Speak Now” is the fifth studio album from DeMario White Jr., but you know him better as Moneybagg Yo. I’m making the assumption you know who he is — and we know how dangerous assuming can be — but with four albums prior to this and a slew of high profile guest appearances for The Game, Freddie Gibbs, DaBaby and Takeoff (RIP) among others there’s a high chance rap fans know his name. I can’t imagine you’re reading a site called “Rap Reviews” if you’re not one too, but if you stumbled into this one at random thanks for being here. Did you know we have a Patreon too? Anyway…

The first single off “Speak Now” was the Tay Keith produced “Bussin.” On the off chance you weren’t already familiar with Moneybagg this song would fill you in quick. You can hear Memphis in every word that he speaks. His voice pours over Keith’s pounding beat like syrup over chicken and waffles and drips with Dirty South attitude. While Rob49 is an excellent guest, it’s like coming off the bench for King James and going back after he’s had a breather. We all know who the star is here and it’s the commanding baritone vocals of Mr. Yo fo’ sho’. He and Tay prove they are well suited for each other when he returns for the follow-up single “Tryna Make Sure” to help Yo brag some mo’.

“I be havin rich problems – damn
Ten thousand for a Double-R window
Another ten, it’s a dent on the fender (fuck)
Stand on business like I’m wearin suspenders (suit)”

He might seem self absorbed but on the song’s hook he still gets out the lines “I’m tryna make sure we all gon’ profit/I’m tryna make sure you see how I pop it.” If Memphis could use anything these days it’s a little more “we all gon’ make it” and a little less envy of those who already have. It’s hard to imagine there aren’t some people who see his drip and catch feelings though, because he’s not shy about showing it off or bragging about “spending racks” on hoes on tracks like “Taboo Miami.” The Boy-1da track helps take his natural rizz to another level. “How many licks will it take me to make you cum?” He’s crass but it’s fun to listen to.

Yo is well enough established that big name features are almost an afterthoughts — that’s just his friends returning the favors he’s done for everyone else. “Drunk Off U” featuring Chris Brown isn’t a single yet but I’d be shocked if it wasn’t one before the year is over. “Whiskey Whiskey” has even bigger crossover potential thanks to MORGAN WALLEN singing on it. If that caught you by surprise you weren’t paying attention — Moneybagg Yo describes himself as a “country motherfucker” who wants a “little cowgirl” to “ride it like a stallion.” Maybe there’s a Ginuwine remix coming?

Other features include Lil Durk on “Gangstas Relate,” YTB Fatt for “On Det,” and Kevo Muney on the outro “Go Gho$t” (which curiously is listed as an “interlude” — whatever). How you feel about “Speak Now” is going to depend largely on your tolerance for unapologetic and unrepentant bragging with more than a few pinches of misogyny mixed in. He knows it too. “I Feel It” is about Yo’s awareness of all the haters looking at him, whether it’s for his lyrical content or being jealous of his wealth (or both). I don’t expect DeMario White Jr. to be anything other than what he is, any more than I’d expect it from Jayceon Taylor or Todd Shaw, so as long as his voice has a magnetic appeal and the beats are strong I’ll keep listening. Besides he’s in his early 30’s. As long as he avoids the traps and violence that are endemic to Memphis, he could be a wizened elder statesman of the scene in due time. If he was still saying the same shit in his 50’s as his 30’s, then I’d be worried.

Moneybagg Yo :: Speak Now
7Overall Score