By Sade Hawthorne
On January 21st, 2020, Moneybagg Yo's Time Served debuted at #3 on Billboard's top 200 standing with the likes of Selena Gomez and Roddy Rich. The rapper secured his highest-charting album with his third studio project. As the follow up to 2019's 43VA HEARTLESS, the Memphis rapper enlisted star-studded help from Future, Da Baby, Lil Baby, and more. With rhymes galore and a flow to match, Moneybagg Yo wasted no time with 'Speak 4 Em'. Staying busy with shows and recording music, Bagg boasts on his latest good fortune. Elevating and upgrading his image, this track is all about looking back at where he came from, where he is and what's coming up next.
'U played' ft. Lil Baby marks the second song and single to this album. Released on January 3rd, the Tay-Keith produced record allowed the two rappers to tag-team on how they feel on women trying to flex on them but ultimately staying two steps ahead of the games. The trap beat production between 'Pop My Sh*t' and 'Pistol By Da Bed' makes these two worthy contenders to be blasted with the bass roaring in your car. '123' introduces the collaboration between Moneybagg and Blac Youngsta. In a typical humorous manner, Blac Youngsta presents with catchy wordplay such as "I'm a young rich n*gga, stacked to the ceilin'/Walk in the bank, Diddy bop like I'm Diddy (Boppin')." It is clear the fellow Memphis rapper does not take rapping that seriously, but with his persona, it works.
Midway through the album, the beat slows down, and Moneybagg takes his foot slightly off the gas and shows his softer side with 'Match My Fly.' We get a sneak peek to Bagg's personal life with 'Thinking Out Loud' and 'Thug Cry.' Bearing comparison to Rich Homie Quan, Moneybagg questions how others view him when they don't know him. "How they gon' judge me?/ They don't even know me/They say money changed me/But I'm still the old me" and "I remember sleepin' on the floor, me and cuz/That was way back 'fore you knew who I was/2015, I was lookin' for a plug/Everything I got, I had to dig it out the mud" are just a few lines that go more in-depth than the typical superficial topics found throughout the album (i.e., money, women, brand names and, drugs).
However, these moments come as a rarity, and while 'Protect Da Brand' with Da Baby and 'Dem People Freestyle' come as highlights towards the end of the album, this project comes as a solid yet modest piece of work. The production with Moneybagg's cadence is a treat, and with just enough substance, casual and die-hard fans alike will be appeased until the next project. He found a formula that works for him, and while this album is not Bagg's opus, I am confident that he is well on his way to honing his skills further to bring us his best work.
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