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EXCLUSIVE: Money Man Talks Hustle, Ambition and Life After Cash Money

Money Man is miles away from home but he’s looking awfully comfortable, perched high on a barstool in the lounge at the posh Intercontinental Hotel Times Square. There are suited businessmen on either side of the bar, nursing whiskey drinks in short glasses. But the Decatur rapper is stone sober, focused on knocking out one more interview before he can return to the A and get back to the work.

Money has already dropped three projects in 2018, [Grow God, 6 Hours, 6 Hours 2] and he’s planning on finally releasing his debut album All Bitcoin this fall. This is the LP that Cash Money could’ve had the jump on since signing him in 2017, but Money Man says he had to find a way out of that situation. It ended up being a very expensive exit, but an exit nonetheless. Who could blame him? One would have to be willfully ignorant not to acknowledge what’s going on over at Baby’s house. But we digress.

The Black Circle founder made his way to the national stage after his song “How It Feel” was met with a resounding bounce from the coolest in the middle school set to their square ass parents. He wears his recent success well but if you look closer, there’s something else underneath, something stirring. When asked about the day-to-day responsibilities as head of his own imprint, where he’s in charge of at least four artists outside of himself [Shooter, Gutta, J Rock, Juney], Money sighs, then responds, “It’s a heavy load because I gotta concentrate on eight things at once but you can’t cry about it. You gotta get it done.”

Hip-Hop Wired: With all the rappers that have come out of Atlanta in the past 15 years, what made you want to enter the ring and pursue this as a career?

Money Man: I really started at like 15, 16… I was just a lover of music, so I would just hear it on the radio and I started picking up on the sounds that made me wanna be an artist.

I just left [Cash Money] because my [signing] wasn’t helping me.

HHW: People have compared you to a couple of other artists, “How It Feel” sounds like all the best parts of Future, but it’s you. How do you deal with the comparisons?

MM: It’s just the Atlanta sound. Future does influence a lot of the music in Atlanta because he was the hottest artist there… Young Thug, Rich Homie [Quan], really everybody got the same melodic sound.

HHW: What was the first clue that your grind was working?

Money Man: The first mixtape I put out caught a buzz so I kinda knew that if I keep going, it’ll turn into something bigger.

HHW: We’re only about halfway into year and you have three projects out. Why?

Money Man: I like to drop my projects right after I make ‘em so I finished one and dropped it right after. Then I made another one and dropped it right after I was going with my feelings, I didn’t have too much of a strategy behind it.

The projects that I drop all the songs kinda coincide with each other, they all have the same kind of vibe so I want them to all come out together so you can see the whole picture. I’m talking ‘bout a lifestyle. Like, this is the hottest marijuana strain right now. This is what’s going on right now, the day I make it so I kinda want it to get out to the people at that same time.

HHW: How long does it typically take for you to complete these bodies of work?

Money Man: Grow God, took a week and that’s really about what was going on in that week.

Six Hours was completed in six hours after a trip to California to finish up some videos for Grow God, then when I got back it hit me to record a tape in six hours so I just went ahead and finished the whole thing.

HHW: Now that you can say you’ve been in both situations: Major label or stay the indie course?

Money Man: Either or, whichever benefits you. If you can make a lot of money with the label, go with the label. If you can make a lot of money independently and you can manage the responsibility then do that yourself. A 360 is cool if you work it out right. Like, if a label can elevate your show from 10 grand to 50 grand then giving up 10% of that, you still winning. You just gotta structure it to fit you the best.

HHW: When Cash Money took your music off of streaming outlets, after signing you last year, was that the nail in the coffin?

Money Man: It was one of the nails… I just left because my [signing] wasn’t helping me. It wasn’t bettering my situation. Whatever I felt like they could do at the time, I could do myself. When they took my music down from streaming platforms, that was one of the final nails in the coffin because I was like “I gotta g’head and get myself out of this situation before it messes up my income.” So I went ahead and rectified them and got everything back up and running. But I was already planning on leaving, about four, five months in. I just felt like being independent at the time because it was like, I might as well. I was already winning independently. But now, if they come with a lot of money we can work something out. As long as the paperwork look good. A lot of people worry about that later.

HHW: People have been circulating this meme recently about how much Atlanta rappers “help” each other to the top. How much truth is in that?

Money Man: I mean, New York used to do that when New York was on top but now the A is on top… The A run the game right now but you know, everybody gets their chance. When a certain coast isn’t on top, it looks like it’s because everybody’s hating on each other, when really it’s just that it’s not the wave right now. The south is the wave right now until it moves back over to the west coast or the north again.

HHW: I’m sure you’ve heard mumblings of how many club dates a certain someone is still obligated to do contractually over at Cash Money. Was that one of the points ringing in your head before getting out?

Money Man: I never really tried too much to get into the situations over there that wasn’t mine but I’m glad I got out at a time when they didn’t try and shelve me or hold me back. They let me go ahead and get up outta there before Universal stepped in too heavy, before Bird[man] felt some type of way.

Listen to Money Man’s Six Hours 2.

Photo: Courtesy of Money Man

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