went in kind of iffy, cause I had, like, five deals on the table at the time, but my lawyer knew some people over at Cash Money, but I always went in iffy, not saying them people over there was iffy, I just went in iffy because I was winning at the time– I think it was 2017, 2018– I was literally doing five shows a week, for 15 grand apiece, consistently. And I was streaming at a high rate, “Boss Up” was poppin’ and “How I Feel” was poppin’ at the time, so I kind of went into the deal like, ‘Alright, maybe Cash Money can kind of elevate me,’ and that’s all I was thinking, like, ‘Alright, this will elevate me to another level.’ I had people in my ear, but I went in kind of weary, though, but as soon as I signed the deal, I regretted it. I only regretted it because I didn’t want to be in the Republic system– not saying it’s nothing wrong with Republic, but I didn’t want to be trapped in the major label system, where they got your life in the palm of their hands, so if they don’t want you to make music, they can say, ‘We don’t want you to make music,’ because they control everything, they control too much of you. I just wanted to be free, you know, it’s one of them cases where, like, I just wanted to be free.
“I kind of went into the deal like, ‘Alright, maybe Cash Money can kind of elevate me,’ and that’s all I was thinking, like, ‘Alright, this will elevate me to another level.’ I had people in my ear, but I went in kind of weary, though, but as soon as I signed the deal, I regretted it. I only regretted it because I didn’t want to be in the Republic system– not saying it’s nothing wrong with Republic, but I didn’t want to be trapped in the major label system, where they got your life in the palm of their hands, so if they don’t want you to make music, they can say, ‘We don’t want you to make music,’ because they control everything, they control too much of you.”
Was there something you learned from that experience that helped you grow? Maybe things you took out of it that were positives?
What did I learn from that experience? What I learned from that experience was, I was gonna be getting crumbs. Like, standard contract, you probably get, what, 12 to 18 percent of all revenue? Which, it don’t matter if you’re somebody like Drake, but if you’re not Drake, it’s a problem, ‘cause you gotta make your money off just shows and features, you’ll probably never see a streaming check or nothing like that, so it’s kind of crazy. Also, I learned that if you got the money, you can kind of do it yourself, you can keep it independent and you can just get with a partner and go crazy.
I’m gonna wrap up quickly, but I did want to ask one last thing about “24,” I know you said you kind of had an idea that it was gonna be a really big song– did you choose the Lil Baby remix– is that something that you were like, ‘I want Lil Baby on the song,’ like, ‘That’s gonna help elevate it,’ or how did that feature on the remix come together?
When I was making the song, I knew Lil Baby would sound good on that, I knew Gunna would sound good on that, Thug would sound good on that, but I kind of didn’t think to put them on there. It was Ghazi, he hit me and was like, ‘Man, we should put Lil Baby on here,’ and I was like, ‘You know what, that sounds good to me,’ and when he said that, he was like, ‘I’mma hit him up,’ and I was like, ‘Go ahead,’ but I already knew Lil Baby, too, because I had met Lil Baby in Saks Fifth and he was just asking me some advice, and I just shot him a little advice, you know, Lil Baby cool, like, he keep it a thousand, so we just shot him a bag to do the verse, and we went crazy.
What next for you? What do you want to do in 2021, tell us what’s next for Money Man.
Well, I got a lot of content coming, like, I’m gonna start putting my life on my YouTube channel, like, all the stuff that I do, ‘cause I really do do a lot of different stuff that people probably wanna see, and you know it’s a shift coming, people are tired of the same old thing, tired of watching the same old thing, it’s kind of getting boring to them, so I’mma start documenting my life online on my YouTube channel just to show people a lot of different content. Also, I got a podcast coming. My goal with the podcast is just to put a lot of people on game, something they can listen to that’ll influence them to go the right directions as far as with their money, health, and stuff like that, so I’m trying to have an all-around podcast for ‘em. 2021 gon’ be crazy. Imma probably start back doing shows 2021.
“I’mma start documenting my life online on my YouTube channel just to show people a lot of different content. Also, I got a podcast coming. My goal with the podcast is just to put a lot of people on game, something they can listen to that’ll influence them to go the right directions as far as with their money, health, and stuff like that, so I’m trying to have an all-around podcast for ‘em.”
Yeah, I was literally gonna ask you, ‘Are you going to start a podcast?’ So that’s cool, you gotta start it, like Joe Rogan! That’s so cool– I’m excited to hear everything, to watch your videos, and your new music, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. We’ll be in touch.
Good, I appreciate y’all having me on.
Yeah, I really appreciate it, hopefully I didn’t take up too much of your time. The health and wellness stuff really interests me, so I’m sorry if I went on a little bend there.
Are you vegan?
No, I’m not vegan, I’m actually grain free, I don’t eat sugar. I actually have Crohn’s Disease, so I have a specific diet that I follow to stay healthy, to keep my disease in remission, but I don’t eat grains, I don’t eat sugar, I really just eat real, whole foods. I’m not vegan, I eat meat, but I don’t eat processed shit, I eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, for sure. I’m also a really big runner, I used to run six miles every day, I love running, so it’s cool to hear rappers talk about that, and I feel like if you’re doing it, and maybe a few more rappers are gonna start doing it. It’s definitely infiltrating hip-hop a bit, like, that health and wellness and meditation, and just, being more cognizant of that part. I feel like it is kind of infiltrating hip-hop, which is kind of cool.
Yeah, it’s gon’ fully infiltrate hip-hop in about, probably like a year. ‘Cause it’s already started, like you said, but it’s gon’ fully infiltrate because, I ain’t gon’ lie, it’s just a lot of bad info going around in hip-hop, where they influencing a lot of people to kind of…die, you know what I’m saying? [laughs]
That’s why it’s cool– if you start a YouTube channel and show people how to grow vegetables, especially with the pandemic, I know people were buying seeds just to grow during the pandemic, and people were selling out of vegetable seeds just because people were trying to stock up. It’s just cool to give people that information, I don’t know where else they’re getting it from, where they’re gonna get it, you know?
Yeah, for sure.
If you start a podcast, you can be the Joe Rogan of hip-hop podcasts, and just have all the guests, and just give us information and let us learn.
Yeah, for sure. I appreciate y’all having me on here.
Thank you so much, it was a great conversation.
If you missed it, you can read (or watch) previous On The Come Up interviews with 42 Dugg, who teases a collab album with Lil Baby; Yella Beezy, who details his Southern influences; Lil Keed, who teases a possible song with Drake, Mulatto, where she dives into Gucci Mane attempting to sign her; Fivio Foreign discussing why the ‘King of NY’ title is obsolete; D Smoke diving into Gang Culture during his interview; and finally, Flo Milli telling us about going viral on TikTok and how that changed her life.