The Atlanta rapper caught his first hit after his 18th mixtape.
After years of independent grinding and building a cult following, things are finally taking off for Money Man. The Atlanta rapper scored his first charting hit earlier last month with the help of Lil Baby, who jumped on the remix to Money Man’s Kobe Bryant dedication “24.” The song was originally released sans Lil Baby back in February, but adding the My Turn rapper has proven to be a cheat code to chart success in 2020. Ever since Baby hopped on “24,” the song has spent four weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at No. 63.
Money Man has been releasing mixtapes since 2016. He finally caught a hit on the deluxe version of his 18th mixtape, the COVID-19 inspired Epidemic. Rap fans who aren’t familiar with the 34-year-old rapper are catching up to his infectious flows that are a cross between Future (when he raps) and the always-in-pocket Gunna. But it hasn’t been an easy road for him.
In an interview in 2017, Money Man admitted he’d gone broke multiple times by investing in his rap career. However, in other interviews, the rapper—who has an entirely plant-based, homegrown diet—has also claimed he made over $100,000 by investing in bitcoin early on. His career seemed poised to take off in 2017 when he signed a deal with Cash Money Record, but the partnership never really went anywhere and he claimed he paid $250,000 to be released from his contract.
Money Man started to make noise last year when he independently released his mixtape Paranoia, which peaked at No. 36 on the album’s chart. Just before the coronavirus put us all in lockdown, he released Epidemic on March 2. But the title was soon outdated—on March 11, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. By March 20, Money Man released yet another mixtape with State of Emergency. Both projects created a slow-building buzz which he capitalized off in late August with the deluxe edition of Epidemic, which boasted outlandish “RONA KILLA” cover art as well the remix of “24.”
For a song that’s supposed to be about Kobe Bryant, there are few lyrical mentions of him on “24.” Money does offer his condolences at the beginning of the Nflated produced track though:
Burnin’ on Lilikoi, ashes look corduroy
R.I.P. Kobe Bryant, R.I.P. 24
And he briefly mentions the Lakers legend during his verse:
Grew up in the trap watching Kobe yam on a n-gga
Pull up in the Porsche, yeah, the Pan’ on a n-gga
Meanwhile, Lil Baby flexes about his commercial prowess:
I came in a hard top, I’m still in the drop, though
I can make the charts drop whenever I wan’ drop somethin’
Baby has plenty to boast about. The Atlanta rapper has the second most Hot 100 entries this year, ranging from My Turn cuts like “We Paid,” non-album loosies like “The Bigger Picture,” and as a guest on tracks like Pop Smoke’s “For the Night.” “24” is just another hit to that list.
Even without Lil Baby’s help, the song was poised to be a hit thanks in part to the success it was seeing on TikTok. On July 16, TikTok user @noahbeck (13.9 million followers) teamed up with @addisonre (60 million followers) to do a dance challenge to the song. The clip generated over 5 million views, and the song has been used in 1.2 million TikToks since.
The TikTok clip definitely had an effect on Genius. The song page for “24” was averaging roughly 133 pageviews per day since Money Man’s track dropped, but this nudged up to 565 pageviews per day after Noah Beck’s clip. Once the Lil Baby remix came out, the song page’s daily average rose further, to 1,000 pageviews per day, while remix averaged an additional 1,200 on its own.
Read all the lyrics to Money Man’s “24.” on Genius now.