Kevo Muney discusses "Leave Some Day," his Church roots, and the profound effect that his late grandmothers had on him as both a person and artist.
Rise & Grind is a new editorial series, meant to introduce and dissect new, buzzing, or underground artists.
It's a common saying that people only have one chance to make a great first impression, and in 2019, Kevo Muney adopted that mindset when dropping his nine-track project Baby G.O.A.T. The artwork for the project featured a grotesque illustration of a distressed goat giving birth, and rather than a billy, the goat was pushing out Kevo Muney. Whether people were grossed out or dying with laughter after seeing the Baby G.O.A.T. artwork, the outlandish cover went viral, introducing hundreds of thousands of people to the rising artist.
But beyond the gimmicky artwork that lured people in, Kevo Muney has already proven himself to be a true artist who is able to easily translate pain into hit records. His breakout single, "Leave Some Day" has amassed well over 150 million plays to date, and in the first half of 2021, the Atlantic Records artist has shared two projects: the 14-track mixtape Lucille's Grandson and the recently-released EP Because I Love Yall.
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Roughly a decade after singing for money all day and all night night on Beale Street as a nameless, yet talented adolescent, Kevo Muney has taken his career to new heights and earned co-signs from Hip-Hop heavyweights such as Lil Baby, Chief Keef, Kevin Gates, Gunna, Tay Keith, and several others. Now, to discuss his roots as a person and as an artist, here is Kevo Muney.
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I’m from South Memphis, Tennessee. Cleaborn Homes Projects, Third Wall, Georgia Avenue. All that in one you know. I think I had a typical growing up like everybody else who was around me. It wasn’t too good, wasn’t too bad. It really wasn’t bad period, for me. Now we went through what we went through when we was young, but shit, I had fun when I was young. So I really can’t say too much bad, but yeah that’s where I’m from — South Memphis man.
I’m Gemini. Everybody who I done told that I was a Gemini — like the females and shit — they basically told me I’m bipolar and crazy or whatever. But I don’t even know what they be talkin bout, really. I don't understand the definitions of the zodiac signs.
Top 5 DOA:
Top five rappers? Uhhh... Me. Who else I’ll say for real for real, because I ain't going to do no lying. Me, Lil Wayne, Gunna, Lil Baby, and Durk. Durk hard as hell. Yeah, us five.
Man, I ain't did nothing. I feel like I ain't did nothing. But the biggest thing I done done so far man, I don’t know. I got nominated for XXL. I liked that right there because I been watching them freestyles. All the XXL people who they pick for the freshman class that be doing the freestyle. I always used to watch them on the BET Awards and shit like that. That shit was live as hell, so I'd say that right there.
Studio Habits & Essentials:
Every single studio session, I gotta have something to smoke. I gotta have an open mind. Sometimes I don’t even be feeling that shit. I need to have an open mind. I need to have something to smoke. And I gotta have some water, I ain’t going to lie. I be asking for water like a motherfucka in the studio. I could have anything to drink. I could have Sprite right here or Fruit Punch right there and still be asking somebody “Where the water bottles at?” So I’d say a water bottle.
"Leave Some Day":
Man actually, I had lost both of my grandmas, a month or two apart. So I was just dealing with that. In the midst of all that time when I was going through what I was going through, I went into the studio and that’s just what so happened to come out of me. But that ain’t all, that’s every studio session I go to. I’m going through shit everyday. I got a real life. I ain't just no rapper who just live on a pedestal. Nah, I live a real life.
I go through shit like everybody else. When I go into the studio, I got options, shit to talk about. I go through shit like every week, so I think I always got shit to talk about in the studio. That was just one of the things that I just so happened to have talked about because that’s what I was going through at the time.
That song means a lot to me because of the simple fact of the meaning behind it. I know it’s people out here losing people every day. People done told me they done lost they child, they done lost they sister, they brother, they momma, they daddy. And this song right here getting them through it. They don’t even know that when they tell me that, it’s making me keep going. That’s why it mean sa lot to me because it mean a lot to everybody else I know it.
I don’t even remember my first song I ever wrote. I ain’t going to lie. I don’t even remember my first time going to the studio really, really. My first project, though — I think my first tape probably was I Grind or something like that. That was in 2016, ‘17. That was when I really got into the studio for real for real.
My first performance had to be in church or school. When I was going to school, I was so bad. I swear to god, I was the baddest child in school, but they used to show me favoritism because I knew how to sing. They knew they couldn’t kick me out of school because everybody wanted me to sing at graduation. Everybody wanted me to sing at the Honors program. Everybody wanted me to sing at all the events and shit we had.
When we had talent shows and shit at school everybody knew, everybody who get on the stage was going to be cool. But everybody knew who they really wanted to get on the stage.
On some rap shit, I do remember the times when I first started performing in different spots like opening up for folks and shit like that. I done did my foot work too. Like now when I get booked, I might be the main act, nine times out of ten now. I done opened up for folks; I done did all that. I think those were like my first performances — just opening up, doing showcases, and performing for DJs.
