The Lyric Oxford will feature up-and-coming rapper Moneybagg Yo tonight.
Outside of the Memphis rap scene, Yo is relatively new, but he has shown himself to be a rapper worth keeping your eye on. His first releases, a series of singles, came out in 2015. One of his mixtapes went on to win the 2015 Memphis Hip Hop Award for mixtape of the year. His full-length mixtape, “Federal Reloaded,” also came out in 2015 and featured Yo Gotti and Migos’ Quavo. Collaborations with other rappers were a consistent part of Yo’s earliest music.
In the past two years, Yo has burst onto the national hip-hop stage, mostly due to his continued partnership with the well-established Gotti and, most importantly, his signing with Gotti’s Collective Music Group (CMG) record label.
Yo’s 2016 “2 Federal” saw further work with Gotti, who is featured on each of the 19 tracks. Blac Youngsta, another CMG member, is also featured on the album.
Yo’s experiences growing up in Memphis provided much of the inspiration for “2 Federal,” and he introduced a new level of edge and grit to his lyrics. This album is defined by his relationships with the other artists on the CMG label. Fans of Gotti or other similar rappers will really enjoy Yo’s sound.
Yo’s references to his troubled upbringing form the foundation of his newer music, but he often contrasts those struggles with his recent successes. There’s definitely a certain sound in much of his music, and there isn’t really much distinction from song to song, but if you like what you hear, Wednesday night won’t disappoint.
This year has brought a lot of new music from this artist, as well as a step away from featuring other rappers on his songs. Greatly contrasting with “Federal Reloaded,” Yo’s album “Heartless,” released earlier this year, only features other artists on two of the 12 songs, and none of them happen to be Yo Gotti, either. “Heartless” charted the Billboard 200 and introduced a similar but more mature sounding rapper.
Not one to slow down, Yo released another full-length mixtape this August, titled “Federal 3X,” that continued his break from featuring other artists on his work and made it to the No. 5 spot on the Billboard 200. Once again, his childhood in Memphis contrasted with recent successes was a key theme to his lyrics. His most well-known song remains “Doin 2 Much,” featuring Yo Gotti, but “Federal 3X” has provided Yo with some of his biggest hits so far.
Yo is definitely a linear artist. Each new work signifies some growth or maturation in his creative process. The subject matter might stay relatively the same and Yo never really swims beyond the shallow end of the lyrical pool, but with each new release, his sound evolves into something new.
For such a new artist, Yo has a large catalog of original work. He’s released four albums in two years and in the process has managed to make it into the national hip-hop discussion. This concert will provide Oxford the opportunity to see an artist who might one day be a great. His past work definitely points to something big in the future.
If his music videos are any indication, concert attendees can look forward to seeing a grown man wearing some spectacular headbands. There isn’t anything earth-shatteringly unique about Yo’s music – expect a lot of references to sex and drugs.
Doors open at 8 p.m. with the show starting at 9 p.m. Tickets are $30 and can be bought at the door as well as online.