Memphis Rapper Moneybagg Yo has been rapping since 2012, releasing his first 2 mixtapes that year, and then a collaboration mixtape in 2014. He started picking up steam in 2015 with the release of 2 more mixtapes; Relentless in June, and Federal in September. The latter received a deluxe version which got a lot of buzz in the local scene, being awarded ‘Mixtape of the Year’ at the Memphis Hip Hop Awards.
Ever since first gaining momentum and recognition Moneybagg has been hard at work grinding and dropping quality music regularly, dropping another 3 solo mixtapes in 2016 alone. On top of this, 2016 saw Moneybagg drop a collaborative mixtape with Yo Gotti titled ‘2 Federal’. 2 Federal charted at number 48, and off the strength of the tape as well as the Yo Gotti co-sign, Moneybagg Yo started off 2017 strongly with the release of his ‘Heartless’ Mixtape In February. The Mixtape charted at 177, and shortly after Moneybagg signed a distribution deal with Interscope. Moneybagg took advantage of the strong start to the year, releasing his Interscope debut ‘Federal 3X’ in August. The Mixtape debuted at 5, his most successful release yet. To wrap up 2017, he dropped the collaborative mixtape ‘Fed Babys’ in November with fellow up and comer NBA Youngboy.
Over the last couple of years Moneybagg Yo has kept up the grind, dropping a multitude of quality projects. 2018 saw the release of another 3 full length projects; The ‘2 Heartless’ mixtape in February, ‘Bet On Me’ mixtape in July, & his debut album ‘RESET’ in November. Throughout 2018 he also toured, and collaborated with other artists such as Lil Baby, Gunna, Quavo & J. Cole. 2019 saw Moneybagg touring again, collaborating with more big name artists, and releasing his second album ‘43va Heartless’ in May. The album was stacked with features and performed well, debuting at number 4, so it’s fair to say by this point he had well and truely on the radar of many hip hop heads worldwide. And that brings us up to now!
On January 10th 2020 Moneybagg Yo released his 3rd album ‘Time Served’. The album is 15 tracks long, and features guest appearances from Lil Baby, DaBaby, Future, Blac Youngsta, Fredo Bang, Summer Walker & Megan Thee Stallion. Moneybagg preceded the album with one single, ‘U Played (ft. Lil Baby)’, and also included a previous single ‘All Dat (ft. Megan Thee Stallion)’ on the final album.
Below are my thoughts on the album. First I’m going to included a track by track review, which will be my short, informal and for the most part unedited thoughts on each song as I was listening. Afterwards I’ll write a bit about my opinions on the album as a whole. And then finally I’ll included some streaming links and discussion questions at the bottom. Enjoy!
Track By Track Review
1. Speak 4 Em – Real interesting beat, nice synths. Moneybaggs delivery is hard. Lots of crisp flows and bars. Similar to some of his other intro tracks eg. no hook. Good song but not great
2. U Played (ft. Lil Baby) – Heard this when it dropped the other day. Real hard hitting Tay Keith beat. Solid delivery again, and a catchy little hook. Decent bars from Moneybagg. Great rhymes from Lil Baby, real impressive flows too. Enjoyable song, great banger. Not as good as their previous collabs on first listen
3. Pop My Shit – Another real hard hitting beat and catchy little hook. Solid flows on the first verse, and some decent bars here and there. Second verse has more exciting flows. Song doesn’t really go anywhere, is a bit 1 dimensional
4. Pistol by Da Bed – Love this beat, is simple but has this real nice g-funk vibe to it. Drums hit hard too. Moneybagg sounds amazing on this too, sounds like a boss with this confident, menacing delivery. A lot of great quotables too. Also has my favourite hook so far. Really interesting song in every way
5. 1 2 3 (ft. Blac Youngsta) – Hard hitting piano melody and bass. Love the Travis Scott like backing vocals. Blac Youngsta starts off the song with an amazing hook full of great bars, delivery and rhyme schemes. Moneybagg verse is crazy enjoyable, impressive flows, delivery and hella quotables. Blac Youngsta verse is just as good as Baggs, equally as impressive and enjoyable in every way. Love this track overall, amazing chemistry