I was just trying to get in where I fit in, bro. I didn't have no name at the time, I was just trying to get out there. I ain’t care about how many people were there. I was just trying to get in and do my little thing.
I probably love basketball, if not more than music on the same level as music. Basketball wasn’t just a sport for me. I used to do it everyday, nothing but basketball. Before, I was rapping on the side. I was rapping after we get through playing basketball. I was rapping because I knew I was going to be rapping eventually. I wasn’t trying to go to the NBA and shit, but I just love basketball. That’s all we grew up on. I still be trying to go get it in and play basketball all the time.
Man, I’m trying to shoot more videos off "Lucille’s Grandson," and I’m trying to drop a little EP on my birthday. My birthday June 11, and I wanna drop like five or six songs from my choice, for my fans. This shit just for my fans, my day one fans and my new ones. I just love my fans for real. They make a nigga feel like I’m somebody. I really just want to drop an EP for my birthday, but if I don’t, I’m going to drop some more music for sure soon.
I’m just trying to keep dropping big bro. I’m trying to stay consistent. I ain't going to lie.
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HNHH: Going back to you singing in church, what have you brought from those experiences into your career as a rapper?
Kevo Muney: Man, I can’t help what I was surrounded by because truth be told, I ain't never want to go to church. My grandma and them just used to make me go to church, and they knew I could sing. And my grandma and momma and them always wanted me to use my voice the right way. Which is, in they point of view, church or just singing period. They ain't never wanted to be a rapper for real for real because they know what come with this shit.
They used to always try to keep me in church. My momma even signed me up for American Idol one time when I was like 14 or 15. She just used to try to keep me on some singing shit and used to try to steer me away from the rap shit. There comes a time when you just gotta start thinking for yourself, and at the end of the day, it was my decision of what I wanted to do.
With that being said, this is probably a long shot, but do you think you’ll ever put out a gospel album like how Kanye?
Nah. For real, for real — I think that shit fake though, I ain't gone lie. I ain’t saying I’m just a holy ass person. I believe in God. I can’t speak about everybody else; I know who I believe in and what I believe in. But I ain't got to make no whole gospel album so everybody know that I believe in God. Me and God know what’s going on, so what I’m going to make a whole gospel album for?
And I been rapping for ten years? I been talking about everything but God for 10 years, and I’m going to put God last when my career almost over. Why?
You were telling me earlier about your grandmothers. Your tape is called Lucille's Grandson, so tell me about your relationship with your Lucille and your other grandmother.
My Grandma Lucille, that was my Momma’s momma. I ain’t really start having no relationship with my grandma until I was like 14, 15. I had started living with my grandma for a little bit when I was in school. She used to take me to church every Sunday, and she always wanted me to sing. But what’s crazy is when I started rapping, she loved it more. She loved it more when I came around with them chains, the haircut, and all that. She just loved me. Her last days was my best days with her. When I was on tour and doing shows, everytime I came back to the city to see my grandma, she used to love to see me. That’s why I can take her being gone 'cause she lived her life for real for real. It would be selfish for me to still want her down here suffering. We was tight as hell.
And My Grandma Olivia! That’s like my God-Grandma right here. She aint even my blood, but I’m going to tell you how she my grandma. You know when a woman has her baby and she leave the hospital with her baby? My momma didn’t leave the hospital with me. I left the hospital with my God-Grandma. I ain’t start living with my Momma til I was like 5, 6 years old. My grandma had me spoiled.
When I turned 17/18, my Auntie Ebony, her daughter, had told me Grandma got breast cancer, and she had been having it for like 12 years. They ended up taking both of her breasts off and cut all her hair off, and then she had just got skinny as hell. That shit changed my grandma's whole appearance. My last time seeing my grandma, that shit fucked me up. But she taught me a lot. I don’t even believe in God-family. If you family, you family for real.
That shit molded me, so whoever I am today, that’s who they molded.
Well, the person they molded is up for the XXL Freshman Cover. A lot of people got their eyes on you thinking you're going to make the cut. How much do you care about making that list?
I ain’t going to lie, I don’t care period. I got nominated. I’m the type I don’t even are about winning as long as they brought me up, paid they dues, and gave me my respect.
Alright, man. That kind of ties into my last question. The way that Lucille's Grandson is set up, you've got "Happiness from Within" at the front and "Leave Some Day" at the back. So what do you think is the most important thing for people to do in order to live life to the fullest?
Believe in timing bro. I don’t think we take timing serious. Even me sometimes, I waste so much time bullshitting and just sitting around when I know I could be doing something. We be wasting so much time, and we can’t buy that shit back. We can’t get it back period. I just be trying to make all my time worth it. Idon’t be wanting to waste my time on nothing, so that’s what I’m big on now. I’m big on timing.
Read last week's interview with Fousheé here.