6. Match My Fly – Ooh love song Moneybagg! Love the mix of angelic piano and thumping bass. Great melodies on the hook, really catchy and pleasant sounding. Verses are exceptional, keeps up this pleasant coherent delivery while changing up flows and giving us a whole heap of great bars. Love the ad libs/ backing vocals on this. Beautiful song, great show of his versatility
7. Thinking Out Loud – Moneybagg sounds a bit lazy/bored on the intro but it works surprisingly well. Quickly steps it up tho, changes flows every few bars. Beat is a mix of thumping bass and this sexy sounding guitar. Lots of great bars and storytelling, gets a bit personal. Great gunshot sounds. Actually love this beat, the guitar especially
8. Federal Fed (ft. Future) – Eerie synths, trap drums, hard bass. Bagg is back to sounding like a boss, real confident delivery and lots of quotables. Also real impressive flows which he changes up constantly. Super catchy hook too. Future comes in with the heat from the get go. Future verse is fire, real solid flow all the way, with some great rhyme schemes and quotables too. The beat is one of the most boring/basic so far but Moneybagg and Future bring it to life
9. Bitch – wtf this beat is insane. Bass thumps so hard and that 90s sounding synth is amazing. Moneybagg is ridiculous on this, such confidence in his delivery, flows and rhymes. Song is jam packed full of memorable bars. Bagg rides the beat so well, song is thoroughly enjoyable start to end
10. Protect Da Brand (ft. DaBaby) – Such a menacing beat. Moneybagg is strong off the bat. Another catchy hook with great rhyme schemes and bars. Love the little Asian sounding stringed instrument on the beat. Even more solid flows and bars from Bagg on the verse, great verse. DaBaby and this beat mesh perfectly, amazing feature, high energy with some great rhyme schemes. Another banger
11. Thug Cry – Back to personal introspective Moneybagg. Real calming beat. Nice melodic hook. More impressive storytelling on this one, but still lots of solid flows and rhymes. Great change up to the beat at the end of the second verse. Hook really grows on you. Really nice song but not as memorable as many of the others
12. Dem People Freestyle – Basic trap beat. Moneybagg goes as hard as always, but lacks exciting flows and memorable bars. Hook is good but drags on. This felt like a throwaway, first song I disliked
13. Real Luv (ft. Summer Walker) – Real atmospheric r&b like beat. Summer sounds real nice on the hook. Moneybagg sounds amazing with the melodic flow he uses. Still flows as great and has just as many quotables as usual. The backing vocals from Summer are a really nice touch. Bagg fits this style so well, this song has mad pop appeal. Great song, really impressed by Summer
14. Spin On Em (ft. Fredo Bang) – Oooh this beat, real funky bass. Nice subtle piano too, good combo. Fredo sounds amazing with the melodic delivery on the hook, real catchy. Bagg verse is real solid but felt way too short. Second verse is decent, both rappers sound nice. Song just has a weird structure, felt more like a Fredo Bang song
15. All Dat (ft. Megan Thee Stallion) – Heard this when it released in 2019. Great ‘Twerk’ song, perfect best for it. Moneybagg has even more great quotables and flows. Love the 2 person hook. Megan has a great verse, love her flow and she even has some great quotables of her own
I just wanted to preface this by saying I’m a massive Moneybagg Yo fan. I personally think he is one of the best artists currently releasing music. I try not to have too many expectations going into albums to lessen the possible disappointment, but after thoroughly enjoying the last 5 full length projects from Moneybagg it was hard not to go into this this album without expecting something that was great at the very least.
With all that out of the way, overall I though ‘Time Served’ was an exceptional album. Moneybagg Yo is a true all-rounder, and this album showcases that excellently. His ear for beats is as good as anyone else in the game, he flows over all of them with ease, his delivery is confident and almost always enjoyable to listen to, he changes up his flows effortlessly, he can craft a catchy hook, he can spit hard hitting bars or deliver a beautiful melodic performance, his bars themselves are smart and full of funny and witty quotables, and his use of ad libs is unique and impressive. Moneybagg Yo really does it all, and does it all in such an impressive and enjoyable way.
This album showed Moneybagg Yo’s versatility superbly, which was aided largely by the great beat selection. At times he rapped over hard hitting bass heavy trap beats such as on ‘123’ & ‘U Played‘, and other times over soft synths and piano melodies such as on ‘Real Luv’ & ‘Thug Cry’. And the most impressive thing is Moneybaggs ability to change up his deliveries and subject matter to match the range of instrumentals, whether it be spitting bars boasting about his luxurious life, or singing these melodic verses and hooks about topics such as love and drug addiction. There were many standout beats, and also many standout moments. I loved the funky bass on ‘Spin On Em’, the piano on ‘Match My Fly’, The Travis Scott like humming in the background of ‘123’, and probably my favourite moment of all, the 90s like synth sound used in ‘Bitch’.
Moneybagg Yo himself was in no way shown up by the incredible beats, either bringing justice to sensational beats, or bringing life to the more basic ones. He continued to do everything that made his last few projects so enjoyable, most notably the multitude of flows, the range of deliveries, and the catchy hooks throughout the album. What really impressed me is that he continues to deliver so many great metaphors and quotables on just about every song. He has the ability to be funny, to be relatable, and to tell a story, all of which is on show at various times on ‘Times Served’. Apart from disliking a song or 2, I really can’t fault Moneybaggs performance here. Even on the less enjoyable tracks Moneybagg still puts in a solid performance, they just pale in comparison to all the great tracks.
Apart from Moneybagg Yo’s contributions to his album, all of the features on ‘Time Served’ come through with impressive performances and do a great job at improving their respective tracks. After appearing on 60 songs in 2019, Lil Baby started of 2020 with a bang with an amazing feature on ‘U Played’. The collab with Future contained a spectacular Future verse showcasing his amazing flow, and is my favourite of the ~4 songs they now have together. Fredo Bang and Summer Walker both provide beautiful melodic hooks on their features, personally a great ‘second jmpression’ on me from 2 artists I had previously overlooked. Bagg and Blac Youngsta continued to show off their insane chemistry on ‘1 2 3’, and DaBaby did well to match Moneybaggs energy and charisma on ‘Protect Da Brand’. Overall just a super impressive performance from every featured artist, not a single one I disliked.
As much as I loved this album, there were a couple things I was disappointed about, but a lot of these are based more so off previous experience. I thought the intro track was a slightly worse version of the intro track from his last album. I thought the Lil Baby collaboration wasn’t as enjoyable as their past collaborations. And I felt like it was lacking some features from frequent collaborators such as Kevin Gates, BlocBoy JB & Gunna, but this is more so a testament to how well he utilises other artists strengths and the chemistry he has with so many other rappers. My only real complaints that aren’t based on past experiences and expectations are that ‘Pop My Shit’ was nowhere as good as it could have been, and ‘Dem People Freestyle’ shouldn’t have been on the album at all. All in all not many negatives at all.
So just to summarise, I thoroughly enjoyed this album. The beat selection, choice of features, and Moneybagg himself were all amazing for the most part. I thought Dem People Freestyle was a bad track, Pop My Shit was an average track, and every other song was at least an 8/10 (not that I actually rate them). Just for comparisons sake, I’d say this is better than ‘Bet On Me’, but worse than ‘RESET’, and on about the same level as ‘43va Heartless’ & ‘2 Heartless’. Initially, it doesn’t have the highs of ‘RESET’, ‘43va Heartless’ & ‘2 Heartless’, but is more consistent than the latter 2. If you liked this I implore you to check out some other projects, you won’t be disappointed.
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The standout tracks were honestly almost all of them. I thought ‘Dem People Freestyle’ was bad, but other than that every song is worth a listen. Highly recommend you listen to this album in full.
What did you think of the album?
How did you think Time Served compared to Moneybagg Yo’s other projects?
Thanks for reading!
– Shan –